What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins–which afflict 10% to 20% of all adults –are swollen, twisted, blue veins that are close to the surface of the skin. Because valves in them are damaged, they hold more blood at higher pressure than normal.  That forces fluid into the surrounding tissue, making the affected leg swell and feel heavy. Unsightly and uncomfortable, varicose leg veins can promote swelling in the ankles and feet and itching of the skin.  They may occur in almost any part of the leg but are most often seen in the back of the calf or on the inside of the leg between the groin and the ankle. Left untreated, patient symptoms are likely to worsen with some possibly leading to venous ulceration.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

The normal function of leg veins – both the deep veins in the leg and the superficial veins – is to carry blood back to the heart. During walking, for instance, the calf muscle acts as a pump, contracting veins and forcing blood back to the heart. To prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction, veins have numerous valves.  If the valves fail (a cause of venous reflux), blood flows back into superficial veins and back down the leg. This results in veins enlarging and becoming varicose. The process is like blowing air into a balloon without letting the air flow out again-  the balloon swells.To succeed, treatment must stop this reverse flow at the highest site or sites of valve failure. In the legs, veins close to the surface of the skin drain into larger veins, such as the saphenous vein, which run up to the groin.  Damaged valves in the saphenous vein are often the cause of reversed blood flow back down into the surface veins.

The Venefit™ procedure: state-of-the-art technology for an age-old disease

The Venefit™ procedure is performed on an outpatient basis.  Using ultrasound, your physician will position the Closure catheter into the diseased vein, through a small opening in the skin.  The tiny catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy to the vein wall.  As the RF energy is delivered and the catheter is withdrawn, the vein wall is heated, causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close.  Once the diseased vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins.

Following the procedure, a simple bandage is placed over the insertion site, and additional compression may be provided to aid healing. Your doctor may encourage you to walk, and to refrain from extended standing and strenuous activities for a period of time. Individual results and experience may vary.

Patients who undergo the Venefit™ procedure typically resume normal activities within a day. Individual results and experience may vary.

Indications for the Venefit™ procedure:

Do you think you have varicose veins? Varicose veins may ache, and feet and ankles may swell towards day’s end, especially in hot weather.  Varicose veins can get sore and inflamed, causing redness of the skin around them.  In some cases, patients may develop venous ulcerations. The Venefit™ System is intended for endovascular coagulation of blood vessels in patients with superficial venous reflux.

What are other options for Varicose Veins?

  • Sclerotherapy - A chemical injection, such as a saline or detergent solution, is injected into a vein causing it to “spasm” or close up. Other veins then take over its work. This may bring only temporary success and varicose veins frequently recur.  It is most effective on smaller surface veins, less than 1-2mm in diameter.

  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy - As with sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure for treating surface veins in which multiple small incisions are made along a varicose vein and it is “fished out” of the leg using surgical hooks or forceps.  The procedure is done under local or regional anesthesia, in an operating room or an office “procedure room.”

  • Vein Stripping - If the source of the reverse blood flow is due to damaged valves in the saphenous vein, the vein may be removed by a surgical procedure known as vein stripping.  Under general anesthesia, all or part of the vein is tied off and pulled out.  The legs are bandaged after the surgery but swelling and bruising may last for weeks. Individual results and experience may vary.

Click here for more information on SPIDER VEINS.

At Chao Plastic Surgery we are pleased to offer the Venefit™  procedure, in addition to other treatment modalities for comprehensive management of venous disease. The Venefit™ procedure is a minimally invasive treatment alternative for patients with a condition known as superficial venous reflux, which often results in varicose veins and other painful symptoms. Varicose veins are known for their distinctive blue color and bulging appearance under the skin. They afflict an estimated 10%-20% of the adult population. In the United States, that translates into 20-25 million people, the majority of whom are women. 

Venefit™ Procedure for Varicose Veins

Chao Plastic Surgery | Latham, NY

Jerome D. Chao, MD FACS

13 Century Hill Drive

 Latham, NY 12110

p 518.203.2582  f 518.203.2583