Treatment Of Venous Insufficiency & Varicose Veins

Venous insufficiency is a very common problem. It is estimated that eleven million men and twenty-two million women between the ages of 40 and 80 have venous insufficiency, which is significant because it affects the quality of their lives. Venous insufficiency consists of the inability of veins to return blood from the toe back to the heart.

Gravity tends to pull everything down. Healthy leg veins have a series of tiny, one-way valves that help move blood back up to the heart in a segmental fashion. However, when the veins no longer close tightly, venous blood refluxes back down towards the feet, increasing pressure in the leg veins. Blood forms pools that stretch and stress the veins, which can lead to bulging varicose veins, swollen feet and ankles, pain, throbbing, itching, burning, aching, skin discoloration, and cramping of the legs, particularly at night.

However, some patients may not have any visual signs of varicose veins at all. Fortunately a diagnostic ultrasound is a very conservative, noninvasive, accurate tool that can identify venous insufficiency.

In 1999 the first FDA approved radio-frequency-based closure system became available. RF energy is transmitted into the vein through a small needle prick using the catheter device under local anesthetic in the office. A tiny bandage is applied to the entry site. Patients walk out of the office wearing compression stockings usually resuming normal activities the next day.

The procedure is usually covered by most insurance plans once diagnostic criteria are met and provided to the carriers for authorization.