About varicose veins
Varicose veins are bulging, bluish, twisted veins usually seen in the legs and ankles. Women get varicose veins more frequently than men.
Varicose veins pose more than just a cosmetic issue. They are often an indication of an underlying vein condition. Around 70% of varicose vein patients also suffer from a condition called venous reflux. This occurs when valves in the leg leak, causing an abnormal, backward flow of blood.
Treating varicose veins
Treatment of varicose veins depends on the severity of your condition. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best option. Treatments available at HealthEast Vascular, Vein & Wound include:
- VNUS Closure
Seals shut a damaged vein with thermal energy. Also called "radiofrequency vein ablation." Learn more.
Uses light under the skin to illuminate and then remove a varicose vein. Also called "transilluminated powered phlebectomy." Learn more.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
Treats small surface veins. During the procedure, damaged veins are removed through a series of small punctures or incisions. Procedures are done in our office or at the Maplewood Surgery Center. The procedure is also called "partial stripping."
The VNUS Closure® procedure seals shut a damaged vein. It is a minimally invasive procedure and is also called "radiofrequency vein ablation."
You will first be given local or regional anesthesia. Using ultrasound, your doctor will position the Closure catheter (a thin tube) into the varicose vein through a small opening in the skin. The tiny catheter is powered by radio-frequency energy and it delivers heat to the vein wall.
As thermal energy is delivered, the vein wall shrinks and the vein is sealed shut. Once the vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins.
VNUS Closure benefits
In addition to getting relief from varicose vein symptoms, benefits of the VNUS Closure procedure include:
- Short recovery time. Many patients resume normal activities in one or two days
- Less post-operative pain, bruising and discomfort than other surgical treatments
- Same-day procedure (no hospital stay)
- Good cosmetic outcomes with little or no scarring
Studies report that over 90% of veins treated with the Closure remain closed, reflux free, after two years.
Preparing for VNUS Closure
As you're preparing for your procedure, please note:
- Your appointment will last 1 to 2 hours
- Take your routine medications as you normally would
- It is ok to eat prior to the procedure
- Wear comfortable clothing
Bring to your procedure:
- Thigh-high compression stocking
- A change of under clothes, as the ones you are wearing may get stained with betadine
- Someone to drive you home
Care at home after VNUS Closure
- You may experience a mild amount of bruising and numbness after the VNUS Closure procedure. This will typically fade in a few weeks.
- You may feel pain or tenderness in your inner thigh. Mild pain medication such as Tylenol or Ibuprofen may be helpful.
- It is normal to have fluid leaking from the injection areas the day of the procedure. Fluid may be blood tinged.
- Wear your compression stocking for 48 hours after the procedure. You may remove the stocking after 24 hours to shower, but then reapply it. Wear the stocking for two weeks after the procedure while you are up.
- Resuming activity
The day of the procedure - make sure to walk around the house for a few minutes each hour until bedtime.
The day after the procedure - you can increase activity as tolerated, but avoid strenuous activity for 2 weeks.
Avoid standing and sitting for long periods of time. Both of these activities will cause blood to pool in your legs resulting in more swelling and discomfort.
Do not drive or operate heavy machinery for 24 hours after the procedure.
Do not take baths or use hot tubs or swimming pools until your incision site is healed.
When to call a doctor
Seek help if you have:
- Fever greater than 100.8 degrees F.
- Uncontrolled bleeding from incision site
- Pain that is not relieved by rest or pain medication
- Shortness of breath
You will need to schedule two post-procedure appointments: an ultrasound for 2 or 3 days after the closure procedure and an appointment to see your surgeon 2 weeks after your procedure. Call 651-232-2550 to schedule these appointments.
TriVex offers fast treatment of varicose veins with just a few small incisions. During the procedure, a tiny light is passed under the vein to illuminate it. This gives your doctor a better look at the vein. Then, another small device is inserted and the damaged vein is removed.
Another name for the TriVex procedure is a "transilluminated powered phlebectomy."
Care at home after TriVex
- Compression dressing
At your follow-up appointment, you will have a compression dressing applied. The surgical dressing should be kept on until you are seen again in the clinic following surgery. Drainage on the dressing is normal. It may be yellow, bloody or a mixture of both.
- Bruising and swelling
Once the dressing is removed in the clinic, you can expect some bruising and mild swelling. The amount of bruising and swelling varies from patient to patient. A small amount of drainage may continue for up to one week after the procedure. An ace bandage and absorbent gauze will be applied in the clinic. You can remove it to shower, but reapply it afterwards.
- Elevating your leg
You need to elevate your leg as much as possible in the first 3 to 5 days after surgery.
- Resuming activity
Slowly increase your activity. Most people are able to return to work one week after surgery. Walking will help with your recovery. Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time.
You will receive pain medication after your surgery to take as needed. It is ok to use Tylenol for milder pain. You can use Ibuprofen starting a week after surgery. If you take aspirin for heart reasons, you may resume it right after surgery; otherwise, wait a week before taking aspirin.
Once it is comfortable to do so, start gently massaging your leg. Pay special attention to bruised or hardened areas. Massage 2 to 3 times per day until bruising and hardness has gone away.
- Support (compression) stockings
As soon as it is comfortable for you to do so, use your support stockings in place of the ace wrap. After surgery, you should wear your support stockings as much as possible on an ongoing basis.
When to call a doctor
If you continue to have significant swelling, an increase in swelling or pain 2 weeks after surgery, please call us at 651-232-2550.
You will need to schedule two post-procedure appointments – one appointment 2 to 3 days after your surgery to change your dressings and another appointment one month after your procedure to follow-up with your surgeon.
Contact HealthEast Vascular, Vein & Wound
Call us when you need to make an appointment or get a question answered.
Monday through Friday, 8 am to 4 pm
St. Paul location:
Wednesday, 8 am to 4 pm