Frequently Asked Questions regarding Venous disease and treatment
What is superficial venous reflux?
Superficial venous reflux is a condition that develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing back to your heart become damaged or diseased which causes blood to pool in your legs. Common symptoms of superficial venous reflux include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, as well as varicose veins in your legs.
What is the ClosureFAST Radio Frequency Ablation procedure?
The ClosureFAST procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for superficial venous reflux. A thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening. The catheter delivers thermal energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse, and seal shut.
How does it work to treat superficial venous reflux?
Since valves can't be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. The ClosureFAST procedure provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the diseased vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from your legs.
How is the ClosureFAST procedure different from vein stripping?
During a stripping procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein, after which a stripper tool is threaded through the saphenous vein and used to pull the vein out of your leg through a second incision just above your calf.
In the ClosureFAST procedure, there is no need for groin surgery. Instead, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special (Closure) catheter inserted through a small puncture. This may eliminate the bruising and pain often associated with vein stripping (i.e., that may result from the tearing of side branch veins while the saphenous vein is pulled out). Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room, under a general anesthetic, while the ClosureFAST procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, typically using local or regional anesthesia.
Is the ClosureFAST procedure painful?
Although some people are more sensitive than others, patients generally report little pain. Some have said they can feel a little heat when the catheter is energized.
Will the procedure require any anesthesia?
The ClosureFAST procedure can be performed under local anesthesia at the site where the catheter is inserted.
How quickly after treatment can I return to normal activities?
Many patients typically return to normal activities within a day. For a few weeks following the treatment, your doctor may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
Is there any scarring, bruising, or swelling after the ClosureFAST procedure?
Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising, or swelling following the ClosureFAST procedure.
Are there any potential risks and complications associated with the ClosureFAST procedure?
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the ClosureFAST procedure. All patients should consult their doctors to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Your physician will review potential complications of the ClosureFAST procedure at the consultation, and can be reviewed in the safety summary. Potential complications can include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, adjacent nerve injury (tingling or numbness) and/or skin burn.
Is the ClosureFAST procedure suitable for everyone?
Only a physician can tell you if the ClosureFAST procedure is a viable option for your vein problem. Experience has shown that many patients with superficial venous reflux disease can be treated with the ClosureFAST procedure.
Is age an important consideration for the ClosureFAST procedure?
The most important step in determining whether the ClosureFAST procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination at your physician’s office. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the ClosureFAST procedure is appropriate for you. The ClosureFAST procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages.
What happens to the treated vein left behind in the leg?
The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually incorporate into surrounding tissue.
Is the ClosureFAST procedure covered by my insurance?
Many insurance companies are paying for the ClosureFAST procedure in part or in full. Most insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments, including the ClosureFAST procedure, based on medical necessity. The ClosureFAST procedure has positive coverage policies with most major health insurers. Your physician can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation.
1. Lurie F, Creton D, Eklof B, Kabnick LS, Kistner RL, Pichot O, et al. Prospective randomized study of endovenous radiofrequency obliteration (Closure) versus ligation and stripping in a selected patient population (EVOLVES study). J Vasc Surg 2003;38:207-14.
Frequently Asked Questions