Faster, less invasive outpatient procedure treats the common cause of varicose veins.
Healthy veins in the leg have valves that open and close to assist the return of blood to the heart. But when these valves become diseased or damaged, blood can pool in the legs and lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, and varicose veins - a condition that affects as many as one in five people. Varicose veins are uncomfortable and unattractive, and they rarely get better on their own.
A common treatment for the condition is "vein stripping," the complete removal of the damaged vein. It's generally effective, but the procedure usually involves general anesthesia and can result in swelling and bruising that may last up to eight weeks.
A new approach called Closure® is now available at Elkhart General. According to Interventional Radiologist Al Harding, M.D., "The procedure involves inserting a tiny catheter through the damaged vein and applying radio-frequency energy to seal the vein shut. Once the vein is closed, it shrinks and blood is naturally diverted to deeper health veins. This procedure is done on an outpatient basis with local anesthetic. There are no stitches, and most patients return to normal activity with a day or two." In order to be a candidate for this procedure, an ultrasound is necessary to document that there is reflux (backwards flow) in the saphenous vein.
The success of this procedure is evidence in a national study that measured patient satisfaction six months after treatment. Ninety-eight percent of the patients surveyed indicated they would recommend Closure® a friend with similar leg problems.
For more information on this procedure, call the Elkhart General Relations Department at (574) 523-3303.