By PAULO SILVESTRE [email protected]
A fast, effective and less invasive method to treat the common problem of painful and unsightly varicose veins was presented by specialists during a seminar held at the Hospital Particular do Algarve (HPA) in Gambelas, Faro, on July 2.
The new procedure, introduced in Portugal in 2009, is called the VNUS Closure and is an alternative, minimally invasive treatment meaning less pain and less bruising for patients when compared to the traditional vein stripping surgery and laser treatment. Around 500 patients have already been treated in Portugal by this new method.
Varicose veins are a very common and important health problem, generally appearing as twisting, bulging rope-like cords on the legs, anywhere from groin to ankle.
Using this method, physicians close the diseased veins by inserting a catheter into a vein and heating the vein wall using temperature-controlled RF radio frequency energy.
Heating the vein wall causes collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood then naturally reroutes to healthy veins.
During the seminar, Dr Sérgio Silva, a vascular surgeon specialising in minimally invasive surgery at the Department of Vascular Surgery at HPA and who has introduced the new treatment in the Algarve in cooperation with the hospital, said: “When compared with traditional vein stripping techniques, the method is more effective, has fewer complications, and is associated with much less pain during recovery.
“This procedure leaves virtually no scars because catheter placement requires skin openings of only a few millimetres, not large incisions, and it is a less invasive alternative to standard surgery. Most patients report symptom relief and are able to return to normal daily activities immediately, with little or no pain.”
In the Algarve, about 140 patients were have been treated since the first VNUS Closure was performed at HPA in Alvor in October 2009.
Varicose veins affect an estimated 40% of women and 25% of men. The main factors leading to varicose veins include gender, pregnancy, age or may be hereditary.
At the end of the seminar, some patients who had been treated with the new procedure shared their experiences with the audience and how the VNUS Closure method had helped improve their lives.
One of the patients said: “I have had varicose veins for a long time and had been recommended to Dr Sérgio by friends. I could barely walk as my legs felt so heavy, but after the treatment I felt completely different and all the pain in my legs had disappeared in a couple of days.”
A treatment using the VNUS Closure method costs from €3,200 to €5,200 depending on the areas needing attention.
For more information about the VNUS Closure method, please call Hospital Particular do Algarve on 707 282 828 or email [email protected].