WHAT IS THE VENEFIT PROCEDURE?
The Venefit procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for superficial venous reflux. Following local or regional anesthesia and under ultrasonic guidance, a thin catheter is inserted into the vein through a small needle puncture and positioned. The catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse, and seal shut.
HOW DOES VENEFIT 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 Venefit procedure provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the problem vein instead. Once the diseased vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from your legs.
HOW IS THE VENEFIT PROCEDURE DIFFERENT FROM VEIN STRIPPING?
During a stripping procedure, which is performed in an operating room, the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the greater saphenous vein, after which a stripper tool is threaded through the vein and used to pull this vein out of your leg through a second incision just above your calf.
In the Venefit 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 Venefit procedure is performed in our center on an outpatient basis, typically using local or regional anesthesia.
Three randomized trials of the Venefit procedure vs. vein stripping, including the most recent multi-center comparative trial, show very similar results. In the multi-center comparative trial, the Venefit procedure was superior to vein stripping in every statistically significant outcome. In the study, 80.5% of patients treated with the Venefit procedure returned to normal activities within one day, versus 46.9% of patients who underwent vein stripping. Also, Venefit patients returned to work 7.7 days sooner than surgical patients. Patients treated with the Venefit procedure had less postoperative pain, less bruising, faster recovery and fewer overall adverse events.
HOW QUICKLY AFTER TREATMENT CAN I RETURN TO NORMAL ACTIVITIES?
Many patients can resume normal activities immediately. 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.
ARE THERE ANY POTENTIAL RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS ASSOCIATED WITH THE VENEFIT PROCEDURE?
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the Venefit procedure. All patients should consult their primary care doctors to determine if their conditions present any special risks. Dr. Allen will review potential complications of the Venefit procedure at the consultation, and again prior to your procedure. Potential complications can include: vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, paresthesia (numbness or tingling) and/or skin burn.