Frequently Asked Questions

Superficial venous reflux is a leading cause of varicose veins. This condition develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased. This causes blood to pool in your legs. Common symptoms include pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, as well as varicose veins in your legs.

Your physician may choose either laser treatment (EVLT) or radiofrequency energy (VNUS closure) to perform the ablation procedure. A vein ablation is a minimally invasive procedure for superficial venous reflux, in which a thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening and heat is used to collapse and seal the vein shut.

Since valves cannot be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping or ligating) the troublesome vein. These procedures provide a less invasive alternative to stripping or ligation by simply closing off the problem vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over the transport of blood from the legs back to the heart.

With the EVLT or VNUS closure procedures there is no need for formal surgery. Instead, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special catheter inserted through a small puncture. This virtually eliminates the bruising and pain often associated with surgery. In addition, surgery for the vein is usually performed in an operating room under general anesthesia, while ablation treatments are performed in an outpatient setting using local anesthesia.

Vein ablation using the laser or the radiofrequency technology both take approximately 30 minutes to an hour, though patients normally spend 60-90 minutes at the medical facility due to normal pre- and post-treatment protocols.

Patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the procedure. Your physician will give you a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area.

Both procedures are performed under local anesthesia.

Patients can resume normal activities immediately. For 10 days following treatment, your doctor may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities.

Many patients experience immediate improvement or resolution of their symptoms; however the entire treatment plan could take up to several months.

There is no scarring or swelling following either procedure. Most patients have some bruising that resolves within two weeks.

As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the procedure, though they are minimal. All patients should consult with their doctors to determine if other existing health conditions present any special risks. Your physician will review potential complications during your consultation.

Only a physician call tell you if  the laser or radiofrequency technology offered at our center for vein treatment is a viable option for your venous problem. Experience has shown that the vast majority of patients with superficial venous reflux are candidates for either of these minimally invasive vein procedures.  

Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the procedure is appropriate for you. Vein treatment using a laser or radiofrequency has been used for patients across a wide range of ages. The most important step in determining whether or not vein ablation treatment using laser or radiofrequency technology is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination evaluated by your physician or other qualified clinician.

More than 95 percent of the veins treated at Emory Vein Center with ablation remain closed and free from reflux. 

Following treatment, the vein simply becomes fibrous tissue. Over time, the body re-absorbs this tissue, and the treated vein is eventually indistinguishable after the procedure is performed.

Most insurance companies pay for both the EVLT and the VNUS closure procedure in part or in full. Insurance companies determine coverage for all treatments based on medical necessity. Our staff can discuss your insurance coverage further at the time of consultation.

Attend one of our free informational classes to find out more about laser treatment for varicose veins. Please call 404-778-VEIN for more information about class days and times.

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