UPDATE: This procedure is now called Venefit.
The VNUS Closure FAST is a relatively new procedure designed to treat varicose veins. Unlike the olden days, when varicose veins were stripped surgically, the Closure procedure utilizes radiofrequency waves generated by an electrode to close the vein. The principles of the VNUS Closure Fast technique is to generate radiofrequency waves through an electrode. The heat generated from these electrode causes the veins to heat and eventually collapse. With time, the veins are removed by the body’s scavenging system.
Unlike the previous VNUS closure procedure which only has a heating probe at the very end of the electrode, the VNUS Closure Fast has 6.5 cm of an electrode which can generate the radiofrequency waves. Thus, nearly 6.5 cm of the vein can be close in a matter of seconds. Further, the VNUS closure Fast procedure uses a higher temperature to close off the varicose vein. The entire saphenous vein in the thigh varies from 20-40 cm and thus the entire procedure can be closed off in a few minutes.
The VNUS Closure Fast procedure is an outpatient procedure done either in a hospital or in a radiology clinic. The entire procedure is visualized under ultrasound.
There are no extensive preparations required prior to the procedure but one must:
- not take aspirin about a week prior to the procedure
- discuss with the physician when to stop any blood thinning or other medications
- wait at least 1-2 weeks if there is evidence of any type of skin infection
On the day of the procedure, you will be asked to lie down on a bed and the leg will be cleaned. The varicose vein in the thigh area will be identified from the knee to the groin. A small amount of a local anesthetic will be injected into the skin and a small needle will be placed in the varicose vein. Through this needle the VNUS Closure Fast electrode will be inserted and directed up to the groin.
When the catheter is in position, radiofrequency energy is applied to the vein and the catheter is gently withdrawn. The radiofrequency energy heats up the vein and causes it to collapse. This leads to eventual closure of the vein.
Following the procedure, a bandage is placed over the insertion site, and additional compression is provided to keep the area clean. One is encouraged to walk and resume all normal activities
Compared to the standard VNUS closure procedure, the Closure Fast technique only takes a few minutes. Current data indicate that individuals who have been treated with the VNUS closure Fast procedure have:
- Faster recovery
- Minimal pain
- Minimal bruising
- Less pain
The majority of individuals resume their normal activities in a day. After a week, the majority of individuals show improvement in their leg symptoms, the final cosmetic appearance takes a few months to appear.
Like the Closure procedure, complications can occur but are very rare. The potential complications that can occur with the Closure Fast procedure include:
- vessel perforation
- pulmonary embolism
- paresthesia (numbness or tingling)
- skin burn
The Closure Fast procedure is only for large varicose veins. It is not suitable for spider veins. The Closure procedure has been used to treat patients across a wide range of ages.
Limited data on the Closure Fast procedure indicate that most patients are satisfied with the results and there have been no recurrences reported.