Category: Sclerotherapy

Should I worry about my thread veins?

Are you worried about your thread veins? Here’s what you need to know. Also known as spider veins or  telangiectasia, these are common vein conditions. The trouble begins when the small blood vessels that lie beneath your skin become dilated and visible.

Now, thread veins come in several different colors. The small ones are red, but if you avoid treatment, they will change in appearance and severity. As time goes on, the veins progress in color from purple to green. This means that they are getting larger ( or more dilated.)

Thread veins are more common in older adults, but anyone can get them. And while some people with this condition will also have varicose veins, not everyone will. Let’s explore more about this common vein condition.

Are Thread Veins a Sign of a Medical Condition? Doctor looking at information with patient

89% of women with small, visible veins developed this problem because varicose veins were dilating their vessels.  And 40% of those women also have such a severe varicose vein problem that they will likely develop other medical problems in the future.

Because these two vein concerns go hand-in-hand so often, anyone who has the former should be screened for the latter. In our Houston vein specialist office, we can screen you for varicose veins with a simple diagnostic ultrasound.

This type of screening will help determine whether your thread veins are a stand-alone problem or part of a larger issue.

Why Do Small Veins Become Visible?

Most often, genetics predisposes you to develop thread veins. If your mom and grandma had them, chances are, you will too.

Other times, thread veins develop at the sight of a bruise or injury. This is a less common cause.

Can you Prevent this Problem?

As mentioned, thread veins are often a genetic inheritance. But, since they are also tied to varicose veins, there are some measures you can take to help reduce the onset of these veins:

  1. Maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly: Inactivity and obesity have been linked to problems with varicose veins.
  1. Avoided extended periods of sitting: When you sit for a long time, you don’t use the muscles in your legs that are in charge of pumping blood back up to your heart. This can allow blood to fall back down your leg veins and pool, leading to swelling of the legs and bulging varicose veins.

Symptoms of Dilated Vessels

When your veins become visible through your skin, cosmetic symptoms aren’t your only worry. Many patients with vein problems end up with malfunctioning valves in their veins. That means your blood has a harder time flowing against gravity and up to your heart. As a result, blood can pool in your lower legs. And that pooling blood puts more pressure on your veins.

This pressure has two effects. First, it can make existing thread or spider veins more noticeable. But it also pushes other fluid out of your veins. And, when that fluid collects in your legs, they can swell (edema.) For that reason, if your legs or feet regularly appear swollen, it’s worth seeing your local vein specialist to see if your vein conditions need treatment.

Treating Vein Conditions in Houston and Dallas

When it comes to getting rid of visible veins, over-the-counter creams don’t work. Sure, you can cover them up with makeup, but that’s clearly a temporary solution. If you really want to get rid of thread veins, you need to first clear up any underlying medical problems. Then, if you are still dealing with thread veins, you can treat them with microsclerotherapy, which involves injecting a highly diluted sclerosant solution into your veins with a teeny-tiny needle. This injection will permanently destroy your dilated blood vessels so they stop showing up beneath the skin.

If thread veins have been bothering you and you want to rule out a more serious medical issue, schedule an appointment with our interventional radiologists in Houston and Dallas. We can screen you for other medical conditions and get you started on the treatment plan that’s best for your unique situation.


Sources:  Harvard Health, goodhousekeeping.com

How to Get Rid of Varicose Veins: The Best Options

When you have bulging, painful varicose veins, you want them gone, but you need to know how to get rid of varicose veins. Clearly, there are many different ways to address this visible symptom of vein disease. But, if you are wondering what treatment will deliver the fastest relief with few complications, we’re here to help. And here’s the good news! Researchers in the UK also wondered what’s the best varicose vein treatment? That’s why they conducted a study, comparing the results of surgical and non-surgical varicose vein treatments. And we’re guessing you’ll be pleased by what they discovered!

Surgery and Varicose Veins: A Genetic Link best way to get rid of varicose veins: link to genetics

What’s the best way to get rid of varicose veins? A new study in Nature Communications suggests that some people’s genetics increase their risk for varicose vein surgery. This was the largest study to ever explore varicose veins, following over 400,000 individuals with varicose veins, plus another 400,000 of their relatives using the site 23andMe.

Now, it’s important to understand the genetic risks of developing these bulging veins. But here’s what’s even more exciting for your Houston vein specialists. In that same study, researchers noted that their findings pave the way for better treatments in the future. And, at least in our office, the future is now, thanks to our less invasive treatment options. Let’s take a closer look!

Is Varicose Vein Surgery Better Than Other Treatments?

The results were from a CLASS (Comparison of Laser, Surgery and Foam Sclerotherapy) study. Of all the treatments they explored, two non-surgical treatments are ones we provide in our Houston and Dallas area vein clinics. These include Foam Sclerotherapy and Laser Ablation. Before we get to the results of this study, let’s take a closer look at one of the options: Sclerotherapy!

What is Sclerotherapy?

The name of this varicose vein treatment comes from the words sclero,” (which means hard) and “therapeia,” (healing). With this treatment, we inject hardening agents to your varicose veins. This causes you to develop scar tissue in those veins. Then, it blocks blood flow, so your varicose veins shrink and eventually disappear.

Because the treatment involves an easy injection, it’s considered a minimally invasive procedure. But it’s not the best treatment for all varicose veins, since it works best for small vessels that are close to the surface of your skin. (In some cases, sclerotherapy may help heal your venous leg ulcers, too.)

Not everyone can handle this treatment option. You shouldn’t choose sclerotherapy if you’re pregnant or living with kidney disease, leukemia or HIV. Also, if you’ve had a blood clot or leg operation, this may not be your best treatment option.

So, now you understand what’s involved in this treatment option, let’s get back to answering our original question: which treatment option works best?

What’s the Best Varicose Vein Treatment? Science Weighs In! endovascular therapy boosts ischemia treatment

As we mentioned, the CLASS study compares the results of treating your veins with surgery or less invasive options like the ones we offer in our Houston and Dallas area vein centers.

What are those options? The first is sclerotherapy, a treatment during which we inject your abnormal vein with a substance that gradually causes its collapse. This is a great option for surface-level spider veins, or for bulging veins in your hands that still function normally, but aren’t cosmetically appealing. There’s also ablation, a treatment that uses bursts of laser light to collapse your vein. Both are minimally invasive procedures.

For this study, researchers followed 800 varicose vein patients treated between 2008 and 2012, either with surgery or with less invasive options. And the study didn’t just look at the immediate impact. Instead, researchers compared the treatment’s long-term results with surgery. At the end of five years, patients answered questions about their quality of life, the financial cost of their choice, and their willingness to recommend the treatment to others.

Almost all of the participants were happy with their results. Nearly all participants reported feeling better after treatment. And most participants would undergo and recommend the same treatment again.

Researchers also discovered that ablation and surgery delivered slightly better results than sclerotherapy. They found ablation was the most cost-effective option. And, though it wasn’t mentioned in the study, here’s something vein specialists know: sclerotherapy and ablation come with less down time and fewer complications than surgery.

With these findings, the study—and our blog post—gets a happy ending. Even though many people get varicose vein surgery, you don’t have to. And that’s because non-surgical treatments deliver great results: at a lower cost and, typically, without hospital stays!

What About Over the Counter Vein Treatments?

Sold on low-cost vein care, but still worried about even a minimally invasive procedure? You may be tempted to try a varicose vein cream or gel, like the kind you can buy in a drug store or online. Now, some may reduce the surface appearance of twisted, swollen veins. But remember: varicose veins form because of malfunctioning valves deep beneath the surface of your skin. So, since topical creams can’t address the medical cause of your vein disease, they aren’t a money-saving treatment option. In fact, they’re no better for you than a five dollar drugstore moisturizer. You’d be better off investing in a lasting, effective treatment option. And the sooner, the better…as you’ll see in a second!

When Should You Treat Varicose Veins?

Now you know what’s the best varicose vein treatment, you’ve got to know: when should you get them treated. And the answer is: now: Why? Here are 5 reasons to treat varicose veins immediately:

1. To treat the root cause of vein disease

Before starting any vein treatment, Dr. Fox and Dr. Hardee will always perform a comprehensive ultrasound evaluation. This allows them to diagnose underlying chronic venous insufficiency, which is the improper functioning of valves in the vein. It also means that all of the diseased veins can be treated. The perforator (connector) diseased veins are just as important to treat as the varicose veins near the surface of the skin.

2. To improve symptoms that are impacting your daily life

Varicose veins can cause persistent and annoying symptoms that can impact your quality of life and signal that vein treatment is necessary. Symptoms of varicose veins can include tiredness, heaviness, achiness, pain, cramps, burning, stinging, itchiness, or a feeling of restlessness in your legs. More serious symptoms, including spontaneous bleeding from veins or recurrent skin infections, should be treated immediately. After varicose vein treatment, underlying symptoms will improve quickly over time.

3. To get rid of the look of varicose veins

Swollen, bulging, and rope-like veins are the most visible sign of venous insufficiency that can be resolved with our treatments. Dr. Fox or Dr. Hardee will remove the bulging veins through tiny incisions or inject medication to close the varicose vein so that it shrinks over time and is no longer noticeable.

4. To find out how to prevent future varicose veins

The primary cause of varicose veins are things outside of your control such as family history, age, gender, and family history. However, our doctors can provide advice to prevent vein disease from getting worse. Also, you can help prevent new varicose veins from forming by exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight. Now, you may also avoid clothes and shoes that reduce circulation, choose to quit smoking and wear compression stockings to further reduce your risk.

Our specialists at Texas Endovascular will provide recommendations for making lifestyle changes that can help minimize the occurrence of varicose veins.

5. To know if this could be a sign of other health conditions

Studies have shown that having varicose veins can be a sign of increased risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a serious blood clot that is usually in the leg, as well as pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a blood clot that travels to the lungs. Having varicose veins is also linked to peripheral artery disease (PAD), a circulatory issue that results in reduced blood flow to the limbs.

Schedule an evaluation today!Schedule an evaluation today!Schedule an evaluation today!

Sources: The New England Journal of Medicine

What Causes Varicose Veins: Myths and Facts

Are you wondering what causes varicose veins? Before we get to the answer, please remember. If you have dark, visible veins, it’s very important to seek treatment and avoid spider vein effects. Have you already noticed small spider veins on your legs or face? They are often in a spider web pattern and can be blue, red, or purple. Knowing the causes may help you make lifestyle changes or proceed with the best treatment option.

Continue reading “What Causes Varicose Veins: Myths and Facts”

What Happens to Veins after Sclerotherapy?

When you have varicose veins, early treatment can prevent problems from progressing. One of the most popular treatments we offer at our Houston area vein clinics is sclerotherapy. But what is sclerotherapy? And what happens to veins after sclerotherapy? Will the vein problems return or can you count on lasting results? Keep reading for all the answers you need to know!

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that most often appear in the calves and thighs. They develop when blood pools in and overfills your healthy veins because of poor circulation. As such, your varicose veins may return after sclerotherapy if you don’t take measures to boost circulation and improve your overall vein health.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Our Texas vein specialists perform two types of sclerotherapy in our Houston, Katy, Sugar Land, Clear Lake, Woodlands and Dallas offices. First is cosmetic sclerotherapy, a procedure that’s best for varicose veins that aren’t causing troubling symptoms, or for surface-level spider veins.

During cosmetic sclerotherapy, one of our doctors will inject a solution into your affected vein. That triggers two responses in your body. First, this sends blood flowing through healthy veins. Best of all, we can perform the procedure without sedation or anesthesia.

What Happens to Veins After Sclerotherapy That’s Cosmetic? gloved hands preparing injection for sclerotherapy

If you have multiple or larger spider veins, our team may give you several injections. After each one, we’ll apply compression, gently massaging your leg to spread the injected solution and to keep blood from entering your damaged vein. Right after your procedure, you’ll be able to get up and walk. But you will have to wear compression socks for at least a week, avoiding strenuous activities and sun exposure for two weeks. You should notice results within three weeks of the procedure, but sclerotherapy results can take up to six months, especially for larger varicose veins may take up to six months.

What is Foam Sclerotherapy?

Foam or ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy is the other form of this procedure we offer at our clinics. It’s a follow-up procedure for varicose veins that remain (without bulging) after you already treated them with radiofrequency ablation. What happens to veins after foam sclerotherapy? Not only will the veins appearance improve, you should also experience relief from varicose vein symptoms such as itchy, achy or heavy legs.

During this procedure, we locate varicose veins using ultrasound. Then, we mix medication with
Foam sclerotherapy uses ultrasound to locate and access a varicose vein under the skin with a tiny needle carbon dioxide gas. This combo creates a foam we can inject directly into abnormal veins, permanently closing them to blood flow.  After foam sclerotherapy, you’ll need to wear your compression socks for a week, and walk for at least 30 minutes each day. As with cosmetic sclerotherapy, you’ll have to stay out of the sun for two weeks following the procedure. Small varicose veins show a noticeable improvement within three to six weeks. But larger ones can take up to six months to show improvement.

What Happens to Varicose Veins after Sclerotherapy or Other Vein Treatments?

Sometimes, varicose veins return after treatment. In some cases, that’s because you chose the wrong treatment for your specific condition. (That’s something we help you avoid with a thorough exam and long discussions about your treatment options.) But other times, your body forms new blood vessels in the areas we already treated. (We call this neo-vascularization.) It’s also possible that your body will form varicose veins in new locations, even after previous vein treatments. This is more likely if you have risk factors for vein disease, including family history, pregnancy or obesity.

Reducing the Risk of Varicose Vein Recurrence

While you can’t always prevent varicose veins from forming, you can take lifestyle measures to reduce your risk. First of all, stick with all follow-up care instructions, and all follow up visits with our team, after receiving vein treatment.

Next, take a close look at your diet and exercise routines. Certain foods can boost your vein health. And walking regularly, or getting other forms of low-impact exercise, can also help prevent varicose veins from forming or coming back after sclerotherapy. (Workouts that strengthen your calf muscles are especially helpful, since this helps your body pump blood up and out of your legs, preventing pooling.)

Finally, it’s important to quit smoking if you have this habit. And to reach and maintain a healthy weight to take pressure off your legs and leg veins. Then, if you’re still concerned about what happens to veins after sclerotherapy, schedule an appointmentschedule an appointmentschedule an appointment at one of our Houston or Dallas area vein clinics to review post-sclerotherapy vein care.


This is the Science on Why You Must Treat Vein Reflux

Are you worried about vein reflux? Well, if so, the science just may be on your side. But before we can explain why, here’s a quick definition of venous refux.

What is Venous Reflux?

Vein reflux is a symptom of vein disease. You see, when the veins in your leg are healthy, the valves in them allow blood to flow up to your heart, fighting gravity. But when you have vein disease, those valves can’t work properly, and that allows blood to flow back down your legs instead, which is what we call venous reflux. Depending on how long it’s left untreated, vein reflux can leave you with varicose veins, as well as painful, swollen or achy legs. You may experience cramping, itchiness and a heavy feeling or tired legs. The skin on your legs can change or lose colors, or you can even develop venous ulcers. Now, all of these symptoms won’t develop at once. In fact, if you act quickly, you can prevent or reverse many side effects of reflux. Here’s the story:3

When your circulatory system works properly, your veins bring blood back up to your heart from your lower extremities. Along the way, little flaps (called valves) help the blood flow against gravity. (They do so by closing up as the blood travels past them.) But sometimes, those valves stop doing their jobs well. And that’s when venous reflux can set in. Because some of the blood that’s supposed to travel up and away from your legs gets stuck, pooling in your veins while they darken, stretch and bulge. woman with spider veins on thigh

At that stage of reflux, you may start to notice visible symptoms, like varicose veins. For many people, varicose veins are just a cosmetic concern. But in reality, these unsightly veins can cause serious medical problems. And the study we’ll review shows how important it is to treat even minor cases of venous reflux.

Vein Reflux Linked to Ulcers

The purpose of the study was to explore the effectiveness of different treatment methods for ulcers (hard to heal wounds that often develop on the legs of people with insufficient blood flow in their legs.)

Study author Aleksandra Jaworucka-Kaczorowska discovered that 85% of the ulcer patients she met with also had superficial venous reflux. Furthermore, she found that by treating their reflux with sclerotherapy, a treatment we offer in our Houston and Dallas area vein clinics, patients’ venous reflux vastly improved and their ulcers healed at a faster rate!

