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Vein Reflux Procedure

Vein Reflux Procedure

Mar 11, 2024 | Blog, Vascular Issues

Venous reflux disease (VRD) or vein reflux develops when the vein’s valves can’t close properly, letting the blood flow backward and pool in the lower extremities. Vein reflux procedures, such as endovenous ablation, can address the symptoms of RVD by closing down the damaged veins and forcing the blood to flow to healthy blood vessels.

These vein reflux procedures are minimally invasive, safe, and can address cosmetic appearance and painful symptoms, such as aching, cramping, swelling, and skin discoloration.  

Undergoing a vein reflux procedure is highly recommended for patients with VRD. If left untreated, vein reflux can also negatively affect the patient’s life quality, limiting mobility, causing discomfort, and may lead to more serious medical problems such as chronic venous insufficiency (which, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery, affects around 40% of the US population) or deep vein thrombosis.

At CACVI, our vascular team has spent decades treating different cardiovascular conditions with great success. Our expert Doctors, such as Dr. Vasim Lala, who trained at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our health center. They specializes in advanced coronary, vascular, and structural procedures, and are equipt with the skills to perform minimally invasive interventions with precision and care. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with him! 

Treatment options for vein reflux disease may include wearing compression stockings, lifestyle changes, and medical interventions. This article focuses on the latter, emphasizing endovenous ablation to give you peace of mind and help you make informed decisions together with your vascular surgeon.  

Vein Reflux Procedures In California

Vein Reflux Procedures In California

At CACVI, our expert cardiovascular surgeons offer several treatments for vascular issues, such as endovenous laser ablation, sclerotherapy, and radiofrequency ablations. All of these minimally invasive treatments are effective in addressing several venous medical issues, including venous reflux disease and chronic venous insufficiency.

Endovenous Laser Treatment (Vein Ablation)

In contrast to classic vein stripping interventions, Endovenous ablation is a minimally invasive treatment designed to treat venous reflux and varicose veins. Vein ablation is known for alleviating the associated discomfort or cosmetic concerns. During the procedure, a numbing agent is applied to the treatment area, followed by the insertion of a catheter into the targeted vein. Various techniques, such as radiofrequency energy or VenaSeal therapy, are employed to close the vein and force the blood to flow to healthier vessels. Unlike traditional methods like phlebectomy, endovenous ablation offers a less invasive alternative with a reduced risk of complications such as deep venous thrombosis. Through personalized evaluation and consultation with our physicians, you can determine if endovenous ablation is the right treatment option for your individual needs and preferences.

RadioFrequency Ablation

As mentioned, this procedure is similar to laser ablation, however, vascular surgeons use radiofrequency energy to heat up and close the veins instead of a laser with the help of a catheter.


This vascular surgery procedure is most effective for the treatment of smaller varicose and spider veins. Providers inject a solution into the diseased vein during sclerotherapy, triggering it to shrink. Over time, the body reabsorbs it, and there’s no need for vein stripping.

All of these procedures aim to alleviate symptoms by either redirecting the blood flowing to healthy veins or eliminating any smaller diseased veins. Another benefit of these procedures is that given their minimally invasive nature, recovery time is rather short, there are fewer risks involved, and more optimal outcomes are more likely.   

Is Venous Reflux Surgery Painful?

Is Venous Reflux Surgery Painful?

Rest assured, the discomfort and pain are minimal after the procedure, and patients will be recommended either general or local anesthesia based on their medical history.

During general anesthesia, you will be in a deep sleep and unaware of the vascular surgeons performing the procedure, making it painless. In the case of local anesthesia, you are conscious, but an injection is given in the treatment area, numbing your nerves. To help you relax, your vascular surgeon will also administer a sedative agent.

Venous reflux interventions shouldn’t last longer than one hour, and you may see a few bruises along the treated area and feel some discomfort.

Possible Venous Reflux Disease Warning Signs and Symptoms

Possible Venous Reflux Disease Warning Signs and Symptoms

The condition may start with mild symptoms, but if they are not addressed in time, they can become more bothersome and lead to further medical complications. 

The most common symptoms of venous reflux include:

  • Varicose veins
  • Aching legs
  • Leg pain and cramps
  • Reddish-brown discolorations
  • Tingling and burning sensations in your legs
  • Leg swelling while standing
  • Itching on the feet or legs.
  • Your legs feel heavy.
  • Leg ulcers. These may become infected and cause immense leg pain.

While vein reflux disease isn’t life-threatening, it can lead to more serious medical complications and more discomfort if not addressed in time. Apart from the negative impacts on life quality and impaired aesthetics, the untreated condition may lead to chronic venous disease.

Preparation, During and After The Visit

Preparation, During and After The Visit

You won’t need to restrict your diet before the visit. Doctors perform ultrasound imaging while you are upright on an examination platform equipped with handrails or sitting on an examination couch. 

You will need to remove your shoes and your pants. Avoid wearing tight underwear or long underpants to help the sonographer as much as possible. The sonographer gently checks vein valves during the scan by pressing your calf muscle to spot any reflux. You’ll feel light pressure from the transducer and hear some Doppler sounds, but it’s all pretty easy and painless. Feel free to ask any questions you have before or during the scan.

Throughout the scan, the sonographer will gently assess your vein valves using pressure on your calf muscle to find any reflux. You’ll feel gentle pressure from the transducer and hear some Doppler sounds, but don’t worry, it’s all quite comfortable. If you have any questions or concerns, just let the sonographer know.

The examination won’t take longer than an hour, depending on the extent of the vein damage. The results of the scan will usually be available within a week. In Some cases, urgent results will be sent back to your provider within a day. 

To be better prepared, you can always reach out to your provider and check valuable resources or reach out to government institutes for more info and reassurance about the potential outcome of possible surgery.

