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Minimally-invasive procedure aids vericose vein sufferers

The pain, swelling and unsightly appearance of varicose veins can be quickly relieved by a new minimally-invasive procedure offered at Baptist Health Louisville.

The VNUS® Closure® procedure is an alternative treatment to traditional vein stripping surgery for patients with venous reflux.

Varicose veins are a visible symptom of venous reflux, cause by damaged or diseased valves in the veins. The damage or disease results in a backward flow of blood in the legs (venous reflux). The blood then pools, prompting the pain, swelling and varicose veins. Instead of removing the veins, this procedure uses radiofrequency (RF) ablation to close the damaged veins.

After local or regional anesthesia numbs the area, a thin probe or catheter is inserted into the vein through a small incision. The probe emits RF energy to heat the vein until it collapses and closes shut. Once the vein is closed, blood is rerouted to healthy veins.

One bonus for patients is the quick recovery and healing time -- most people can return to work in one to three days, compared to one to two weeks for the traditional procedure.

Because the outpatient procedure calls for tiny incisions, there is little or no scarring. Patients who have this procedure are primarily women, ages 35-55, and very tall people. Women often suffer from varicose veins resulting from the effects of childbearing. Gravity works against the very tall, causing them to have more problems with blood flow in their legs.

For more information about the VNUS procedure, call the Baptist Health Information Center at (502) 897-8131 or e-mail