What is Vein Disease?
20-25 million Americans have varicose veins. Venous reflux, often the underlying cause of varicose veins, frequently forces people to dramatically change their lifestyles, especially when they have standing professions and can no longer tolerate being on their feet all day. Whether the initial cause is genetics, pregnancy, prolonged standing, excess weight, inadequate exercise or a damaged saphenous vein, the physiology of varicose veins is nearly always the same.
When the valves in the saphenous vein are damaged physicians call them “incompetent”, making the veins near the skin surface stretch and become distorted from the increased pressure caused by blood flowing in the wrong direction. Venous reflux (caused by incompetent valves) in the saphenous vein is often the underlying cause of varicose veins. Although the condition is rarely life threatening, it is painful and unattractive.
Historically, patients have had several choices for treating varicose veins depending on the severity. They could make lifestyle changes, such as eating less, exercising more and wearing support hose. This regimen has proven helpful in somewhat reducing leg pain and further deterioration of the vein, particularly in mild cases. But sooner or later most patients return to their return to their previous lifestyles, and thus their previous symptoms typically reoccur.
Patients could also have the visible varicose veins removed in a procedure called “phlebectomy.” This surgical technique was developed in the 1950’s. A specially trained physician removes diseased veins through a series of very small punctures or incisions with a variety of specialized hooks. However, phlebectomy alone does not address the incompetent valves in the saphenous vein, which is often the cause of the problem and can cause varicose veins to recur.
EVCA (Endovascular Catheter Ablation)
The EVCA procedure is an outpatient (day surgery) treatment now offered at Las Vegas Vein by Dr. Parisi. Patients experience less discomfort and have significantly decreased healing time with this procedure compared with other treatment options for varicose veins.
The EVCA procedure was developed over a four-year period to treat superficial venous reflux. This patented technology uses a very small catheter and radio frequency energy to occlude, or seal shut, the saphenous vein. The physician typically makes a single small incision near the knee and inserts the slender catheter into the saphenous vein. The catheter is then positioned near the groin, energized and slowly withdrawn, sealing the vein shut. There are no stitches, and most patients return to normal activity within a day or two.
The procedure has been the subject of numerous studies and journal articles. The results from a peer-reviewed, multi-center, randomized trial comparing recovery rates and quality of life between patients treated with conventional vein stripping and the EVCA procedure, and a third randomized trial showing that patients who receive stripping and the EVCA procedure consistently experienced less post-operative pain, and returned to normal activities and work faster than patients whose veins were surgically stripped.
In addition, published studies found that at 12 and 24 months following the EVCA procedure, 90% or more treated veins remained reflux-free and a significant reduction of limb pain, fatigue and edema was observed. In one study, which also assessed patient satisfaction at 6 months, 98% of patients indicated they would recommend the EVCA procedure to a friend with similar leg vein problems. More than 300,000 patients have been treated with EVCA procedure to date. For many patients, the procedure is covered by health medical insurance. For those patients that may need financial help, and Care Credit is available. Care Credit is a nationwide company that will extend a credit line to patients who qualify which covers all costs and may be paid overtime within no or limited interest.