Varicose Vein Treatment Geelong
Veins that are deeper under the skin are classified as Varicose veins. There are two predominant forms of varicose vein treatment, they are Ultrasound Sclerotherapy and radiofrequency (VENEFIT). The best treatment for your varicose veins is discussed and decided upon at an initial consultation with one of our leg vein doctors.
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy (UGS) is when an ultrasound machine is used to visualize veins below the surface of the skin and a needle is passed through the skin and is guided into the vein (by watching on the ultrasound screen); the vein can then be treated by injecting a solution through the needle (ie sclerotherapy).
Can UGS be used for surface vein treatment and varicose vein treatment?
UGS is a treatment for underlying deep vein problems and is not used to treat surface veins such as spider veins. These superficial leg veins require either surface injections (sclerotherapy) or surface laser treatment.
It is often the case that UGS may be needed after catheter procedures to treat residual varicose veins and it is usually the treatment of choice when patients have recurrent varicose veins after past surgical stripping.
The availability of several treatment options emphasises the need for an accurate initial assessment and mapping scan to determine the best treatment option for an individual clinical situation. Long-term results need to be weighed up against cost effectiveness and possible side effects.
Is UGS painful?
The Ultrasound part of the treatment simply involves gel on the surface of the skin and is not painful. The injection part of the treatment involves a very fine gauge needle and most patients describe it as only slightly uncomfortable. In fact, most patients characterise surface injections as more uncomfortable. UGS only involves a small number of very accurately placed injections.
How many treatments are necessary?
The number of treatments varies with each individual case but as a guide the average number of UGS treatments is between 2 or 3. A more accurate indication of the treatment plan will be given after the Mapping Scan assessment.
How much does UGS cost?
This will vary with the number of treatments and whether one or both legs need to be treated. Medicare does provide a rebate and Health Insurance funds will usually provide some rebate for the compression stockings but not for the UGS procedure.
VENEFIT is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy that is effective for varicose vein treatment. VENEFIT is the trademark name of the procedure given by the company ( Covidien) that manufactures the radiofrequency equipment. The radiofrequency treatment was previously called the VNUS procedure and is also known as the Closure Fast procedure.
The VENEFIT is used for major large varicose veins that in the past would have required surgical stripping in hospital. The procedure is not designed to treat spider veins however successful treatment can result in cosmetic improvement.
How does the procedure work?
A special ultrasound machine (Colour Flow Duplex Ultrasound Scanner) is used to visualise veins below the surface of the skin. A small catheter is passed through a tiny skin incision and guided by the use of ultrasound imaging into the deep vein to be treated. Radiofrequency (RF) energy is then precisely delivered through the catheter to heat the inside of the vein wall.When enough heat is delivered, the collagen in the vein wall contracts, causing a segment of the vein to collapse and close off around the catheter. The catheter is progressively withdrawn treating more segments of vein until the entire length of vein has been closed (hence the term ‘Closure Fast’ that is also used for this treatment). Once the vein is closed then blood flow naturally becomes redirected through other healthy veins.
How long does the procedure take?
The VENEFIT procedure typically takes about 45 to 60 minutes. A patient can expect to be in the rooms for 2 to 3 hours due to the pre and post treatment requirements.
Is the procedure painful?
No. Local anaesthesia is used for the small skin incision where the catheter is inserted and during the procedure patients typically report feeling minimal or no discomfort.
What happens to the treated varicose vein?
The vein that has been closed by the VENEFIT treatment remains collapsed and gradually becomes fibrous in nature and over time is completely absorbed into the surrounding tissue.
Meet our Vascular Specialist –
Dr Patrick Lyons
A vascular specialist, Dr. Patrick Lyons has held numerous hospital appointments including as the head of vascular surgery at the Royal Hobart Hospital. Dr Lyons is an expert in all of the vein treatment technologies such as surgery, laser, radiofrequency and injection techniques (sclerotherapy).
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