To know if you are going to have varicose veins, take a good look at the legs in your family tree. Those bulging veins usually run in the family. They and can get worse during pregnancy, with age and with obesity. Fortunately there is a non-invasive treatment to get rid of them at North Central Heart in Sioux Falls.
A word of caution: if you choose to play this video it contains some graphic video.
Like many mothers, this woman developed varicose veins when she was first pregnant. That baby is now 21 and for 21 years she suffered with achy tired legs. So unsightly, she says, she doesn't want us to identify her. In June Dr. Paul Meyer with North Central Heart treated her right leg. Now she's back to have the same outpatient catheter-assisted procedure done on the left.
Dr. Meyer says, "One of the most common things is the valve goes bad in the greater saphenvous vein and you get gravity pulling blood into the vein during the course of the day. The fix is to get rid of reflux of the vein so the blood no longer goes down that vein and fills the leg. To do that used to be the old fashioned vein stripping where you actually take the vein out. Now we will use a laser catheter so the vein stays in the body and we burn it closed from the inside. By doing that you prevent blood from going down the route and filling all the little branch veins."
The patient is awake during the whole procedure and said it doesn't hurt a bit. Now Dr. Meyer moves on to the bulging veins above her knee. He actually removes the vein all together with small incisions. If he didn't it would still fill up with blood.
Dr. Meyer says, "Those are separately anesthetized with lidocaine. I make a small incision over the vein and take it out directly."
After the procedure a nurse will wrap the patient's knee with coban tape for the first day and night, and then she will wear support stockings for a week and be back to normal in a week or two.
Dr. Meyer says, "Most people have a good result. Our venous patients are some of our happiest patients. Finally they get rid of the veins that have been a problem for a really long time or maybe they thought there wasn't much that can be done. When they finally get them fixed they tend to really enjoy it."
And this patient couldn't be happier with her new set of legs. She just wanted me to tell you for her!
The advantage of having both procedures done at North Central Heart is the patient is monitored the entire time, they are in a clinical setting and if something were to go wrong the Avera Heart Hospital is only steps away.