Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red or flesh colored. They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted bulging cords. Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins that carry blood from the legs toward the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs.
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a progressive medical condition that worsens over time and affects the veins and vessels in the leg that carry oxygen-poor blood back toward the heart. Varicose veins, which are enlarged veins in the leg that appear like twisted, bulging cords, can progress to CVI if left untreated.
There are a number of factors that contribute to varicose veins and CVI, including pregnancy and heredity. As varicose veins progress to become CVI, other painful symptoms like leg swelling, skin damage and ulcers may occur.1,2
Today, there are a number of minimally invasive treatment options that are covered by many insurance plans. While treatments like compression stockings are often first prescribed to manage symptoms, there are a variety of treatments that can actually treat the diseased veins to eliminate varicose veins, improve your quality of life and halt the progression of CVI.3
Endovenous thermal ablation is a minimally invasive treatment that involves the insertion of a thin, flexible tube called a catheter into a diseased vein to seal it shut using heat. Blood that would normally return toward the heart through these veins will then travel through other veins instead. Over time the treated vein shrinks and is absorbed by the body. Compared with surgical options like ligation and vein stripping, endovenous ablation results in less pain and quicker recovery time.4
The Venefit™ procedure is the only minimally invasive segmental radiofrequency (RF) ablation treatment that utilizes radiofrequency energy to provide an even and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins.
The Venefit procedure allows for a quick, comfortable recovery and a return to everyday activities, while also improving the appearance of varicose veins.3,4
Take a guided Self-Assessment to find out if you are at risk for developing varicose veins and CVI.
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1. "Chronic Venous Insufficiency." Vascular Web. Society For Vascular Surgery, Jan. 2011. Web. 17 Aug. 2011 http://www.vascularweb.org/vascularhealth/Pages/chronic-venous-insufficiency.aspx.
2. "Chronic Venous Insufficiency." Disease And Conditions. Cleveland Clinic, 2009. Web. 19 Aug. 2011. http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/venous_insufficiency/ hvi_chronic_venous_insufficiency.aspx?utm_campaign=CS+-+Heart+-+BR+.
3. Almeida JI, Kaufman J, Goekeritz O, et al. Radiofrequency Endovenous ClosureFAST versus Laser Ablation for the Treatment of Great Saphenous Reflux: A Multicenter, Single-Blinded, Randomized Study (Recovery Study). JVIR; June 2009.
4. L. H. Rasmussen, M. Lawaetz, L. Bjoern, B. Vennits, A. Blemings and B. Eklof, Randomized Clinical Trial Comparing Endovenous Laser Ablation, Radiofrequency Ablation, Foam Sclerotherapy and Surgical Stripping for Great Saphenous Varicose Veins. British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd., Wiley Online Library, www.bjs.co.uk, March 15, 2011.
*Images courtesy of Rajabrata Sarkar M.D. Ph.D.