For decade, the progressive severity of venous disease was mostly underappreciated. Patients were told that their condition was largely a cosmetic concern and not a medical problem. Hence, many had to endure their untreated symptoms, leading to a decreased quality of life. Left untreated this could lead to more serious complications such as blood clots, leg ulcers, or spontaneous venous rupture.
Fortunately, recent technology has lead to a renaissance in venous disease awareness and management. With the advent of accurate diagnosis by an ultrasound scan and the availability of minimally invasive ablation procedures, we have the ability to diagnosis and treat up to 90% of people with venous disease in an outpatient setting.
If you suffer from varicose veins, you're a member of a very large club. Some 25 million Americans face a daily struggle with the swollen, ropey veins that can cause throbbing pain, severe swelling, and heavy, tired legs.
Half of all Americans over 50, and two-thirds of women over 60, have the condition. And many have dealt with it for decades, because varicose veins can appear even in teenagers too young to vote.
Heredity is a factor in venous reflux disease - if your parents or siblings have had varicose veins, you're more likely to develop them - and people who are obese or have had multiple pregnancies are particularly susceptible, because the extra weight adds strain to the veins. Women are more vulnerable to the problem than men, partly because the hormonal changes brought on by menstruation, menopause and hormone-based drug therapy can relax vein walls and cause venous reflux.
Your lifestyle, particularly physical activity, can affect your odds of developing varicose veins as well. People whose careers require them to stand in place for long periods of time - nurses, teachers, waitresses, flight attendants and other service personnel, for example - have a higher-than-average risk of venous disease. So do people who do a good deal of heavy lifting.
Once it appears, venous reflux disease never goes away by itself - it's a progressive condition that can only worsen unless treated. Fortunately, the minimally-invasive, device-based advances in medical technology that have so profoundly impacted heart, lung and brain surgery in recent years are now having a similarly revolutionary impact on the treatment of varicose veins. The next-generation VNUS ClosureFASTTM catheter represents the cutting edge of that technology.
The VNUS Closure procedure is a minimally invasive treatment alternative with less pain and less bruising when compared to traditional vein stripping surgery and laser treatment. Using the Closure system, physicians close the diseased veins by inserting the Closure catheter into a vein and heating the vein wall using temperature-controlled RF energy. Heating the vein wall causes collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood then naturally reroutes to healthy veins.
Venous reflux or venous insufficiency develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased.
The Closure procedure provides the following benefits for patients and physicians: