Varicose veins are two words we all hope to avoid. However, since one in three people over the age of 45 are affected by vein disease, it’s important to know as much about the condition as possible.
“Vein disease develops when the valves that keep the blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased,” explained Interventional Radiologist Monish Merchant, MD, of the Centers for Vein Care. “This causes blood to pool in the legs and results in symptoms such as pain, swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue, skin changes and varicose veins.” Dr. Merchant went on to share that vein disease is progressive, and while it is not curable, it is highly treatable.
One of the hallmarks of the Centers for Vein Care is this dedication to individualized treatment. The vein professionals at the Centers for Vein Care understand there is not a standardized treatment plan. “Just as each person is different, each person’s veins are different,” shared Dr. Keerthi Prasad, MD. “After we complete a medical history, a physical exam of the legs and perform a leg vein ultrasound, we discuss the patient’s treatment options.”
Completely painless, an ultrasound generates diagnostic images that let the physicians see which veins are working well and which ones are leaking blood back into the legs. Leg vein ultrasounds can also tell the physicians if there are potentially dangerous blood clots in the veins.
“We offer a number of tailor-made treatments,” said Dr. Prasad, “and we try to achieve the best results with the easiest options.” Dr. Prasad explained that during the first evaluation options such as compression stockings and other lifestyle changes are discussed.
However, if medical intervention is indicated, the physicians at Centers for Vein Care have several options. “The newest treatment is VenaSeal,” Dr. Merchant shared. “It is a way of closing the main vein in the leg that causes varicose veins.” VenaSeal is somewhat like “Super Glue,” because it works by delivering an adhesive to seal diseased veins. Dr. Merchant also said that the procedure is virtually pain free because the patient only needs a local anesthetic before accessing the vein through a tiny incision on the skin’s surface. “Patients can return to normal activities almost immediately.”
Another option to treat the large veins on the legs is radiofrequency ablation. “We are the largest user of radiofrequency ablation in the Chicago area,” Dr. Prasad said. “This technique uses radiofrequency energy, instead of laser energy, to heat up and damage the wall inside a vein.” The radiofrequency energy is directed through a thin tube inserted through a small incision in the vein. Patients can walk after treatment and recovery is short.
For large bulging veins, the physicians can also perform a phlebectomy. This procedure requires several tiny incisions to be made on the skin through which the varicose vein is removed. It is performed in the offices of the Centers for Vein Care using light sedation and local anesthesia.
Sclerotherapy is a treatment that is commonly used for spider veins and smaller varicose veins. This procedure involves injecting a small amount of a solution into the diseased vessel that cause it to collapse and stick together. Over time, the vessel turns into scar tissue that fades from view.
If you have varicose veins and/or vein disease symptoms, but want more information before making an appointment, visit one of the FREE Health Fairs we offer throughout the year. Register at https://centersforveincare.com/events/ or by calling 219-299-8515. Receive a free vein ultrasound and personal consult with one of our physicians.