Varicose Veins …. A New Approach

Varicose Veins …. A New Approach

By Dave Roberts

Varicose veins and spider veins are often mischaracterized as a cosmetic problem. Actually, they are a sign of an underlying disorder of the circulatory system called venous insufficiency. By age sixty, 70% of women will suffer from this condition. Left untreated, it can lead to a chronic, debilitating, and sometimes limb-threatening condition. Unfortunately this disease process is under-diagnosed and under-treated. Sadly, many patients opt for treatments that address only the superficial appearance of veins only to find that the veins reappear. Some superficial, skin deep treatments leave the veins worse than before treatment and cause the skin to appear blotchy or discolored. The underlying cause is never considered, diagnosed, or properly treated. Modern treatment of this age old problem can now be accomplished with an array of minimally invasive techniques in an outpatient setting.

Continue reading ‘Varicose Veins …. A New Approach’

Good Morning America – New Treatment For Unsightly, Unhealthy Varicose Veins

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Christine McLaughlin hid a painful secret for 15 years: underneath her long dresses, black stockings or heavy support hose, McLaughlin’s legs were covered in large, bulging varicose veins.

A new procedure can remove the bulging veins in 15 minutes.

And, more than unsightly, her problem recently became unhealthy as well.

"There was a real sensation of throbbing," McLaughlin, 45, told "Good Morning America." "They’d just hurt. It was a heaviness, a density about the lower limbs."

Dr. Mark Adelman of New York University said varicose veins can cause engorgement, swelling and fatigue as well, "the same sensation you would get if you put a blood pressure cuff on your arm."

The condition affects about 20 million

Aging can lead to varicose veins, typically in the legs, by causing the vessels to become less elastic, allowing them to stretch and pool blood. High blood pressure, such as the kind that comes with pregnancy, can also push the walls of the veins outward.

Initially wary of painful treatment, McLaughlin heard about the newest treatment for varicose veins called the VNUS ClosureFAST procedure.

No Recovery Time With New Treatment

The treatment involves threading a long electrode up the vein and then using radio frequency waves to heat the vein until it collapses and closes. The procedure is done without anesthesia and there is little to no pain or painful recovery. The treatment takes about 15 minutes.

"Typically, patients feel better right away, almost," Adelman said. "As they walk out, they feel lighter, that they no longer have that heavy pressure inside the veins."

The procedure is the cutting edge of a treatment that started nearly a decade ago when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the original closure catheter, Adelman said. But, back then, the treatment still required general anesthesia and a much longer session.

‘Walking in Gratitude

"The procedure itself has evolved," Adelman said. "Now, we’re not doing it in the hospital under general anesthesia. We’re doing them in small procedure rooms in the office, without any IVs, without keeping the patient without food beforehand, and you can see the procedure takes 15 to 20 minutes."

Closing blood vessels, at first blush, would seem to be dangerous but, Adelman said, these varicose veins are "superficial."

"The veins that are necessary for normal circulation are deep inside the muscles," he said.

After the procedure, McLaughlin could not believe the relief she felt.

"Oh, words can’t describe," she said. "I mean, what was really shocking to me was that there’s no recovery period. That, as soon as the doctor was finished, his wonderful assistant, his surgery assistant, Wendy, literally wrapped up my leg, gave me a series of instructions and told me, ‘You’re walking out of here.’"

Now, without fear of shorts and skirts and in great health, McLaughlin said she’s "walking in gratitude."

New Treatment For Unsightly, Unhealthy Varicose Veins – ABC News

Varicose vein treatment is quick and effective

A varicose vein treatment that can be done in a doctor’s office in 15 minutes that really works—it may sound too good to be true, but the millions of people who suffer from the unsightly bulging veins in their legs will be glad to know it’s for real. The technique is called venus closure, or more specifically, the VNUS Closure procedure, and there are many doctors in the Los Angeles area who perform this quick and easy out-patient surgery that in most cases requires only a local anesthetic.

The veins are the blood vessels that return blood to the heart and lungs. When the veins and their valves are weak the blood pools, causing unsightly bulging blue veins. It’s estimated that two-thirds of women over the age of 60 have varicose veins, but millions of older men also suffer from them.

Varicose veins aren’t just unsightly, they can also be uncomfortable, causing swelling, aching, a feeling of heaviness and fatigue. In some women they can eventually cause blood clots, inflammation and skin ulcers. Varicose veins tend to run in families, but can also be caused by being overweight, sitting or standing for long periods of time, straining caused by constipation, and the hormonal changes that come with menopause.

In the VNUS Closure procedure, the doctor makes a very small incision into the bulging vein and then threads a catheter up the vein. Radio frequency waves in short bursts heat the vein and shrink or collapse it. The body quickly reroutes the venus blood through other veins. It takes a day or two to recover, and the treated vein is absorbed over time.

To locate a doctor in the Los Angeles area who does the VNUS Closure procedure, and for more detailed information on the treatment, please visit the VNUS website .

For more info: Medline Plus varicose veins info

Women’s FAQs about varicose veins

Varicose vein treatment is quick and effective

New procedure trims treatment time for varicose veins –

Varicose veins afflict as many as 40 million Americans. (Kyle Stalder/KTUU-DT)

Varicose veins afflict as many as 40 million Americans. (Kyle Stalder/KTUU-DT)

by Lori Tipton
Tuesday, August 18, 2009

ANCHORAGE, Alaska — As many as 40 million Americans suffer from severe varicose veins, which cause pain, swelling and disfigurement of the legs.

Until recently, patients seeking treatment for varicose veins underwent what is called stripping. But there is a new catheter device that uses heat to treat varicose veins.

It’s a minimally invasive procedure and patients are able to walk out right after the surgery.

Continue reading ‘New procedure trims treatment time for varicose veins –’

The Womens Journal-Tired, Painful, or Unsightly Legs…?

Tired, Painful, or Unsightly Legs…?

samuel_m_wilson_color4 June 2009
By: Samuel M. Wilson, M.D., FACS

If you are among the estimated 20 to 40 million men or women who suffer from venous insufficiency, you may have venous reflux disease. You may feel that your legs are aching or uncomfortable and may note that they swell up, especially as the day goes on. Your legs may feel heavy. Other symptoms include painful varicose veins, seen as protruding veins of various sizes.

Over time this may lead to discoloration of the lower leg above the ankles or even open sores in the same area, known as venous leg ulcers.

Certain jobs or activities which require prolonged standing may make you more likely to have these problems. They are also seen in pregnancy. Other risk factors include a family history of varicose veins, overweight, and increasing age.

The diagnosis may be simply made with a short, non invasive (no needles) procedure using an ultrasound machine combined with a physical exam.

Many of the most basic cases can be treated with venous compression stocking and elevation. If this is not sufficient or more definitive treatment is required, a minimally invasive outpatient office procedure may be done, often with cure.

When indicated, one of the newest and most effective outpatient procedures, which is done in the office, is the VNUS Closure Procedure. A catheter is inserted in a superficial vein and the diseased vein is closed by radiofrequency (RF) energy. This causes blood to be returned by other normal veins.

The procedure takes about one half hour to one hour with only local anesthesia required. There is minimal discomfort. Normal activities are usually resumed in one day.

Samuel M. Wilson, M.D., FACS and his Board Certified partners, Thomas P. Barnett, M.D., FACS and Cristobal G. Alvarado, M.D., FACS of Surgical Associates at Eden Hill have been successfully performing the VNUS Closure Procedure since 2005.

If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of varicose veins and venous reflux disease, the physicians of Surgical Associates at Eden Hill are available for help. Call (302) 674-0600 for a consultation.


“I was surprised at how quick it took, and really pain free and that’s not an exaggeration it was pain free.”
~Kate S., Dover, DE

“I had torturous veins. Now they’re really flat… The appearance is much better.” ~Joan L., Viola, DE

“I tell anyone who has these not to put off treatment. Literally, the next day, it was like a miracle.”
~Jim W., Smyrna, DE

“I was shocked at how quickly I recovered. I was on the phone with my office as soon as I got home from the hospital. I’ve had more discomfort after a dental appointment than I had after this procedure.”
~John D., Elkton, MD

Dr. Samuel Wilson has been practicing general and vascular surgery since 1986 and has been in Dover since 1996. He graduated from Swarthmore College in 1972 and earned his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine. He completed his surgical residency at Temple University Hospital followed by a two-year vascular fellowship at Presbyterian University of Pennsylvania Medical Center in Philadelphia. He was Chief of Surgery at Kent General Hospital from January 2005 through December 2007. A surgeon who is published in the general, vascular, and trauma literature, he is a member of the Delaware Valley Vascular Society, the Eastern Vascular Society, the Vascular Access Society of the Americas (VASA),  the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the American Medical Association, the Medical Society of Delaware, and the Southeastern Surgical Congress. Dr. Wilson is Board Certified in Surgery and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is listed in the Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare and is a Delaware Today “Top Doc.

