Varicose Veins: Not just a cosmetic issue

More than 30 million people in the United States have undiagnosed varicose veins, according to a 2011 report by the Society for Vascular Surgery. This condition develops when the valves in the veins that allow blood to flow toward the heart stop working properly. As a result, blood pools in the veins, causing them to swell and bulge above the surface of the skin. Those veins are typically found in a person's legs and feet and turn purple or blue in color.

While some believe varicose veins are simply a cosmetic disorder, it can actually be a symptom of certain venous diseases, such as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Left untreated, this disease progressively gets worse and causes serious complications:

  • Pain
  • Leg heaviness or fatigue
  • Swollen limbs
  • Ulcers in severe cases

General surgeon Wynter Phoenix, MD offers various treatments for CVI, including sclerotherapy (vein closure), phlebectomy (vein removal) and the advanced Venefit™ procedure.

VENEFIT™ PROCEDURE

The Venefit™ procedure uses a thermal ablation technique to correct or reroute the flow of blood. This sophisticated, outpatient procedure offers patients less pain and discomfort after surgery and a quicker return to normal activities compared to the endovenous laser treatment. Other benefits can include:

  • Improved symptoms within 2 days
  • Limited scarring, bruising or swelling
  • Full or partial coverage by many insurance companies

Dr. Phoenix performs most procedures on veins located closest to the surface of the skin, known as superficial veins. By locating the affected vein with an ultrasound, the doctor will then insert a ClosureFAST™ catheter through a single, small opening in the skin while the patient is under local anesthesia. This special catheter uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to heat the vein walls, effectively shrinking and sealing the vein shut. Once closed, blood will reroute and flow through healthy veins.

The procedure itself is quick, taking just one, 20-second interval to heat seven centimeters of a vein. A simple bandage is usually placed over the area where the catheter entered. Immediately after the procedure, your doctor may ask you to walk around. However, you’ll be asked to refrain from strenuous activities, such as standing for long periods, for a few weeks.

Wynter Phoenix, MD, general surgeon at Northern Nevada Medical Center discusses venous insufficiency, varicose veins and more.

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