Biological ablation is defined as the removal of a biological structure or functionality. Venous ablation, in particular, is a procedure used by physicians to shut down poorly performing veins that leak blood and fluids into the soft tissues of the legs. Such leaking is the primary cause of chronic swelling, redness, heaviness, and sores that won’t heal. Thus, ablation of just a few identified, culprit veins will reverse all of these symptoms and heal the long-standing sore.
The methods that are available today for providing ablation of these veins are all minimally invasive and are performed in the physician’s office; however, patients should be aware that the level of pain associated with the procedure varies. For example, the most painful ablation techniques use laser and radiofrequency, which “burns” the vein on the interior of the leg. In order to complete this specific technique, the introduction of multiple, separate injections of lidocaine filled fluid around the vein is required. As a result, the vein is ablated and the surrounding soft tissues are prevented from burning. OUCH! What’s worse, radiofrequency and laser procedures carry the risk of causing irreversible damage, and even accidental burning, to important sensory nerves; yet, with Clarivein, this is not a risk. In fact, we have seen that the benefits of the radiofrequency and laser procedures are present with Clarivein, but the risky outcomes are not. Therefore, a lack of medical awareness is the only reason one would choose radiofrequency or laser procedures over the much less painful and risky Clarivein.
At Encompass Healthcare we use Clarivein, a mechanical venous ablation procedure.
This procedure typically requires no more than a single needle inserted into the targeted leg vein under ultrasound guidance, much like a typical lab draw at your doctors’ office. Guided by ultrasound, a catheter is threaded along the length of the interior vein and withdrawn while simultaneously creating a painless, inner vein injury in order to cause vein contraction, and thus ablation.
In general, venous ablation is a procedure that is considered only after other conservative measures have failed. Bruce Ruben, M.D., our Medical Director will often try compression bandaging like unna boots, pneumatic compression pumps, or multi-layer compression wrapping first. These methods are more akin to wrapping a leaking pipe with duct tape; however, it may just be enough to heal a non-healing wound without resorting to the vein ablation procedure. At Encompass Healthcare, each patient is always given the full range of appropriate options.
So, you’re probably wondering what sorts of results we’ve seen with this venous ablation procedure, right? Great news! Patient outcomes after receiving a mechanical venous ablation with Dr. Ruben are very impressive. When treated for a non-healing, venous stasis leg wound, Dr. Ruben’s patients healed completely within 4 weeks!
If a patient or loved one you know might be a candidate for venous ablation, give us a call. We can set up a consult in our comfortable and safe outpatient office and determine the best course of action for the patient’s healing process!
Topics covered by Dr. Bruce Ruben in this blog post:
•What is venous ablation
•How does mechanical venous ablation differ
•Why we use mechanical rather than other techniques
•What results have we seen from this procedure
•Call to action