Reporting Natalie Nyhus
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Summertime is here and it’s time to show off more skin. But many women don’t want to bare their legs because of unsightly and painful varicose veins.
Now there’s an outpatient procedure that could take away those varicose veins.
Lisa Hindsley’s legs hurt all of the time because of her varicose veins.
“It’s kind of an achy feeling. Once in a while you get sharp pains,” she said.
Blood in our veins is supposed to head in one direction as it goes back to the heart.
But in people with varicose veins the valves that help regulate this blood flow may get weakened, allowing blood to travel backwards.
“Blood pools within the vein and collects, and that can cause the vein to distend or ache or hurt,” said Dr. Mark Rheudasil, a vascular surgeon at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Atlanta.
The condition is often hereditary, more common in women than men, and in people who are overweight. For Hindsley, standing all day at work might have been the trigger.
Rheudasil was doing a procedure to close off the enlarged veins.
“This procedure uses a radio frequency element, which essentially means just a heater probe,” said Rheudasil.
A catheter is put into the vein and heat from the probe causes the abnormal vein to collapse and seal shut. Blood then gets diverted to other veins that carry it to the heart.
Newer procedures are less invasive than an older technique where the vein is surgically removed. Hindsley says she has no more pain and is able to get back to one of her favorite activities, her daily walks.
Various clinics around the Twin Cities offer varicose vein treatments. Average cost for a patient without insurance is about $2,500 per leg, but many insurance carriers do cover the treatment.
The old procedure removed the veins. This one shuts them down and they are absorbed back into the body. As for recovery time, you can walk right out of the office, but strenuous activity isn’t recommended for a week.