Patients Prefer VNUS® Closure® for Varicose Vein Treatment

by Andy C. Chiou, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S.
Originally Appeared in Times Newspapers Medical Advances, February 2005

If you have have pain, burning, throbbing, swelling or heaviness in your legs, you may be experiencing varicose veins. Fortunately, varicose and spider veins usually aren’t a cause for alarm, but are instead a matter of appearance and varying degrees of discomfort.

However, in rare cases, varicose veins can be an indicator of an underlying medical condition. Because of this, it’s important to have your veins evaluated by a vascular specialist. If your physician diagnoses varicose or spider veins, there are several treatment options. But before we get to treatment, let’s review what varicose veins are and who is likely to have them.

Varicose veins are swollen, twisted veins near the surface of the skin. Spider veins are small, bluish lines that resemble a spider’s web or branches of a tree. Both are most often found on the legs, but spider veins can also be present on the face. Varicose and spider veins on the legs can be the result of extended periods of sitting or standing, pregnancy, obesity, increasing age, heredity and conditions that cause increased pressure in the abdomen.

If you aren’t dealing with them yet, you may eventually become one of the many adults who have varicose or spider veins. In fact, approximately one in six women and one in ten men in the United States are affected by venous disease of the lower extremity. While varicose and spider veins are more likely to occur as you get older, individuals as young as thirty may begin to notice them.

In the past, varicose vein treatment left varying results and satisfaction levels, but with the VNUS Closure® procedure, 98% of patients would recommend the treatment to a friend or family member with similar leg vein problems. With any procedure, patients often have questions. Here are a few answers:

How does the Closure Procedure differ from vein stripping or ligation?

In several ways. First, the procedure itself is different. While vein stripping or ligation are more invasive procedures, Closure is a minimally invasive treatment using RF ablation (microwave energy) to heat and shrink the vein in a controlled manner. Blood is emptied from the vein during the procedure to maximize contraction of the vessel lumen. The temperature is monitored continuously, resulting in a highly-organized seal of the vein. Second, the procedure is less painful and usually leaves the patient with little (if any) bruising, scarring or swelling. In addition, most patients can return to normal activities almost immediately.

Who is a good candidate for the procedure?

Although only a physician can provide the answer on an individual basis, the general agreement is that patients with superficial venous reflux are appropriate candidates.

Who should not have VNUS Closure performed?

Patients with thrombus in the vein to be treated are not candidates for this procedure. In addition, patients that have a pacemaker, internal defibrillator or other active implanted device should have the vascular surgeon consult with the patient’s cardiologist and the implant’s manufacturer.

What are the complications?

Complications are rare, but potential risks include, but are not limited to: vessel perforation, blood clot, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, parasthesia (numbness around the incision site) and skin burns.

How long does the procedure take?

It is usually done on an outpatient basis and typically takes 40-60 minutes.

What type of anesthesia is used?

Most physicians use local anesthesia, but conscious sedation may be used at the discretion of the physician and patient.

Where can I get this done?

The Peoria Vein Center is staffed by vascular specialists who are certified to use the VNUS Closure procedure. The office is located in Suite 200 of the Center for Health. More information is available by calling 309.683.5052 or by visiting

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