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!”
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.
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.
How are closure procedures such as radiofrequency ablation and VenaSeal different from vein stripping?
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.
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.
Are there any potential risks or complications associated with the radiofrequency closure 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.