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Defying Gravity

Gaining the high ground in the battle with varicose veins

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OADVANCEMENTS IN TREATMENT

The introduction of ultrasound and laser technologies, both doctors cited in this article agreed, have revolutionized treatment of varicose veins.
 

Now usually the exclusive domain of decidedly painless outpatient procedures, today’s varicose vein treatments have all but replaced the once dreaded saphenectomy. More commonly known as vein stripping, the very name itself conjures cringe-worthy images that aren’t at all far removed from the realities of the now almost anachronistic practice.
 

 “That was a much more invasive procedure than we use today,” the Hungarian-born Csordas explained. “It seems an almost barbarously bloody thing to have done,” he said in pantomiming a motion akin to that of the huffing and puffing, cord-yanking action used to start a stubborn lawn mower.
 

Dr. Wattenofer agreed.
 

“Until a decade or so ago, we were employing techniques that hadn’t changed in over a century,” he said. “The advent of new technologies, once relegated perhaps to what were naturally weightier research arenas of, say, cancer or heart studies, means that new procedures and new techniques have spread throughout every corner of health care. That’s good news for those who have varicose veins.”
 

Endovenous ablation is the most common procedure today in the treatment of varicose veins. Using heat to close off a vein, nothing more than the smallest of needle punctures are required as a catheter is inserted to deaden the passageway. Over time, the body simply absorbs the treated vein as it does with any other minor scar tissue.
 

Insurance policies vary by program, but a good rule of thumb is that strictly cosmetic procedures are rarely covered. Among the most common cosmetic treatments are those for spider veins, tiny blood vessels just below the skin’s surface, so named for their often arachnid-shaped appearance.
 

EASY, SAFE, PAINLESS

Varicose veins, Dr. Csordas explained, affect an estimated 20 percent of women and eight percent of men.
 

“Men tend to put up with medical things much longer,” Csordas said, “and by the time we see a lot of them they have big veins that bring really uncomfortable symptoms.”
 

The price for ignoring such symptoms, especially among men?
 

“That’s where we tend to see a lot more problems with ulcers that require treatment,” Wattenhofer said. “I tell my patients that nobody is going to die solely because of varicose veins. It’s not like we’re going to have to amputate a leg or anything like that. But I also tell them that there’s absolutely no reason to live with discomfort when treatment is so easy, safe and painless.”
 

-end- metroMAGAZINE

 

 

 


 

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