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Date: 1/12/2012 12:00:00 AM

Dr. Timothy Kavic, a general surgeon at Clearfield Hospital, is now performing a high-tech procedure that treats the underlying cause of painful, swollen varicose veins.

Dr. Kavic is the first physician in this area to use the VNUS ClosureFAST catheter, an endovenous radiofrequency (RF) ablation device designed to heat, shrink and close diseased saphenous veins (large leg veins) in approximately three minutes of virtually painless treatment with minimal after affects for the patient. The outpatient procedure is designed to treat the serious medical condition known as venous reflux disease, and is not considered cosmetic surgery.

“My patients are very happy with the new varicose vein procedure,” said Dr. Kavic. “They are amazed at how little discomfort they feel, and they are pleased to be able to walk out after the procedure and resume normal activities the next day. And I have found the treatment outcomes to be excellent – the procedure is successful in closing the vein, and the patients’ quality of life improves immediately.”

Under light sedation (“twilight sleep”), the catheter is inserted into the diseased saphenous vein through a small puncture, and energy is transmitted through the device to heat and seal the vein walls from within the vein. The body subsequently re-routes blood flow through healthier leg veins, restoring normal circulation, and the varicosity symptoms quickly dissipate.

Clinical studies have found the procedure more than 97 percent effective at the one-year follow-up visit and virtually painless for most patients. As a medical necessity, the procedure is covered by Medicare and most private health insurance plans.

“This is a significant technological leap beyond vein stripping, the traumatic general surgery we previously used to remove varicose veins,” said Dr. Kavic. “It is gratifying to provide a patient with a minimally invasive option to a medical issue they may have struggled with for decades.”

More than 25 million Americans suffer from severe varicose veins, which can cause pain, swelling, fatigue and disfigurement. Half of all seniors, including two-thirds of women over 60, will experience the condition at some point. Heredity, pregnancy, obesity and careers requiring extended standing, like nursing and teaching, are the primary risk factors. Complications may include leg ulcers and dangerous blood clots.

For more information, please call Dr. Kavic’s office at 814-765-8590.

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