Where vein treatments and conditions are involved, it’s common to have questions and lots of them. We hear many of these questions and understand your concerns. See for yourself some of the most common questions that we hear about our treatments at Heart of Dixie here. Of course, if you have any other questions, we’d be happy to answer them for you either in person or through our contact page.

“The doctors and nurses were wonderful; very knowledgeable, proficient, and professional. I really appreciated how they answered my many questions, helped me feel comfortable, and made it sound as they really enjoyed their work and were always ready for another challenge!”

—Dane J.

Venous insufficiency, also known as venous reflux, is a condition that develops when the veins in your legs become damaged or diseased. This causes blood to pool in your legs, leading to several discomforting symptoms such as leg aches, burning, itching, restless legs, heaviness, and fatigue. When left untreated, venous reflux can lead to more significant clinical issues such as pain, chronic swelling, skin discoloration, thickening of the skin, and possible ulceration.

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment option for superficial venous reflux. A thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening. The catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse, and seal closed. This is an in-office procedure done in 30–60 minutes. Learn more about the procedure here.
The VenaSeal closure procedure seals or closes the diseased vein using a medical adhesive. The system delivers a small amount of adhesive to the diseased vein. The adhesive seals the vein, rerouting blood through nearby healthy veins. Learn more about VenaSeal here.

Unlike radiofrequency ablation, the VenaSeal procedure is completed with no heat. There is no need for multiple needle sticks, and you usually don’t have to wear compression stockings post-procedure. Patients typically report less pain during this procedure. Studies have shown less bruising and a quicker return to normal activities after the VenaSeal procedure.

Since veins can’t be repaired, the only alternative is to close down unhealthy veins and reroute blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. Today, other procedures, such as radiofrequency ablation and VenaSeal, provide a much less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the unhealthy vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, the blood flow then shifts to other healthy veins.

During a stripping procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein. After the incision is made, an instrument is threaded through the saphenous vein and used to pull the vein out of your leg through a second incision just above your calf.

With our technology and training today, there is no need for incisions or surgery. Instead, the vein remains in place and is simply closed using a special catheter inserted through a small puncture. This eliminates the bruising, pain, and long recovery often associated with vein stripping. Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room under a general anesthetic, while the closure procedure/radiofrequency ablation is performed on an outpatient basis using local anesthesia.

The main treatment goal is to help your legs look and feel better. By relieving your symptoms, we will help you become more active, healthy, and have a better quality of life.

The radiofrequency ablation procedure takes approximately 30–60 minutes per vein procedure. A VenaSeal procedure will take a couple of hours because we typically treat multiple veins in one session.

We will perform a comprehensive ultrasound on your legs to screen for venous reflux, blood clots, and varicose veins. Further management will depend on the results of your ultrasound. After a thorough review of your ultrasound, members of our vein team will review your medical history and discuss your symptoms. We will then come up with a custom treatment plan to meet your individual needs. Most patients require 2–3 treatments using radiofrequency ablation. It is important to understand that usually not all veins will be treated in one procedure. Proper closure and thorough treatment will often require more than one procedure.

A local anesthetic is used to numb the treatment area. This is done by injections, thus limiting the amount of discomfort and pain.
Patients can resume normal activities immediately. We highly recommend a regular walking regimen following the treatment. We suggest that you refrain from heavy lifting or prolonged periods of standing for one to two weeks after any procedure.
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within 1–2 weeks following the procedure. However, some patients continue to see improvement for several weeks.
You can expect virtually no scarring and just minimal amounts of bruising or swelling following the procedure.

Although complications of this procedure are rare, as with any medical intervention, potential risks do exist with the closure procedure. Potential complications can include vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, and infection. Members of the vein team will review your medical history to determine if there are any additional risks.

Yes, patients can safely have this procedure done on blood thinners. If you are on a blood thinner, you do not have to stop your medication for your procedure. Continue taking as prescribed. However, understand that patients on blood thinners can expect slightly more bruising than individuals not on blood thinners.

Data from a prospective multicenter study have shown 97.4% vein closure one year after treatment.
The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually incorporate into the surrounding tissue.
Many insurance companies are paying for the closure procedure in part or in full. Most insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments, including the closure procedure, based on medical necessity. The closure procedure has positive coverage policies with most major health insurers. You will discuss your insurance coverage further with members of the vein team.
Approximately 98% of patients who have undergone the closure procedure are willing to recommend it to a friend or family member with similar leg vein problems.

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