The Womens Journal » Blog Archive » Tired, Painful, or Unsightly Legs…?

New Treatment for Varicose Veins – ABC News

Twisted rope-like veins bulge out of the legs of 50 percent of women in the United States, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

Varicose veins can be more than just plain ugly. The unsightly veins can cause pain, swelling or itching severe enough to drive many sufferers to seek medical help.

Over the years, several procedures for treatment have surfaced, but most have been somewhat invasive.

A relatively new procedure that’s being used in about 100 doctors’ offices around the country is said to be far less invasive, painful and time-consuming than the current most popular procedure, known as vein stripping.

Seeking Closure

Mark Adelman, director of vascular surgery at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, says a procedure known as VNUS, or "closure," is a great option for patients who’ve been putting off a varicose vein procedure because of the pain and recovery time traditionally involved.

"The procedure itself is not painful at all and after the surgery the patients resume the normal day-to-day activities without pain," Adelman said on ABCNEWS’ Good Morning America.

VNUS, which uses a radio frequency to close the troublesome vein, can be done while patients are under localized anesthesia, and patients usually recover completely in one to two days, Adelman said.

Varicose or "enlarged" veins that sit just under the skin of the leg have numerous causes. The most common cause is a valvular dysfunction of the main vein on the leg. That vein should allow blood to pass through the leg to the heart and close so blood doesn’t pass back. When it’s dysfunctional, the blood can pass back, causing the enlargement.

More women suffer from varicose veins than men because it’s worsened by estrogen stimulation and by anything that puts pressure on the abdomen, like obesity or pregnancy. Only 20 percent of American men suffer from varicose veins.

Throbbing Pain

Lynette McCollum has been trying to cope with her own varicose veins for five years. The 38-year-old Broadway performer and mother of two said she’s tried every trick in the book to try and relieve the pain of the veins — but support hose and dieting hasn’t helped. "It’s painful, the throbbing and the heaviness of the leg," she said.

McCollum hasn’t been willing try traditional varicose vein removal procedures because they seemed too invasive to her. Vein stripping, the most commonly used procedure, is very effective, according to Adelman, but recovery can be difficult, he said. It entails two incisions on the leg — one at the ankle and one at the groin.

A wire is then passed through that main vein, which is pulled out. Once it’s removed, several smaller incisions are made that remove the small branches of blood vessels off the main vein. The trauma of the tearing causes recovery to be uncomfortable, with bruising and an irritation of the nerves that could cause numbness, Adelman said.

With VNUS, there is only one incision at the ankle. A small catheter the size of a piece of spaghetti is passed through the vein and travels to the groin where a trigger is pulled. That opens prongs on the catheter, which contact a wall of the vein. The radio frequency is then turned on and the heat closes the vein.

Becoming Invisible

Since no blood remains in the vein, it becomes invisible, and not in position to feed the smaller branches. According to Adelman, there’s no bruising and very little swelling or numbness associated with this treatment, but it takes about two to three weeks for the vein to completely disappear.

About 10,000 VNUS ( treatments have been carried out since the Food and Drug Administration approved its use in 1999.

The cost of the procedure is comparable to vein stripping, which ranges from $2,000 to $4,000 per leg. Closure usually costs around $2,000 to $2,500. Some insurers cover it interchangeably with vein stripping as a medical necessity, not just a cosmetic procedure, but some insurers are just becoming aware of it, said Adelman

Other varicose vein removal procedures include sclerotherapy, which treats both spider and varicose veins. It consists of injecting a solution into the vein and bandaging the area tightly for about 24 hours. A yellow-brown discoloration can sometimes appear in the treated area. This may take weeks or sometimes months to fade.

Laser therapy also may be used to treat spider veins. Sometimes more than one treatment is needed.

While high-tech treatments have become available, experts say there are ways to ease the discomfort associated with varicose veins. Support hose and tight-fitting elastic stockings can help prevent blood from pooling in the legs and increasing pressure on veins with damaged valves.

Elevating the legs to help gravity drain blood out of the leg veins is often recommended as well.

New Treatment for Varicose Veins – ABC News