The Iowa Vein Clinic

For Release on August 10, 2011

New Varicose Vein Treatment Offers Hope

Radio frequency ablation treatment offered by the Iowa Vein Clinic
provides a nearly pain-free solution for those dealing with varicose veins

(Davenport, IA) – It’s hard to beat gravity.

Approaching middle age, many women who spend careers on their feet dread the onset of varicose veins. Not only are they are unsightly and painful, but traditional treatments could also be as painful as the vein condition itself  – leading to unnecessary suffering.

And men aren’t immune to the condition either. “Men also suffer from varicose veins, particularly those who spend time on their feet or who have a genetic predisposition to the problem,” explains fellowship-trained Vascular and Thoracic Surgeon Richard Sadler, M.D., Chest and Vascular Surgery, & the Iowa Vein Clinic, Davenport. “However men are even less likely to seek treatment.

“While varicose veins afflict both sexes, typically making them miserable in mid-life, there have been tremendous advancements in treatments that really minimize the pain,” Dr. Sadler explains. “There is no reason people should avoid treatment because they fear the old-style, incredibly painful treatments of vein stripping.


What causes varicose veins?
When your legs have used the fresh, oxygen- and nutrient-filled blood pumped from your heart, they return the used blood back up the legs to be freshened up and re-circulated. The blood’s return route is through a system of veins. Tiny valves in the veins allow the blood to go only one direction, back up to the heart. But for people who are constantly on their feet, gravity eventually weakens the valves. “While our bodies were designed to walk and run, teachers, nurses, factory workers, retail salespeople and countless others who stand for hours are at greater risk for developing varicose veins. If you are not flexing your leg muscles, your veins don’t work well,” explains Dr. Sadler. “When the veins no longer work properly, they allow blood to pool or flow backwards instead of climbing up. That’s when those bulging varicose veins form.”

When they’re left untreated, varicose veins can cause permanent skin changes. Worse, the skin can break down into ulcers that won’t go away until they are treated – and that can be expensive and take months to heal. Some of the lesser-known problems relating to varicose veins are fatigue, heaviness in the legs, restless legs at night, aching, itching, throbbing and swelling, burning, and cramping sensations. Blood can also clot and cause hot, painful, red skin and other complications. Even with this collection of miserable symptoms, “People put off treatment too long,” says Dr. Sadler. “Patients have more advanced conditions and more painful symptoms by the time they come to see me than they should.”

 

New Hope with Closure®
“Traditionally, doctors used a surgical procedure called ‘stripping’ to treat varicose veins,” says Dr. Sadler. The surgery involved tying off one end and then tearing the varicose vein from the body. As you might imagine, patients suffered considerably. Many patients avoided treatment altogether because it was so painful and disfiguring. In addition, there was a 15% chance of permanent nerve injury.

All that has changed. Dr. Sadler often treats varicose veins with a procedure called Closure®. There is so little discomfort that no sedation is needed, and usually no post-treatment pain medication is needed, either. The Closure® procedure involves only a tiny puncture to access the vein – much like an IV – that leaves an imperceptibly small scar. Instead of tearing the vein out, Dr. Sadler runs a special catheter through the needle hole to heat the vein with radio frequency energy. The vein shrinks down on itself and closes off, like heat-shrinking plastic. “After it’s closed, the body re-routes blood to healthy veins,” says Dr. Sadler. “Patients usually return to normal activities within a day – as compared to three weeks with the old procedures. Radio Frequency Ablation yields superior results to treatments using laser. There really is no reason for people to put off treatment and suffer needlessly anymore.”

 

About The Iowa Vein Clinic
Dr. Sadler’s Iowa Vein Clinic offers a host of treatments for vascular conditions. They include surgical phlebectomy, a method of removing small veins through tiny punctures or incisions — so small no stitches are required. “Veins are so collapsible that it is possible to remove even large ones through these tiny openings,” says Dr. Sadler. Sometimes a compression bandage helps patients to recover, yet nearly all patients are active right after the procedure.

The Iowa Vein Clinic also offers sclerotherapy, which uses injections to treat those little spider veins as well as other vascular treatments, addressing conditions like aneurysms as well.

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