Sclerotherapy is a great treatment option for veins that don’t show signs of serious vein disease.

spider vein treatment in houston tx

During the  procedure, we will inject a solution into your affected vein, making it shrink and close so that blood flow will be redirected through your other, healthier veins. After this process, your vein will eventually shrink and disappear from view on the surface of your skin.

Before performing sclerotherapy, your vein doctor will conduct a thorough examination and review your history to make sure that your vein issue isn’t a sign of a more serious underlying health issue. But if you are a good candidate for sclerotherapy, it is a fast, minimally invasive treatment that requires no sedation or anesthesia. Most patients can return to work or other activities quickly. It may require more than one session to completely treat your spider veins. But since you’ll enjoy a cosmetic benefit and contribute to the fight against leg ulcers, it’s a treatment option that is certainly worth considering!

Are you ready to deal with minor or major vein problems? We’re here to help you achieve your cosmetic and improved health goals. Simply schedule a consultationschedule a consultationschedule a consultation with our experts. We can perform diagnostic tests and make suggestions for your best treatment options.

Is Medical Vein Glue a Good Varicose Vein Treatment?

Looking for varicose vein treatment? When we see patients for varicose vein treatment in our Houston and Dallas area vein centers, they’re often a symptom of venous insufficiency. That’s a condition that can cause more serious health issues. These include skin infections, venous ulcers, and so much more.

In other words, varicose veins can be dangerous and unattractive. So treating these bulging, prominent veins is more than just a cosmetic decision: it’s imperative to your overall health.

Once you’ve decided to treat varicose veins, the question remains: what method will serve you best?

We’re constantly watching the news for treatment developments. Recently, the NHS in the UK approved one option involving medical glue. Today, we wanted to discuss the effectiveness of this treatment.


Medical Glue and Varicose Veins Reasons for a Vein Evaluation

As we mentioned before, varicose veins are a symptom of a blood flow problem. When your valves fail, that allows blood to flow backward instead of going against gravity and returning to your heart.

As the blood sticks around your lower extremities, those veins in your legs get stretched, bulging, and visible through your skin.

VenaSeal for Varicose Veins

That’s where a medical glue product called VenaSeal is introduced. Providers insert the glue into your vein using a small catheter to stop your blood from flowing backward into your legs. They often use a local anesthetic alongside the glue to prevent any pain.

VenaSeal is a medical-grade super glue, technically known as Cyanoacrylate, and is intended to shut the main saphenous vein. The vein collapses and is then resorbed into the body after it has been sealed closed.

The glue basically stops up the faulty vein so it can’t continue to cause problems. Afterward, many patients can avoid wearing compression stockings.

Is vein glue like VenaSeal right for my varicose veins?

VenaSeal can be effective. In fact, this study suggests efficacy rates as high as 98%. But some factors may impact its usefulness. First, you have to insert the glue into just the right spot, or backflow may continue. Additionally, it’s not yet cleared for use in pregnant women, and long-term safety studies are still in the works. Neither is vein glue suitable for all types of veins, such as very squiggly or serpiginous veins.

Vein glues like VenaSeal also leave behind a foreign substance in your body which will remain for roughly two years following your treatment, creating the possibility of infection. Furthermore, there is also a chance of having an allergic reaction to the cyanoacrylate adhesive.

While effective, VenaSeal can cause the affected veins to become inflamed, necessitating the use of anti-inflammatory medication. It is also rather expensive and not generally covered by Medicare or medical insurance as opposed to standard ablation treatment such as radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser ablation.

Sclerotherapy and Ablation for Varicose Vein Treatment

Looking for an alternative to VenaSeal? Sclerotherapy is a great option using ultrasound to access your varicose vein, under the skin, with a tiny needle. Next, we mix the medication with carbon dioxide gas to create a foam that we inject directly into the abnormal vein, closing it permanently. We recommend sclerotherapy for veins that aren’t yet bulging.

Now, for bulging varicose veins, radiofrequency vein ablation may be a better option.RFA is also a minimally invasive procedure involving the insertion of a catheter into your abnormal vein. We then supply it with heat energy, closing the vein permanently. Want the best news? We can perform RFA with just a local anesthetic.

It is a nearly painless procedure that leaves virtually no scar. The procedure takes less than an hour, and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterward.

