Glossary of Terms

Artery

Vessels carrying oxygen-rich blood from the heart. (Veins carry oxygen-depleted blood to the heart.)

Capillary

Extremely small blood vessel.

Catheter

In the context of the Closure procedure, a slender, 60-100 centimeters long device designed to move within the vein and shut — or close — it by delivering radiofrequency energy through a group of specially designed electrodes.

Closure

The Closure® procedure is an outpatient (day surgery) treatment performed in hospitals, surgical centers and doctor’s offices. Anesthesia is typically used to numb the treatment area. The Closure Catheter is inserted into the vein through a small opening, often using only a single needle stick. The catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut as the doctor pulls the catheter from the vein. Like other venous procedures, the Closure procedure involves risks and potential complications. Patients should consult their doctors to determine whether or not they are candidates for this procedure, and if their conditions present any special risks.

Clot

Coagulated blood. (i.e., a thick, viscous lump of blood.)

Collagen

The major protein in connective tissue. It shrinks or thickens when heated.

Color Duplex

Ultrasound system that uses color to indicate the direction of blood flow. This is particularly helpful in visualizing and evaluating both the deep and superficial venous systems.

Compression Therapy

A conservative therapy for venous insufficiency. Typically involves compression stockings with varying degrees of pressure to improve blood flow and reduce symptoms caused by venous insufficiency. This therapy may temporarily relieve symptoms, however, does not address the underlying cause of the disease.

Deep Veins

Non-surface veins in the leg which enjoy good structural support from the adjacent bones and muscles. They return blood directly to the heart.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)

A formation or presence of a thrombus, or clot, within a deep vein.

Dilation

Enlargement of a a vein due to increased internal pressure.

Doppler

Ultrasound device that a technician may use to sense the presence or absence of flow in blood vessels.

Edema

Swelling or inflammation caused by fluid buildup. Frequently occurs in the legs and ankles of people with venous insufficiency.

Efficacy

Effectiveness.

Electrode

In this context, the Closure Catheter has multiple electrodes which emit radiofrequency energy to close – or occlude – the vein to be treated.

Endovenous

Inside a vein.

Hematoma

A localized mass of clotted blood confined within an organ, tissue or space.

Incompetent Valves

see Valves.

Incompetent Vessel

Blood vessel that doesn’t function properly. In most cases, the valves do not close completely, causing reverse blood flow, which contributes to edema and leg pain.

Ligation

Surgical closure of a vessel with sutures or staples.

Lumen

Interior of a blood vessel.

Minimally invasive

Insuring that a treatment involves as little damage to human skin and organs as possible.

Microphlebectomy

See Phlebectomy.

Occlusion

The closing of a vessel.

Paresthesia

Numbness or tingling often associated with damage to sensory nerves.

Perforator Veins

Veins which serve as connections between the superficial veins and deep veins.

Phlebectomy

Developed in the 1950s, a phlebectomy involves removing diseased veins through a series of very small punctures or incisions with a variety of specialized hooks. It is typically used on varicose veins which are at, or near, the skin’s surface, and is a complimentary treatment to the Closure procedure.

Phlebologist

Physician who specializes in treatment of vein disorders.

Prolapse

Condition in which vein valves are unable to close properly, allowing blood to flow in the wrong direction.

Radiofrequency Energy

Energy that generates heat by stimulating naturally-occurring molecules in and around tissues. “RF” energy can be used to shrink, cut and/or cauterize tissue, depending on the temperature setting and frequency.

RF Energy

Abbreviation for radiofrequency energy.

Reflux

Backward flow. Reflux contributes to the development of varicose veins when incompetent leg vein valves let blood flow towards the feet instead of the heart.

Sapheno-Femoral Junction

Intersection near the groin where the saphenous vein and femoral vein join.

Saphenous Vein

The long saphenous vein is a large vein running from the ankle to the groin; the short saphenous vein runs up the back of the leg from the ankle to the knee. Problems with valves in these veins often contribute to the development of varicose veins.

Sclerotherapy

Often used for treatment of small diameter (1-2 mm) surface veins, such as spider veins. The physician injects a liquid, such as highly concentrated saline solution, that destroys the vein lining so it collapses.

Spider Veins

Small blood vessels near the skin’s surface which appear as tiny, twisted, purple lines.

Stripping

Surgical removal of an incompetent vessel, historically considered the standard of care for removing incompetent saphenous veins. Stripping of a saphenous vein typically involves making an incision in the groin region and surgically tying off the top of the vein. An instrument resembling a thin rod with a bulbous end is then inserted into the saphenous vein and passed through to the knee. Another incision is made at the upper calf. The stripping device is then tied to the vein and pulled out through the second incision.

Superficial veins

Veins which are just beneath the skin. Because they enjoy less support from adjacent muscles and bones, they can develop areas of weakness in their walls and are more likely to become varicose than deep veins.

Thermocouple

A temperature measurement component on the Closure catheter that lets the physician know the precise temperature of tissue being heated.

Thrombosis

Formation or presence of a thrombus, or clot, within a blood vessel.

Thrombus

Blood clot that may block a blood vessel or be attached to the vessel without obstructing the lumen (i.e., interior of the blood vessel.)

Ulceration

Formation of an ulcer on the skin.

Ulcer (Venous)

Lesion on skin caused by tissue deterioration, usually with inflammation and necrosis (dead tissue).

Valves

Flaps of tissue in the leg veins which open and close to prevent blood from flowing backwards.

Valvuloplasty

Surgical placement of a series of sutures along the base of the valve. This can tighten valve components called “leaflets”, reduce the vein diameter and prevent prolapse. General anesthesia is required, plus 3-6 days post-operative hospitalization and long-term therapy with anticoagulant drugs. Risks include deep vein thrombosis infection and bruising. Success rates of 63%-80% have been reported for patients suffering from primary, deep venous insufficiency1.

Varicose Veins

Veins with incompetent valves which are elongated, dilated, tortuous, pouched and thickened. An estimated 10%-20% of the general population has varicose veins. It is more frequent among women and all adults after age 502.

Vein

See venous vessels.

Venous Blood

Blood which is returning to the heart to pick up oxygen.

Venous insufficiency

Poor or impaired flow of venous blood from the legs and feet to the heart, often characterized by symptoms such as varicose veins, swelling, aching, skin changes and/or venous ulcers. Caused by over-dilation of venous vessels or damaged valves, resulting in pooling of blood. Deep vein thrombosis can also create this condition. Over time, this damages other valves in the veins and speeds progression of venous reflux.

Venous Reflux

See Reflux.

Venous Vessels

Veins that carry oxygen-depleted blood to the heart. (Arterial vessels carry oxygen-rich blood from the heart.)


  1. R. Kistner, Valve Repair and Segment Transportation in Primary Valvular Insufficiency; Venous Disorders, J. Bergan, W.B. Saunders 1991

Comments are closed