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care

Recovery and Post-Procedure Care

Following endovenous ablation, immediate post-procedure care is essential for a smooth recovery. Patients can expect to resume normal activities within a day or two, with minimal downtime. 

However, strenuous activities and swimming should be avoided for about a week to allow the treated veins to heal properly. The procedure’s effectiveness typically manifests gradually, with visible improvements in varicose vein symptoms over the following weeks to months. The outcome will reduce swelling and pain, improve cosmetic appearance, and improve circulation. 

To promote optimal healing and prevent complications, patients are advised to wear compression stockings as prescribed that promote healing. Also, keep the treated area dry and clean and elevate their legs when possible. 

Regular light physical activity like walking can also aid blood flow and recovery. While complications are rare, patients should be vigilant for signs such as excessive pain, swelling, tingling, numbness, redness, or warmth in the treated area, as these may indicate issues such as infection or blood clots. Prompt reporting of unusual symptoms to the healthcare provider is crucial for timely intervention and optimal outcomes.

How Serious is Venous Reflux Disease?

How Serious is Venous Reflux Disease?

Venous reflux occurs when the leg veins are damaged and fail to manage blood flow efficiently, returning the deoxygenated blood to the heart. As a result, the blood can pool in the leg veins, causing pressure. The damage can occur in the deep veins that run through the muscle and superficial veins as well, which are close to the skin. It may also develop in perforating veins connecting superficial and deep veins. 

The damage to the blood vessels which causes blood pooling and varicose veins isn’t life-threatening, but it can impair the patient’s life quality. Still, you shouldn’t be discouraged if you are facing the same problem. You are not alone; several success stories can reassure you that you’re in good hands.

The average waiting time for a vein reflux procedure is four months, in general hospitals. That’s why most LA residents prefer to be treated at a private care hospital such as the Center for Advanced Cardiac and Vascular Interventions in California (CACVI).

While our institution is recognized by institutes such as the American College of Cardiology, the most important recognition we receive is from our local patients, who have left us stunning reviews regarding their experiences and our healthcare services. Combine this paragraph with the one above.

Risk Factors for Venous Reflux Disease

The following risk factors may increase the likelihood of developing the disease:

  • Obesity
  • Leading a sedentary lifestyle
  • Pregnancy
  • A history of deep venous thrombosis
  • Prolonged standing or prolonged periods of sitting.
  • Predisposition for vein problems
  • Tobacco use 

Diagnosing Venous Reflux Disease

Diagnosing Venous Reflux Disease

Venous insufficiency is usually diagnosed during physical exams and is usually confirmed after ultrasound imaging. During the physical, your doctor will:

  • Take a thorough look at your legs while monitoring them for venous reflux symptoms such as skin discoloration and ulcers.
  • Vascular ultrasound may also be performed, a test that uses sound waves to create detailed imagery of your veins. The test is painless and shows the damage in the veins. Doctors may also recommend MRV or magnetic resonance venography to visualize your veins with the help of IV contrast dye and magnetic resonance technology.
  • MRI testing may also be performed to rule out other medical issues that may be the underlying cause of venous ulcers and other symptoms. 

Your doctor may also run tests and ask further questions to rule out the presence of PAD or peripheral artery disease, which may also develop and overlap with CVI.

Chronic Venous Disease

Untreated venous insufficiency, affecting the deep or superficial venous systems, can lead to chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Formerly termed postphlebitic syndrome or postthrombotic syndrome, the term CVI has evolved to encompass various other conditions, including congenital venous valve defects. 

Alongside aesthetic concerns, severe CVI poses significant risks, including varicose veins, chronic infections on the affected leg, and debilitating pain, which can get worse from physical activity. Notably, characteristic skin changes such as lipodermatosclerosis may precede venous leg ulcers.

Considering a Vein Reflux Procedure in Los Angeles?

While not a life-threatening condition, venous reflux disease is a condition that should be evaluated and addressed by a professional as soon as possible. Blood pooling and enlarged veins aren’t just aesthetic concerns. If left untreated, these dysfunctional veins can lead to chronic venous insufficiency, causing more pain, impair quality of life, and lead to ulceration and chronic infection.

If you are experiencing the symptoms of venous reflux or varicose veins, don’t wait until the condition worsens. Today, several procedures can safely and successfully address these problems and help you live a fuller life.

Feel free to reach out to our experienced vascular specialists today to schedule an appointment with us. We are eager to answer any of your questions and concerns and help you restore your vascular health.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are The Risks of Endovenous Ablation? 

As mentioned above, endovenous ablation is considered safe, especially when licensed experts like our team perform it. Still, some side effects like pain, tingling, numbness, or bruising may occur but will subside in a few weeks. In rare cases, the treated area may become infected, and blood clots may form.

Are There Alternative Treatments for Vein Ablation? 

In instances where the veins are too narrow for the EVLA catheter, sclerotherapy emerges as a preferred alternative. This procedure entails injecting specialized chemicals directly into the vein, destroying its internal lining and resulting in its subsequent disappearance.

Phlebectomy may also be an alternative. This is also a minimally invasive option where a tiny thread of veins is removed via a small incision. Still, this is only suitable if the problematic veins are near the leg surface because the holes are to avoid using stitches.

Does Insurance Cover Treatment for Venous Diseases like Vein Ablation and Varicose Veins Surgery?

In most cases, the majority of insurance companies will process the claims if the treatments are deemed as medical necessities. Still, insurers will probably not cover the treatments if your provider considers the interventions cosmetic. As such, it’s essential to have a physician’s referral along with a medical diagnosis.


If you were told you need an amputation, get a second opinion! We are board certified consultants in endovascular interventions committed to improving the quality of your life and the lives of those you love!

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