Before proceeding with radiofrequency ablation, or any other varicose vein treatment, your Houston vein specialists will perform a thorough medical examination, including a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation, to determine whether the procedure is appropriate for you.

To find out the best treatment option for your medical reality, schedule your consult todayschedule your consult todayschedule your consult today!


Sources: Expert Review of Medical Devices, NHS.UK


How to Fight Varicose Veins in Cold Weather

Look out, Houston: it’s the one time of year when we may be facing cold weather. (Or, more likely, when you’ll be traveling away from the Gulf to colder climates where you can ski!) While cold weather is not something we need to worry about all that often in our area of Texas, it can be a real problem for individuals with varicose veins. Or for those people, like pregnant women, with a higher risk of developing them. Here’s why:

Cold Weather Affects Your Circulation

You know that song, “the weather outside is frightful?” Nothing inspires people to stay indoors, and stay sitting, like Cold Outsidea dip in temperature. It’s way too tempting to skip a trip to the gym when you could read a good book in your cozy bed, instead.

Unfortunately, exercise is very important for individuals with vein conditions like varicose veins. Staying sedentary worsens existing vein problems because your blood pools more and gets moved around your body even less than normal.

But that’s not the only reason cold weather is bad for your veins. Have you ever noticed that, when you’re cold, your toes and fingers start to change color? Maybe they look a little blue? That’s because the cold weather has affected your circulation, and less blood is reaching your extremities. Of course, this is uncomfortable for anyone stuck in the cold, but for people with vein problems, it can really exacerbate your condition.

How Cold Weather Can Help Varicose Veins

Thankfully, cold weather isn’t all bad for your veins. In fact, in some ways, cooler temperatures can be beneficial to your vein health! Unlike hot weather, that can leave your body sore and swollen, cold weather can actually cause your veins to constrict. For people with varicose veins, a condition that’s cause by pooling blood that contributes to swollen, bulging veins, this is a major positive. So take heart: your varicose veins may actually appear smaller in the cold. You may also experience fewer symptoms, like cramping and swelling, when it’s cold outside.

Of course, any weather-related symptom relief will disappear when temperatures come back up. Sadly, problems that are exacerbated by cold weather may not improve, even when it’s warm again.  In order to truly protect yourself from weather-related vein symptoms, your only option is to seek treatment for the underlying problem. At our Houston vein clinic, we are happy to offer diagnostic vein scans, so schedule your appointment today, before the chilly weather gets the best of you!

Keep the Spiders off Your Legs this Halloween

Trick or treat, everyone! Is your front porch decked out with ghosts, goblins, cobwebs and pumpkins? Is your yard lined with bones and gravestones? If so, we applaud your Halloween spirit!

But what about your legs? Are spider veins making them look more like a Halloween costume than you’d like? That’s the kind of creepy look we’re guessing you don’t want to show off this holiday season. But don’t worry: you’re not alone.

Spider Veins a major problem for Americans

Data suggests that as many as 60% of adults in this country have spider or varicose veins. Spider veins are tiny, dilated veins that are visible on the surface of your skin. When you look for them, they are red or blue, and are typically found on your legs or face. They may form in patterns that look like spider webs, and they are very visible because they are closer to the skin than normal veins. On the other hand, varicose veins, while similar and often confused with spider veins, are much larger and look like bulging or twisting rope.

Spider veins are, for the most part, a cosmetic concern. Treating them is important for self-esteem, and to prevent the progression of any underlying vein condition. But varicose veins are a more serious symptom. Treating them will be important for your ongoing, overall vein health.

How do you treat spider and varicose veins?

At our Houston and Dallas area vein clinics, we treat spider veins with sclerotherapy, the most common form of treatment for this condition. The process involves injecting you with a solution that will cause the lining of your blood vessel to collapse and stick together. The blood then begins to clot, and the vessel turns to scar tissue over time. This makes the veins invisible from the surface of your skin.

In some instances, we may seal your spider veins with a catheter or laser. In these cases, heat is used to seal the vein. This also results in scar tissue formation, which will gradually become less noticeable over time.

If you are spooked by your spider veins right now, don’t wait until next Halloween to do something about it. Instead, treat yourself (and your veins) so you can show off those legs with pride in any costume of your choosing!

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