When you look at your legs, do you see bulging, unsightly veins? You may not like the way they look, but these veins may signal something more serious, like venous or vein disease. Recent advancements and improved technology have led to new options for people who are bothered by vein problems or vein or venous disease. The Vein Center at University Surgical Associates (USA) offers to treatments that are safe, effective and minimally invasive. To ensure your comfort, we also offer conscious sedation.
Q: What is venous insufficiency?
A: "Venous insufficiency or venous reflux occurs when your legs can't pump enough blood back to your heart. The veins in your legs have one-way valves, assisting the blood to circulate up the leg against gravity – and prevent the blood from flowing back down," says Charles Joels, M.D., FACS, RPVI, vascular surgeon with The Vein Center at USA. "When these valves aren't working properly, blood can 'pool' in the legs or collect in the veins. Varicose veins are swollen veins visible on the skin's surface that develop as a result venous insufficiency."
This medical condition is more than just cosmetic – and that's why you should trust your care to a board certified vascular surgeon, not just a clinic that addresses how your veins look but may ignore or may not catch the potential underlying medical problems. Skin breakdown and ulcers, staining of the skin and tired, painful and swollen legs are also symptoms of venous disease.
Q: What can I do about it?
A: USA's vascular surgeons specialize in all aspects of vein disease, from tiny unsightly spider veins to large bulging varicose veins. Our innovative, non-surgical approach addresses the entire spectrum of venous disease, helping you look your best while ensuring you receive the highest quality care.
Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) is a minimally invasive laser, ultrasound-guided treatment for varicose veins that involves inserting a small optic laser through a needle access directly into the varicosity. The fiber is activated and slowly removed from the vein and the heat from the laser clots the vein, causing the vein to collapse. Once the vein is closed, the blood is rerouted to other healthy veins.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat spider veins and small varicosities. A tiny needle is used to inject a concentrated solution that irritates the vein's lining, causing the walls to collapse and close.
Stab phlebectomy is a safe, minimally invasive procedure used to treat clusters of varicose veins. Tiny incisions are made over the varicosities and a hook is used to extract the veins. It's performed using local anesthesia and causes mild discomfort.
Q: Will I definitely need a procedure?
A: Every person is different – there is no one-size-fits-all approach. The Vein Center at USA provides a comprehensive evaluation and a range of treatment options based on your individual needs. "We put a lot of thought and care into choosing the proper treatment for the patient. This leads to better outcomes and safety for our patients," says vascular surgeon Richard Sprouse, MD, FACS, RPVI. This can include medical grade compression hose, exercise and elevating your legs. You may not realize the extent of your condition, and small veins centers may not be equipped to provide the full range of treatments like medical therapy, schlerotherapy, laser therapy, endovenous thermal ablation, vein stripping, endoscopic vein surgery and other procedures. Our vascular surgeons take care to determine whether procedures are needed with each individual patient.
Q: Why does accreditation matter?
A: Our comprehensive vascular lab is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission and is the only physician-owned accredited lab in the area. Accreditation is extremely important because the decision to do a procedure is partially based on the vascular study done in the lab. If the study is done incorrectly, the patient could be told she needs a procedure when she really doesn't. We offer state-of-the-art equipment and registered vascular technologists (RVTs) who use the least invasive method possible to provide critical information used to develop your vein care plan.
Q: Why choose a vascular surgeon?
A: All seven USA vascular surgeons with The Vein Center at USA are board certified and have the training and experience to provide exceptional vein care. Other vein clinics may treat varicose veins, but may not have the depth of experience and training that vascular surgeons possess. Although not every patient needs advanced treatment, our vascular surgeons perform complex procedures on a wide variety of arterial and venous conditions and have privileges at all major hospitals in the Chattanooga area. They're prepared to treat any serious vein condition that arises.
"We take vein disease very seriously, and we offer the experience, judgment, and qualifications that no other vein clinic in the area can provide," says Michael Greer, M.D., president of University Surgical Associates. "Whether it's varicose veins or more advanced vein disease with ulcerations, we offer every avenue of care. The vascular surgeons at University Surgical Associates are your best choice.
To schedule an appointment at the Vein Center at University Surgical Associates, call (423) 267-0466.