Venous ablation is a surgical procedure in which the focused application of a small amount of heat closes up a damaged or abnormally functioning vein, according to the Dotter Interventional Institute. The procedure treats venous reflux.
During the venous ablation procedure, the surgeon inserts a laser fiber into a damaged vein, explains the Dotter Interventional Institute. Once the surgeon reaches the appropriate starting point in the vein, he activates the laser fiber and pulls it back out of the vein. As the fiber moves through the vein, a small amount of energy heats the vein in the fiber tip's immediate area, causing the vein to close. Surgeons only close off veins that are responsible for venous reflux. Once a surgeon closes off a patient's abnormal veins, the problem veins no longer allow reflux, and normal blood flow to the remaining blood vessels resumes.
Venous reflux is a condition in which damaged valves in a patient's legs allow blood to move through them in both directions instead of moving normally back to the heart, states the Dotter Interventional Institute. This allows blood to pool in the legs. The condition can cause damage to the problem vein as well as some of the blood vessels surrounding it. Patients with this condition may experience varicose veins, pain or ulceration of the skin.