Vascular surgery is a specialty of surgery in which diseases of the vascular system, or arteries and veins, are managed by medical therapy, minimally invasive catheter procedures, and surgical reconstruction. Surgical procedures include vein stripping, sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, and bypass surgery, among others.
Vascular ultrasonography, a subspecialty within ultrasonography, helps determine multiple factors within the circulatory system. It can evaluate abdominal and peripheral arteries and veins; it helps determine the amount of vascular stenosis (narrowing) or occlusion (complete blockage) within an artery; and it is the main aid to rule out blood clots. It is an inexpensive, non-invasive way to determine the cause of various symptoms. Duplex evaluation is usually done prior to any invasive testing or surgical procedure, and can provide additional information that may guide therapeutic decisions.
THE CLOSUREFAST™ PROCEDURE FOR VARICOSE VEINS
More than 30 million people are affected by varicose veins or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) in the U.S. with only 1.9 million seeking treatment annually, leaving the vast majority undiagnosed and untreated. Without treatment, those with the disease may experience progressive symptoms, such as swollen legs, skin damage and/or ulcers that can be debilitating and significantly impact their quality of life. Fortunately, with proper treatment, that outcome is preventable.
The Venous System Anatomy
The venous system is made up of a network of veins, including:
- Superficial veins - veins located close to the surface of the skin
- Deep veins - larger veins located deep in the leg
- Perforator veins - veins that connect the superficial veins to the deep veins
The ClosureFast procedure treats venous reflux in the superficial venous system, often the underlying cause of painful varicose veins.
Understanding Venous Reflux Disease
Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart. Venous reflux disease develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart no longer function, causing the blood to pool in the legs, and leading to these signs and symptoms:
- Varicose veins
- Leg or ankle swelling
- Leg heaviness and fatigue
- Leg pain, aching or cramping
- Burning or itching of the skin
- Restless legs
- Skin changes or rashes
- Ulcers, open wounds, or sores
Many factors contribute to the presence of venous reflux, including:
- Family history
- Heavy lifting
- Multiple pregnancies
- Prolonged standing
Using ultrasound to scan your leg(s), your physician will determine if venous reflux is present.
Venous reflux disease is a progressive medical condition and if left untreated, may worsen over time and develop into a more serious form of venous disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Experience The ClosureFast Procedure
The ClosureFast procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Using ultrasound, your physician will position the catheter into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. The small catheter delivers heat to the vein wall, causing it to shrink and the vein to seal closed. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood will reroute itself to other healthy veins.
Following the procedure, a simple bandage is placed over the insertion site, and additional compression may be provided to aid healing. Your doctor may encourage you to walk, and to refrain from extended standing and strenuous activities for a period of time. The average patient typically resumes normal activities within a few days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the ClosureFast procedure painful?
A: Most patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the ClosureFast procedure. Your physician should give you a local or regional anesthetic to numb the treatment area.
Q: How quickly can I resume normal activity?
A: Patients treated with the ClosureFast procedure may resume normal activities more quickly than patients who undergo surgical vein stripping or laser ablation. With the ClosureFast procedure, the average patient typically resumes normal activities within a few days. For a few weeks following the treatment, your vein specialist may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
Q: How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?
A: Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks following the procedure.
Q: Is there any scarring, bruising, or swelling after the procedure?
A: Most patients report limited to no scarring, bruising, or swelling following the ClosureFast procedure using the ClosureFast™ catheter.
Q: How is the ClosureFast procedure different from endovenous laser?
A: Although the ClosureFast procedure and 980 nm endovenous laser ablation are both minimally invasive procedures, a comparative, multicenter study showed that the ClosureFast procedure was associated with statistically significant lower rates of pain, bruising, and complications. Patients undergoing the ClosureFast procedure also reported improvements in quality of life measures up to four times faster than patients treated with 980 nm endovenous laser ablation.
Q: How is the ClosureFast procedure different from vein stripping?
A: During vein stripping, incisions are made in the groin and calf, and a tool is threaded through the diseased vein to pull the vein out of the leg. With the ClosureFast procedure, only one small incision is made at the insertion site and the vein is then treated and left in place. This minimally invasive approach reduces the likelihood of pain and bruising associated with vein stripping surgery.
Q: Is the ClosureFast procedure covered by insurance?
A: Many insurance companies pay for the ClosureFast procedure in part or in full. The ClosureFast procedure has coverage policies with major health insurers. Please discuss your coverage with your insurance provider prior to seeking treatment.