What is Venous Reflux Disease?
Veins have one-way valves that keep blood moving against gravity in order to return upwards to the heart. When leg muscles contract, the valves inside the veins open. When leg muscles relax, the valves close preventing blood from flowing backward. When valves weaken or become damaged, blood collects causing the veins to become enlarged. As blood pools, pressure inside the vein increases causing the vein to stretch. As a result of a diseased or damaged vein, the valves may not close properly resulting in symptoms of the following:
- Varicose Veins
- Swollen limbs
- Leg heaviness and fatigue
- Skin changes
Perforator Veins provide communication between leg veins close to the surface (superficial) and deep leg veins. Perforator veins also have valves that maintain unidirectional flow from the superficial and deep veins. These valves can fail causing vein problems in the thighs, knees, lower legs, ankles and feet. Incompetent perforator veins can be a significant factor in venous insufficiency or venous reflux disease.
How is venous reflux disease diagnosed?
During your evaluation you will undergo a diagnostic ultrasound in on-site. This procedure may take 1-1.5 hours and is non-invasive. The results of the ultrasound will be used to plan your individualized treatment.
What treatment is available?
Treatment of vein problems is important because it can relieve symptoms such as pain, swelling, heaviness, throbbing, burning, and improve appearance and quality of life. Untreated chronic venous insufficiency can also lead to venous stasis ulcers. Ablation therapy uses a radiofrequency (VNUS) or endovenous laser catheter is used to treat vein problems such as varicose veins or incompetent perforator veins.
Ablation Therapy is a procedure done in the office under local anesthesia and oral sedation. The affected leg is numbed and a catheter is placed under ultrasound guidance. Radiofrequency or laser energy is applied to the diseased vein causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut. Other healthy veins take over emptying the blood from the legs leading to an improvement of symptoms. The procedure takes about an hour and patients can walk out of the office after it is completed and resume normal activities.
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