When the greater saphenous vein is refluxing it permits backward blood flow back into your leg. This leads to pooling of blood in the blood vessels. This is why the veins dilate and swell. The pooling of blood makes the pigment in the blood ooze into the skin and this causes discoloration. As the backward blood flow persists more veins become dilated and the venous insufficiency becomes worse. Removing the vein from circulation stops this process. Instead, blood flows through normal veins allowing blood to flow back to the heart for appropriate circulation. Keeping a refluxing vein causes more harm than good long term.
Oftentimes, the greater saphenous vein is entirely too dilated to be an appropriate conduit for bypass surgery. The longstanding reflux makes the vein huge and too large to sew to a small coronary blood vessel target. If a dilated vein is sewn to an artery once the high arterial pressure flows through that vein, the vein may blow and one may hemorrhage. Therefore, the vein would be useless anyway.
Since the procedure is minimally invasive, you can go back to work whenever you want to. I have patients that have their procedures on their lunch breaks and return to work in the afternoon. Walking for an hour after the procedure is a must. This promotes good blood circulation and minimizes the risk of developing a deep venous thrombosis.
The access point for the endovenous ablations is typically just above or just below the knee. This incision is in the inside of the leg and measures approximately 3 mm in size. A small incision this size does not usually scar.
You may perform all of your normal activities after the procedure. You must walk for at least one hour a day because this promotes good blood circulation and minimizes your risk of any complications. The procedure cannot be performed on any individual who cannot walk because the risk of complications like deep vein thrombosis is so high. Avoid any heavy lifting and squatting for one week as this can reopen the vein. Light exercise is fine, but no lunging, excessive jumping, squats, or heavy weights for one week. Hot baths and soaking in Jacuzzi tubs can also reopen the vein, so avoid doing either of these for one week after the procedure
The risks of the procedure include but are not limited to: infection, bleeding, scarring, allergic reaction to medications, nerve injury (partsthesia), clot in the deep vein (DVT-deep vein thrombosis), thermal injury (burn), pigmentation on the skin over the vein area, bleeding , and the risk of a cosmetic result that does not meet your expectations.
People will usually comment that their symptoms have either improved or resolved at the one week follow up appointment. Oftentimes, they still may have some residual aching in the thigh from the ablation procedure, but state that their legs feel “lighter”.
Venous insufficiency needs to be monitored on a regular basis. Even after the veins are treated, new veins in different locations can develop. Regular follow-up and treatment is essential in keeping varicose veins under control in order to prevent recurrence of symptoms and to minimize the risk of developing ulcers, deep clots or other complications associated with varicose veins.
Venous insufficiency and varicose veins is a medical condition. Patients who experience symptoms that interfere with their quality of life are candidates for surgery. Most insurance companies cover the procedure, however, a trial of conservative management with well-fitting compression stockings is required before they will cover the cost of the procedure. The time length of this trial varies for each insurance company. Check on-line for your insurance company’s criteria for coverage.
Please complete both the Medical History Form for your appropriate gender and the Venous Health History before you come to our office. Download, print and bring the completed forms to the office with you.
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