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- Have you ever been diagnosed with varicose veins, venous reflux or venous insufficiency?
- Do you have any of the following symptoms?
- Has anyone in your family been diagnosed with vein disease?
- Do your legs feel achy after prolonged periods of sitting or standing?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, you may be a candidate for our vein closure procedure. To schedule a formal venous evaluation, please contact our office. There is a treatment option for you.
The RFA Endovenous Therapy procedure is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radio frequency (RFA) energy to effectively treat patients suffering from varicose veins or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). A vein specialist inserts a catheter into a diseased vein to provide consistent and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood is then naturally redirected to healthy veins.
The 2009 RECOVERY Study confirms that patients experience less bruising and pain, and fewer complications with the Covidien ClosureFast™ Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) Catheter in comparison to 980 nm laser ablation.
The VeneFit procedure also results in little to no scarring and it is performed using local anesthesia in our office.
MOCA (Mechanochemical Ablation) uses mechanical agitation of the lining of the vein together with a sclerosing chemical and the ClariVein catheter to glue the vessel closed. In this new technique there is no need for the use of tumescent anesthetic.
CVI is a progressive medical condition in which the valves that carry blood from the legs to the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs and veins to swell. This incorrect blood flow (or reflux) causes veins to expand, lose form and protrude from beneath the skin. Common symptoms include leg pain, leg swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue as well as skin changes and ulcers in more severe cases.
Varicose veins are often thick, bulging veins that can protrude well beyond the skin’s surface. Often misunderstood as a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can progress to CVI, which is a more serious condition.
Since the valves in the legs cannot be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow from the diseased veins to healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. The RFA, ClariVein, and VenaSeal procedures, however, provide a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the diseased vein. Once the diseased vein is closed, it becomes scar tissue and is eventually absorbed by the body.
Vein stripping is a surgical procedure, where the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein, after which a “stripper” tool is threaded through the leg vein in order to pull it out through a second incision just above the calf.
The RFA or ClariVein Ablation procedures are minimally invasive. In contrast to vein stripping, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special catheter inserted through a small incision below the knee.
Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room under a general anesthetic, while RFA or ClariVein Ablation procedures are performed on an outpatient basis, typically using local or regional anesthesia.
The RFA procedure utilizes radiofrequency energy to provide consistent and controlled heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to gently collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins.
Laser ablation, on the other hand, uses laser heat to collapse and seal the affected vein. The laser targets the blood in the vein, which causes the blood to boil. This heat creates a steam bubble inside the vein, creating damage to the vein so that the vein collapses. Unlike the RFA procedure, laser temperatures can reach over 700 °C. Animal studies have shown that laser can potentially lead to perforation and destruction of the vein walls, causing significantly more bruising and post-procedure pain for patients.
The 2009 RECOVERY Study compared the experience of patients treated with the RF Ablation procedure and those treated with 980 nm laser ablation. The findings clearly demonstrated that:
- The RFA procedure resulted in less pain, less bruising and fewer complications.
- The RFA procedure proved to be up to four times faster in improving patients’ quality of life.
The RFA procedure takes approximately 45-60 minutes and the ClariVein Ablation Procedure takes between 30-40 minutes. The patients though may spend 2-3 hours at the medical facility due to normal pre- and post-treatment procedures.
Most patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the RFA procedure and rarely any pain during the ClariVein Ablation. Your physician will give you a local or regional anesthetic to numb the treatment area.
Both RFA and ClariVein Ablation procedures can be performed under local, regional or general anesthesia. They are generally performed using local anesthesia in our Vein Clinic.
Many patients experience a quicker return to normal activities. For a few weeks following the treatment, we may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks following the procedure.
Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling following either procedures.
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the procedure. All patients should consult their vein specialist to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Dr. Kaveh will review potential complications of either procedure at the consultation, which can include vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, paresthesia (numbness or tingling) and/or skin burn.
The most important step in determining whether or not these procedures are appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by your vein specialist. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not these procedures are appropriate for you. These procedures have been used to treat both women and men across a wide range of ages.
The RFA procedure has been shown in a large international, multi-center study to be 93% effective over three years.
Although, there is currently no significant data available beyond one year for MOCA technique which uses ClariVein catheter, all evidence suggest that the results would be as good as the RFA procedure. This procedure is highly effective. In our experience, there is rarely any recurrence of venous reflux or any of the symptoms in the treated veins.
The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually be completely absorbed into surrounding tissue.
Currently all patients who have straight Medicare, United Health Care, Aetna, BCBS or Coventry (Mail Handlers) as their primary insurance can enjoy the benefits of treatment using the MOCA technique with a ClariVein catheter. Increasingly more and more insurances are covering this new technique.
Here at Alpha Vein Clinic, we will discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation
The VenaSeal™ closure system uses a proprietary medical adhesive to close the diseased vein. The VenaSeal closure system treats symptomatic vein disease in the lower extremity superficial truncal veins, often the underlying cause of painful varicose veins.
Before the Procedure:
You will have an ultrasound imaging exam of the leg that is to be treated. This exam is important for assessing the diseased superficial vein and planning the procedure.
During the Procedure:
Your doctor can discuss the procedure with you. A brief summary of what to expect is below:
- You may feel some minor pain or stinging with a needle stick to numb the site where the doctor will access your vein.
- Once the area is numb, your doctor will insert the catheter (i.e., a small hollow tube) into your leg. You may feel some pressure from the placement of the catheter.
- The catheter will be placed in specific areas along the diseased vein to deliver small amounts of the medical adhesive. You may feel some mild sensation of pulling. Ultrasound will be used during the procedure to guide and position the catheter.
- After treatment, the catheter is removed and a small adhesive bandage placed over the puncture site.
After the Procedure:
- You will be taken to the recovery area to rest.
- Your doctor will recommend follow-up care as needed.
Symptoms are caused by the diseased superficial vein. Thus, symptoms may improve as soon as the diseased vein is closed. The VenaSeal procedure is designed to reduce recovery time. Many patients return to normal activity immediately after the procedure. Your doctor can help you determine when you can return to normal activity.
Most patients feel little, if any, pain during the outpatient procedure.1 Is there bruising after the VenaSeal procedure? Most patients report little-to-no bruising after the VenaSeal procedure.
Only a very small amount of VenaSeal adhesive is used to close the vein. Your body will naturally create scar tissue around the adhesive over time to keep the vessel permanently closed.
The VenaSeal procedure uses an adhesive to close the superficial vein. Thermal energy procedures use heat to close the vein. The intense heat requires a large volume of numbing medicine, which is injected through many needle sticks. The injections may cause pain and bruising after the procedure.
Currently all patients who have straight Medicare, United Health Care, Aetna, or BCBS as their primary insurance can enjoy the benefits of treatment using MOCA technique with ClariVein catheter. We are now accepting VA patients with an approved referral. Increasingly more and more insurances are covering this new technique.