Questions About Venefit™ Procedure
The Venefit™ procedures treat leg veins in the superficial and perforating systems that have venous reflux, the underlying cause of varicose veins. Patients with thrombus (blood clots) in the vein segment to be treated should not have the Venefit procedures. Individual results may vary based on each patient’s condition. As with all medical procedures, potential risk and complications exist including vessel perforation (when the catheter punctures the vein wall), thrombosis, pulmonary embolism (when a blood clot travels to the lungs), phlebitis (inflammation of the vein), infection, nerve damage, arteriovenous fistula (an abnormal connection between an artery and a vein), hematoma (bruising), and skin burn. Consult with a physician to receive more information.
98% of patients who have undergone the Venefit procedure are willing to recommend it to a friend or family member with similar leg vein problems.
Many insurance companies are paying for the Venefit procedure in part or in full. Most insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments, including the Venefit procedure, based on medical necessity. The VNUS Venefit procedure has positive coverage policies with most major health insurers. Your physician can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation.
The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually incorporate into surrounding tissue. One study reported that 89% of treated veins are indistinguishable from other body tissue one year after the Venefit procedure was performed.
Published data suggests that two years after treatment, 90% of the treated veins remain closed and free from reflux, the underlying cause of varicose veins.
The most important step in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by your physician or qualified clinician. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the Venefit procedure is appropriate for you. The Venefit procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages.
Only a physician call tell you if the Venefit procedure is a viable option for your vein problem. Experience has shown that many patients with superficial venous reflux disease can be treated with the Venefit procedure.
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the Venefit procedure. All patients should consult their doctors to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Your physician will review potential complications of the Venefit procedure at the consultation, and can be reviewed in the safety summary. Potential complications can include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, paresthesia (numbness or tingling) and/or skin burn.
Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising, or swelling following the Venefit procedure.
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
Many patients can resume normal activities immediately. For a few weeks following the treatment, your doctor may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
Questions About Venous Disease
Deep leg veins return blood directly to the heart and are in the center of the leg, near the bones. Superficial leg veins are just beneath the skin. They have less support from surrounding muscles and bones than the deep veins and may thus develop an area of weakness in the wall. When ballooning of the vein occurs, the vein becomes varicose. Perforator veins serve as connections between the superficial system and the deep system of leg veins.
In simplest terms, arteries pump oxygen-rich blood FROM the heart, veins return oxygen-depleted blood TO the heart.
Closure is used, like vein stripping, to eliminate reverse blood flow in the saphenous vein, but without physically removing the vein, and can be performed without general anesthesia. Like other venous procedures, the Venefit procedure involves risks and potential complications. Each patient should consult their doctor to determine whether or not they are a candidate for this procedure, and if their condition presents any special risks. Complications reported in medical literature include numbness or tingling (paresthesia) skin burns, blood clots, temporary tenderness in the treated limb.
If the source of the reverse blood flow is due to damaged valves in the saphenous vein, the vein may be removed by a surgical procedure known as vein stripping. Under general anesthesia, all or part of the vein is tied off and pulled out. The legs are bandaged after the surgery but swelling and bruising may last for weeks.
As with sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure for treating surface veins in which multiple small incisions are made along a varicose vein and it is “fished out” of the leg using surgical hooks or forceps. The procedure is done under local or regional anesthesia, in an operating room or an office “procedure room.”
A chemical injection, such as a saline or detergent solution, is injected into a vein causing it to “spasm” or close up. Other veins then take over its work. This may bring only temporary success and varicose veins frequently recur. It is most effective on smaller surface veins, less than 1-2mm in diameter.
ESES (pronounced SS) is an easy way to remember the conservative approach. It stands for Exercise Stockings Elevation and Still. Exercising, wearing compression hose, elevating and resting the legs will not make the veins go away or necessarily prevent them from worsening because the underlying disease (venous reflux) has not been addressed. However, it may provide some symptomatic relief. Weight reduction is also helpful.
If there are inflamed areas or an infection, topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If ulcers develop, medication and dressings should be changed regularly.
There are also potentially longer-term treatment alternatives for visible varicose veins, such as sclerotherapy and phlebectomy.
Venous ulcers are areas of the lower leg where the skin has died and exposed the flesh beneath. Ulcers can range from the size of a penny to completely encircling the leg. They are painful, odorous open wounds which weep fluid and can last for months or even years. Most leg ulcers occur when vein disease is left untreated. They are most common among older people but can also affect individuals as young as 18.
Varicose veins may ache, and feet and ankles may swell towards day’s end, especially in hot weather. Varicose veins can get sore and inflamed, causing redness of the skin around them. In some cases, patients may develop venous ulcerations.
Conditions contributing to varicose veins include genetics, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes at menopause, work or hobbies requiring extended standing, and past vein diseases such as thrombophlebitis (i.e. inflammation of a vein as a blood clot forms). Women suffer from varicose veins more than men, and the incidence increases to 50% of people over age 50.