What is venous insufficiency?

A: “Venous insufficiency” or "reflux" is blood falling back down your legs, rather than returning to your heart.  When blood falls down in your legs, the veins become pressurized, giving aching, heaviness, throbbing, pain, itching, burning and tired legs.  Over time the veins leak fluid into the tissue, giving swelling.  Subtle swelling can be appreciated as "sock lines".  Red blood cells can be forced out into the tissue and deposit Hemoglobin as iron, staining the tissue and giving a gradient of color that is worst closer to the ground.  Insufficiency can affect your deep veins, superficial veins, and connections in between called perforators.  Here at The Healthy Vein, we take pride in doing a complete consult and mapping ultrasound to determine the cause of your leg discomfort and the location of the reflux.  Once we identify where the reflux is occurring, we can make a personalized treatment plan.


Q:  How is venous insufficiency treated?

A: “Venous insufficiency” or "reflux" of the large superficial veins in the leg, or blood falling back down the veins away from the heart, is commonly treated with ablation or heat sealing of the long straight vein.  Ablation is typically performed with heat from a laser.  The treatment for venous insufficiency with heat from a laser source is called Endovenous Laser Ablation (sometimes called EVLA or EVLT).  Laser ablation is an ambulatory procedure: you can drive yourself to and from the Healthy Vein for your procedure and go to work or back to your busy life directly from here.  Your treatment is performed in our office, without sedation, using local numbing and cold spray along the leg to minimize discomfort.  Through a small IV,  the laser is introduced to the vein for treatment.  A cushion of cold numbing fluid is placed around the vein to give you comfort during the treatment and to prevent the heat from spreading to the surrounding tissue.  After numbing, we use the laser to  seal the vein.  Your time in the office is generally 1.5- 2 hours total.


Q:  How many treatments will I need?

A:  Your mapping ultrasound is performed here at the Healthy Vein to determine your treatment needs.   An ultrasound mapping diagram will show you blood falling down toward the floor as "red" or refluxing, and the blood returning to the heart as "Blue" or correct flow. Each leg can need one or more laser treatments; however, for comprehensive treatment of your vein disease several injection treatments may also be needed to close accessory veins, varicose veins and later in the process, visible or spider veins.  We will design a personalized set of treatments to improve your symptoms and physical appearance.