Going against the flow: An effective & easy solution to vein disease
Do your legs feel good in the morning but become increasingly swollen, heavy and tired as the day goes on? Your veins may be the culprit.
Venous (vein) insufficiency, also known as vein disease, is a condition where the blood does not flow through the veins as it should, which causes blood to pool in the legs. The problem is easily treated with an ultrasound-guided vein ablation – a quick and painless office procedure that is covered by most insurances.
“Vein circulation in the leg is only supposed to go one way up the leg,” explains Dr. Drew Georgeson, a board-certified general surgeon with Allure Medical. “When the little check valves in the vein don’t work properly, blood leaks into the tissues and the leg becomes swollen and heavy. But when you recline, the fluid is not fighting against gravity, and the swelling goes down. That’s why the legs feel fine in the morning.”
Left untreated, vein disease can lead to increasing pain and unsightly ulcers that can become weepy and infected.
“People know their legs bother them, but they don’t know why,” notes Dr. Elizabeth Pensler, a double board-certified vascular and general surgeon at Allure. “There is not a good understanding of this in the general medical community.”
Indeed, general practitioners sometimes overlook vein disease or just recommend compression stockings, which can work for a while but not long term. “Compression stockings are hard to put on, uncomfortable to wear and are just a Band-Aid,” says Dr. Georgeson. “And the disease can progress to where even stockings don’t help.”
A better approach
The physicians at Allure Medical recommend an ultrasound-guided vein ablation, a simple procedure that only takes 10 to 15 minutes. The heat generated by the laser or radio-frequency is used to close off the vein. The blood then recirculates into thousands of other healthy veins in the leg.
“The procedure is very well tolerated,” says Dr. Pensler. “The patient is able to go right back to work or exercise.”
The benefits are long-lasting. “Five and 10-year studies show the closure rate of these veins is 96 to 98 percent,” says Dr. Georgeson.
Covered by insurance
Treatment for venous insufficiency is covered by most health insurance providers. If the condition is left untreated it can potentially lead to complications like color changes in the skin, acute swelling, ulcers and pain so severe it can affect a person’s ability to work and his or her overall quality of life.
“What is really satisfying from a provider standpoint is that 90 percent or more of the time, the symptoms go away and patients are so happy,” says Dr. Georgeson. “The number one response is ‘I should have done this a long time ago.’”
If you think you suffer from vein disease, Allure Medical offers free vein screenings and can get your treatment expedited before your deductible resets in January. Call 866-654-1793.
Members of the editorial and news staff of The Detroit News were not involved in the creation of this content.