02.23.11 Dr. Paul McNeill Cosmetic

How Does VNUS Closure Improve Leg Circulation?

We are often asked, "If you close one of my leg veins, how does blood get back up my leg?" This is a very obvious concern to my patients who fear that any vein procedure will cause a circulation problem in the leg. What may not be so apparent to non-physicians is that vein treatment and removal have been going on for decades without harm to patients and, many times, with clear benefit to the leg circulation.

Vein blood flow should naturally begin in the lower leg and ascend to the level of the groin. Of course, this goes against the force of gravity. Veins are usually strong enough to withstand gravitational force, but when vein weakness occurs, backflow follows with the development of leg pain, swelling, and varicose veins.

Most people are aware of heart bypass surgery, but are not always aware that the surgeons actually remove the leg vein to place it into the heart. This is the exact leg vein that we treat with VNUS Closure when backflow in the saphenous vein is found through ultrasound.

In addition, for many years, vein stripping was done to treat varicose veins. While the procedure was painful and time-consuming with a lingering recovery, the leg circulation actually improved by removing the poorly functioning vein. VNUS Closure has now replaced vein stripping as the procedure of choice in treating saphenous vein reflux (backflow).

The legs are endowed with many different channels of veins that allow blood to flow up the leg. Some of these extra veins are called "collaterals," meaning they exist as alternate pathways for blood flow. It is similar to damming up a river, then allowing the water to re-route down other smaller creeks and springs around the blocked area. The same happens in the leg. These collateral veins pick up the slack and bring the blood up the leg in normal fashion. The weak walled incompetent vein is closed off with improved overall leg blood flow. Treatment of the unhealthy veins actually improves leg blood flow, allowing blood to ascend the leg again and reduce abnormal pressures.

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