DMH News

New Closure® procedure eliminates need for vein stripping


About 15 years ago, Velettla Turpin, 43, developed a varicose vein in her right leg. But, it didn’t really bother her until about six months ago.

"The pain was constant, throbbing—even in bed," she says. "I could feel a pulling in the back of my leg."

When Velettla’s pain became unbearable, she consulted with Surgeon Peter Birk, MD. He recommended she see DMH Interventional Radiology.

Now, thanks to a new Interventional Radiology procedure, central Illinois varicose vein sufferers can get quick practically pain-free relief. Decatur Memorial Hospital is the first and only downstate hospital to offer Closure®, an outpatient alternative to vein stripping.

Like Velettla, 25 million people suffer everyday with uncomfortable leg heaviness, fatigue, pain, swelling and even varicose veins. The condition, known clinically as superficial venous reflux, develops when the valves in your leg veins become damaged or diseased.

The damaged valves keep the veins from moving blood out of your legs. This causes the blood to back up and pool in your legs. This often leads to pain, swelling, and sometimes, ulcer formation.

Since these valves can’t be repaired, the blood needs to be re-routed through healthy veins. And until recently, that meant stripping the problem veins out. Vein stripping often requires a general anesthetic, several days in the hospital and weeks of painful recovery.

Closure only requires a single needle stick, a local anesthetic and a couple of hours at the hospital.

During the procedure, the Interventional Radiologist inserts a thin catheter to deliver radiofrequency energy to seal the problem vein shut.

Once closed, other healthy veins take over and your symptoms will noticeably improve.

"The procedure was not painful," Velettla says. "I took two days off work but I think I could have come back the next day."

And since the procedure, Velettla says her pain is gone and she has not had to limit her activities at all.

"I have felt fine—the pain is gone," she says. "It used to bother me going up and down stairs but now I don’t have any pain at all."

Following the Closure procedure, most patients can return immediately to their normal routine. In a few months, the closed-off veins dissolve and become virtually unnoticeable.

Though men do experience superficial venous reflux, the condition mostly affects women. Hereditary plays a causal role, and the condition generally occurs after significant hormonal changes such as pregnancy or other stressful situations that weaken or damage valves.

Closure was approved by the FDA in 1999. Since then, more than 14,000 procedures have been performed worldwide.

To find out whether Closure is right for you, schedule a consultation today with DMH Interventional Radiologists at 217-876-6730.

Interventional Radiology

Interventional Radiology has existed since the mid 1950s as a specialized medical field.

Interventional Radiology really came to the forefront during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Using cutting edge technology, Interventional Radiology combines surgical skills with the technological advancements that have occurred in the field of radiology.

Interventional Radiologists use imaging guidance to guide tiny instruments inside the body to treat conditions that previously required surgery. Generally, these procedures are done with light sedation and they involve incisions no larger than a keyhole. Interventional Radiologists can use their techniques to repair blocked blood vessels, close off troublesome blood vessels and even provide tumor treatment.

The Interventional Radiologists at Decatur Memorial Hospital are the only downstate physicians (other than Peoria) who practice exclusively in Interventional Radiology, and offer a complete clinical Interventional Radiology service.