Translations on this website are prepared by a third-party provider. Some portions may be incorrect. Some items—including downloadable files or images—cannot be translated at all. No liability is assumed by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for any errors or omissions. Any user who relies on translated content does so at his/her own risk.
Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins that may be blue, red or the
color of flesh. Any vein may become varicose, but those most often affected
are veins in the legs and feet, since standing and walking increase
pressure in the veins in that area. Varicose veins are often raised above
the skin and appear as twisted, bulging ropes. They occur when valves in
the veins carrying blood from the legs to the heart no longer work
properly, forcing blood to collect in the legs.
For some people, varicose veins are merely a cosmetic issue. They can be
unsightly and embarrassing. But, for others, the condition can be quite
painful. In some cases, varicose veins may progress into what is known as
chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a more serious condition.
Treatments such as compression stockings are usually first prescribed to
manage symptoms, but there are a variety of treatments that can actually
eliminate the damaged varicose veins and halt the potential progression to
chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
Surgical approaches such as ligation with or without vein stripping have
been used for years but are becoming less common as newer, minimally
invasive methods have become more popular.
A common minimally invasive method of treatment is endovenous laser
ablation, which involves inserting a thin, flexible tube or catheter into a
damaged vein to seal it shut using heat. Blood that would seek to return to
the heart through these veins instead travels through other veins. In time,
the vein that has been treated shrinks and is absorbed by the body.
At the CardioVascular Institute, we prefer to use a similar, but newer
minimally invasive ablation treatment known as Venefit Targeted Endovenous
Therapy. Formerly known as VNUS Closure, the procedure is the only one to
use radiofrequency ablation to get rid of varicose veins. Radiofrequency
energy provides even, uniform heat that causes the vein walls to collapse
and seal. Once this happens, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins. The
treated vein dissolves over time.
Both the laser and the Venefit treatments involve less pain and a quicker
recovery time than older, surgical options such as ligation and vein
stripping. However, Venefit is associated with less bruising and less pain
than laser treatment, as well as a faster improvement in quality of life
and return to normal activities. Both methods have a very high rate of
success in closing the veins.
The procedure is indicated for treatment of patients with symptomatic
varicose veins such as those that are swelling, throbbing or aching. It can
also halt the progression of varicose veins to chronic venous insufficiency
(CVI.) The procedure is not used strictly for cosmetic purposes, though it
often will improve the look of the veins.
Outcomes are generally excellent with patient satisfaction high. Studies
show very good success rates, resolution of symptoms, improved cosmetic
appearance and better quality of life with few to no side effects. Studies
report success rates of around 90 percent. Most patients report relief from
symptoms such as aching and swelling of the legs. Treated veins may look
cosmetically better, too. A small percentage of treated veins may need to
be retreated after several years if symptoms return.
Side effects can include bruising, swelling, discomfort and, in some cases,
temporary numbness in the area of the procedure. The risk of a blood clot
forming is about one percent if you have never had a blood clot before.
Wearing compression stockings and walking regularly afterwards reduces this
Patients walk away from the procedure and typically return to their normal
activities within a day. Patients are encouraged to be active on the day of
the procedure and for several days afterwards. It is important to walk
around to reduce the risk of a blood clot. Patients should not put
themselves on bed rest. Patients cannot drive or drink alcohol for 24 hours
after the procedure. Patients usually wear compression stockings
immediately after the procedure and keep wearing them for about two weeks.
Ibuprofen is prescribed to be taken the morning of the procedure and for
three days afterwards to reduce inflammation, swelling and discomfort.
Narcotic pain medication is not needed.
Arrange to have someone drive you to your procedure and bring you home. You
cannot take public transportation, including a taxi, without being escorted
by a family member or friend.
The week of your procedure, our office will send prescriptions to your
pharmacy. You should pick up these medications and bring them with you to
the procedure. You will be told by a clinical provider when to take these
medications upon your arrival.
If you are on blood thinners, you should continue to take them prior to the
procedure. There is no need to stop any medications prior to the procedure.
Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing and shoes. We will wrap your leg
in an ACE wrap from your groin to your toes for 24 hours. The next day you
may take off the ACE wrap and begin wearing your compression stockings. A
prescription for the stockings will be given to you on your first visit.
Remember to bring the prescribed medications with you to your procedure
Park in one of the West Campus parking garages, located at 170 Pilgrim Road
and 110 Francis Street. Valet parking is available in front of the
Rosenberg Building on Deaconess Road. Take your garage ticket with you —
parking is discounted for patients, family and friends. Walk to the Lowry
Medical Office Building from the garage or valet station, take the elevator
to the 5th floor, and enter the office in 5C to check in.
Of course, family and friends may accompany you and may wait in the office
lobby if they so wish. Family and friends are not allowed in the procedure