What is VNUS?
VNUS Closure is a relatively new vein treatment that uses radiofrequency energy to address varicose and spider veins. It is considered a treatment alternative to more invasive vein stripping and ligation procedures. It can be used on larger veins that cannot effectively be treated with sclerotherapy. VNUS Closure offers stellar cosmetic results and relief from uncomfortable symptoms, without the discomfort and downtime associated with these other vein treatments.
During the VNUS Closure procedure, a narrow catheter is inserted through the skin and into the diseased vein. Radiofrequency energy is administered directly into the vein, damaging the vein walls and causing them to seal shut. When no more blood can flow through the vein, it is slowly reabsorbed by the body. Blood flow is rerouted through healthy veins in the area.
The affected vein disappears from view, for a smoother, younger appearance to the leg. Uncomfortable symptoms that often accompany varicose veins, such as aching legs, night cramping and swelling, are also eliminated through the VNUS Closure procedure. Results are seen quickly, with no recovery time required after the procedure.
When is it done?
VNUS Closure is commonly used to address great saphenous veins, small saphenous veins and other superficial veins. Because blood is rerouted through other healthy veins, the diseased vein is not missed once it is eliminated. The procedure has been used since 1999, when it was approved by the FDA for use in the United States. It has a proven track record of success, without potential complications or side effects of traditional surgical procedures.
How does the procedure work?
A physician may perform VNUS Closure right in the office as an outpatient procedure. The patient is given a local or topical anesthetic for comfort, and the treatment area is cleansed and marked. Ultrasound technology may be used to pinpoint the precise location of the vein to be addressed.
Once the patient is ready, a narrow catheter is inserted into the vein and radiofrequency energy is administered. The catheter is slowly drawn out and a compression dressing is applied. The patient is likely to receive a compression stocking to wear for a number of days after the procedure, to aid in the healing process and promote healthy blood flow.
The entire procedure takes less than 30 minutes to complete in most cases. Patients may be observed for a short time after treatment before they are encouraged to get up and walk around. Like the compression stocking, walking right away helps move the healing process along, and minimizes the potential for swelling and bruising around the treatment site.
What is the recovery like?
Most patients are allowed to resume regular activities the same day as treatment, although heavy lifting and physical exercise are generally discouraged for a number of days. Any swelling or bruising that does appear after the procedure will likely dissipate on their own within a few days.
When will the results appear?
Patients will see relief from uncomfortable symptoms shortly after the procedure is complete. Cosmetic results may take a bit more time to fully develop. It typically takes around one week for the treated vein to seal completely and at that time, the reabsorption process begins. One year after the procedure, it is unlikely any remnant of the treated vein will even be detected through ultrasound imaging.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
VNUS Closure effectively treats a varicose vein in a single session in most cases. However, subsequent sessions may be recommended if additional veins require treatment. Smaller veins extending from the treated vein may also require treatment, such as sclerotherapy, to eliminate them completely.
Will veins reappear after treatment?
Varicose veins treated with VNUS Closure will be reabsorbed by the body, so they will not reappear after treatment. However, there is no cure for faulty veins that led to the appearance of that vein in the first place. This means other veins could become varicose in the future. If that occurs, additional treatment may be recommended to maintain results of the first procedure.
What is the cost of VNUS?
The approximate cost of the VNUS procedure is around $750 per catheter. The total cost will depend on the number of catheters required, based on the size of the vein to be treated. Cost will also vary based on the location of the doctor. If varicose veins are accompanied by symptoms, insurance may cover at least a portion of that cost. If not, many physicians offer financing programs to make the procedure more affordable for patients.