A new treatment for removing varicose veins means minimal discomfort and reduced recovery time, saving patients a lot of angst and the NHS a lot of money.
Online PR News – 19-September-2011 – – Varicose veins manifest when venous reflux causes blood in the superficial veins to pool and swell, creating an unsightly protrusion in the legs.
Aching and itching is a possible side-effect, but in the absence of discomfort those wishing to have them removed may think twice when they learn what it involves. Until now, that is.
The conventional technique involves a vascular surgeon tying off the vein to prevent blood flowing and then threading it out via the greater saphenous vein through an incision just below the knee. This is called 'stripping'.
The procedure requires the patient to undergo general anaesthesia in an operating theatre, with 36% of patients needing an overnight stay in hospital. In addition,
healthy branch veins, which are connected to the greater saphenous vein, are often broken as the swollen vein is removed from the thigh, causing blood to leak into the surrounding tissue.
This is the main cause of post-operative soreness and bruising, which many patients experience. It can take up to four weeks before the patient can return to normal activities. What a pain!
VNUS Closure, however, is minimally invasive and carried out under local anaesthetic. The Closure procedure will enable patients to return to normal activities within a day.
It works by inserting a fine catheter into the affected refluxing vein. The catheter is connected to a VNUS RFG Plus generator, which releases radio frequency energy into the vessel in 7cm segments to a precisely controlled temperature, causing the varicose vein to shrink and close.
As it closes, blood is diverted to a healthy vein, and as the vein is shut down, there is no need for the closed vein to be surgically removed. Over time, the treated vein is absorbed by the body and in 6-12 months is virtually invisible on ultrasound.
The statistics speak for themselves: a five-year study in the Journal of Vascular Surgery found vein-stripping 71% effective in eliminating venous reflux, whereas VNUS Closure has a 94.7% elimination rate at the one-year mark.
This bodes well for the future of vascular surgery. VNUS Closure was showcased at the NHS Expo in March as a technology that will contribute to the NHS's plan to boost productivity and efficiency by saving £1 billion.