Anyone with varicose veins will tell you that besides being hard to look at, they can also be painful, especially when standing. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer through life.
"I don't have a desk job let's put it that way!" Laughed Shelly Ulvestad.
Working as a radiological technologist at Avera McKennan, Shelly is on her feet a lot. The job also, quite literally, puts extra weight on her shoulders. Shelly has to wear a lead apron to protect her from radiation, that protection has definitely taken a toll.
"My legs ache at the end of the day especially since I'm on my feet in the hospital all day, it was all I could do! Was come home and put my feet up." Said Ulvestad.
Over the years Shelly developed varicose veins in both legs. Due to faulty valves in the veins, blood flows down and pools in her legs causing daily aches and pains.
"Yeah my morning starts off pretty great but by the afternoon they are quite pronounced." Said Ulvestad.
Varicose veins are most common in women and tend to pop up after childbirth, but they can affect men too.
"They really have done nothing to exacerbate the situation or have done anything wrong like dietary or activity issue it more likely has to do with their families." Said Dr. Joshua Plorde, an interventional radiologist at the Avera Veradia Vein Center.
With her daughter's wedding coming up, Shelly decided to take action and visit the specialists.
"I used to have roly-poly veins on my legs and now I don't have that anymore, I mean they're not perfect by any means but then again they do what they're supposed to do now!" Said Ulvestad.
To correct Shelly's faulty veins, she had endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), meaning the doctor inserts a catheter and cauterizes the vein segments where blood is pooling; eliminating the problem.
"75% of patients have simple insufficiencies of the single deep vein that goes between the groin and the knee and they have varicosities that are either thigh or calf related." Said Dr. Plorde.
But Shelly wasn't your average patient. Her veins were, for lack of a better term: far "too squiggly" to get a catheter through.
"She actually had ablations of some smaller segments and then had what's called a micro-phlebectomy." Said Dr. Plorde.
"He took it from about here all the way up to my groin." Said Ulvestad.
Dr. Plorde says less than 10 percent of all patients need to have the vein physically removed through micro-incisions. Either way, both procedures are seemingly painless and the results are life-changing.
"It really made my legs feel great! I love the way they felt when I was done with the procedure and it was like why didn't I do this sooner? Why did I wait so long." Said Ulvestad.
Eight hour shifts at the hospital can put a strain on anyone, but Shelly says her legs are now the last thing she's thinking about on the job. So take it from Shelly, don't let the pain control your life.
"If your legs hurt and you really want to have your legs feel better at the end of the day I think it's an awesome procedure to have done." Said Ulvestad.
Correcting varicose veins is an outpatient procedure that is covered by most insurance plans. In most, cases your doctor can identify poor veins and refer you on to treatment. For more information about the Avera Veradia Vein Center just call 877-AT-AVERA.