With vein stripping, the physician makes an incision in the groin and ties off the vein, after which a tool is threaded through the leg vein in order to pull it out through a second incision just above the calf. The ClosureFast™ procedure is minimally invasive. In contrast to vein stripping, the vein is closed using heat delivered by a catheter inserted through a small incision below the knee. Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room under general anesthesia, while the ClosureFast™ procedure is often performed in an outpatient setting, typically using local or regional anesthesia.
The ClosureFast™ procedure utilizes radiofrequency energy in 20 second bursts to provide controlled heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins. Laser ablation uses laser heat to contract and seal the affected vein. The laser delivers heat to the vein causing it to collapse. Unlike the ClosureFast™ procedure, peak laser temperatures can reach over 1334°F (729°C).(1) Treatment with the 980 nm laser ablation can potentially lead to more bruising and post-procedure pain for patients than compared to the ClosureFast™ procedure.(1) The 2009 RECOVERY Study compared the experience of patients treated with the ClosureFast™ procedure and those treated with 980 nm laser ablation. The findings clearly demonstrated that for the majority of patients: •The ClosureFast™ procedure resulted in less pain, less bruising and fewer minor complications.(2) •The ClosureFast™ procedure proved to be faster in improving patients’ quality of life.(2)
The ClosureFast™ procedure typically takes approximately 45-60 minutes. Most patients typically spend two to three hours at the medical facility due to normal pre- and post-treatment procedures.
The ClosureFast™ procedure can be performed under local, regional or general anesthesia. It is generally performed using local anesthesia in a vein specialist’s office or an outpatient surgical facility.
Many patients experience a quick return to normal activities, typically within a few days.(3) For a few weeks following the treatment, a vein specialist may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (i.e., heavy lifting) or prolonged periods of standing.
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks following the procedure.(2)
Although it is possible to experience pain, bruising or tenderness after treatment, many patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling following the ClosureFast™ procedure. Speak to your physician to learn more about the ClosureFast™ procedure, its risks and outcomes.(4)
As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist with the ClosureFast™ procedure. A vein specialist will have a consultation with you to determine if your conditions present any special risks. They will also review with you potential complications associated with the ClosureFast™ procedure, which can include, but are not limited to, vessel perforation, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, hematoma, infection, paresthesia (numbness or tingling), skin discoloration, skin burn and/or adjunct nerve injury.
A vein specialist can tell you if the ClosureFast™ procedure is the right option for your vein problem. Many patients with varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency can be treated with the ClosureFast™ procedure.
The most important step in determining whether the ClosureFast™ procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by a vein specialist. Age alone is not a factor in determining if the ClosureFast™ procedure is right for you. The ClosureFast™ procedure has been used to treat both women and men across a wide range of ages.
After treatment, the affected vein becomes fibrous tissue. Over time, the vein will be absorbed into surrounding tissue and blood will re-route to other veins.
Many insurance companies pay for the ClosureFast™ procedure in part or in full. The ClosureFast™ procedure has coverage policies with major health insurers. Prior to seeking treatment, consult your insurance provider to confirm coverage.
(1) Weiss, RA. Comparison of Endovenous Radiofrequency Versus 10 nm Diode Laser Occlusion of Large Veins in an Animal Model. Dermatol Surg 2002;28:56-61. (2) Almeida JI, Kaufman J, Göckeritz O, et al. Radiofrequency endovenous ClosureFast versus laser ablation for the treatment of great saphenous reflux: a multicenter, single-blinded, randomized study (RECOVERY Study). J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2009;20:752-759. (3) Lurie, F, et al. Prospective randomized study of endovenous radiofrequency obliteration (Closure procedure) versus ligation and stripping in a selected patient population (EVOLVeS Study), J Vasc Surg 2003; 38(2):207-14. (4) Hinchliffe, RJ, et al. A prospective randomized controlled trial of VNUS Closure versus Surgery for the treatment of recurrent long saphenous varicose veins. Eur J Vasc Surg 2006 Feb; 31; 2: 212-218.