VNUS Closure™ for varicose veins
VNUS Closure™ is a treatment which can provide sufferers with a solution to leg pain and varicose veins.
Superficial venous reflux is a condition that develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. This causes blood to pool in the legs. It is a progressive disease meaning symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated. Common symptoms of superficial venous reflux include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, as well as varicose veins in the legs.
What is the VNUS procedure?
VNUS is a minimally invasive treatment for superficial venous reflux. A heated probe is used to close the faulty vein, as a result redirecting blood through nearby healthy veins.
Ultrasound will be used to mark the position of the veins on your leg. A local anaesthetic injection will numb your skin and a small flexible guide wire will be passed into the vein. A fine sheath is passed over this wire and then the VNUS Catheter is threaded through the sheath. The position of the catheter will be confirmed by ultrasound. Radiofrequency energy (heat) is applied to seal the vein along the length being treated in just a few minutes. You should not feel anything during the treatment. The VNUS procedure itself takes 45 to 60 minutes, though patients normally spend a couple of hours at the hospital in total.
Once the vein has been closed up, the probe is removed and a bandage is applied to the leg(s).
What is the recovery?
The bandage that is applied immediately after VNUS treatment should be kept on day and night for one week. After this, a support stocking should be worn during the day only. Normal activities, including work, can be resumed as soon as you like. However, very strenuous activities (e.g. heavy lifting or contact sports) or prolonged periods of standing should be avoided for up to two weeks. Patients are also advised not to undertake long haul air travel within three weeks of the procedure.
What are the advantages of VNUS?
- VNUS is performed as a day case procedure under local anaesthetic.
- Patients report feeling little, if any, pain.
- Quick return to normal activities.
- VNUS requires fewer incisions to the skin, so leaves fewer scars and less potential for complications such as wound infection or pain following surgery.
- Approximately 5% of patients who have conventional vein stripping surgery are left with patches of numbness on the leg. This occurs even less with VNUS.
Are there any complications?
There is a small chance (3%) that the vein may not be fully closed by the procedure. If this happens, the treatment can always be repeated, or the veins can be treated by conventional surgery or by liquid injection.
There may be a few visible varicose veins left after the VNUS treatment, but these do not cause symptoms and become less prominent with time. Most people do not require additional injections for residual veins.
About 1% of patients experience some numbness in the leg following the VNUS procedure, but this is almost always temporary. As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of blood clots forming in the main leg veins (DVT), although this is probably less common after VNUS than conventional vein surgery.
Is VNUS Closure suitable for me?
The most important step in determining whether or not the closure procedure is appropriate is a complete ultrasound examination. Age alone is not a factor. The procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages. It is particularly beneficial in the elderly as it can be safely performed under local anaesthetic thereby avoiding the potential risks of a general anaesthetic in this group of patients