Avera Medical Minute: Vein ablation for varicose veins has some patients throwing away compression socks

Published: Nov. 2, 2020 at 4:06 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Vein ablation, a procedure for varicose veins, has been so successful, some patients are throwing away their compressions socks. Medical Minute reporter Beth Warden sat down with Avera surgeon Dr. Brandt Becker in Pierre, to ask questions and get answers about varicose veins.

Q: So a lot of people may experience some leg cramping from time to time or notice varicose veins but when should they see a doctor?

A: It’s a great time to bring that up at your annual exam when you’re seeing your primary physician when you have that established relationship and those that have had skin changes wounds. The pain, the fatigue that you’re seeing on a daily basis. Those are all reasons to get in, get evaluated, and see what options you might have. Both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options exist for the treatment of varicose veins.

Q: And what are some of the available treatments?

A: Compression therapy; just compression stockings and if those are helping patients. And then of course we talk about surgical options as well.

Q: So I understand that vein ablation is an option. Can you describe what that is?

A: We use a small catheter it’s about the size of a spaghetti noodle that we thread it up the vein, and we denature the protein, or I describe it like scrambling the egg. Just like when you crack an egg it’s liquid well we use this to scramble it and take it into a solid and that’s how it closes that vein up to force the blood out of it, to prevent you from developing more varicose veins and treat them.

Q: And what about recovery time?

A: It’s pretty short. I’ve had patients that work in the hospital here that have we’ve done one day and they’ve been back at work as a nurse the next day, with just taking a couple of Tylenol so it’s pretty quick.

Q: And if somebody decides to have vein-ablation what are the benefits of having that done?

A: We do the procedure and you don’t have to wear the compression therapy. We prevent the development of new varicose veins, skin changes, getting rid of the varicose veins, the cosmetic appeal, preventing the wounds, those types of things. I’ve had multiple patients say, “I feel like I’m 18 again I feel like I could run again. My legs aren’t heavy, they aren’t tired.” And that’s just a just it’s great to be able to do a procedure provide patients with that relief. It’s a fun exciting procedure especially to perform but for my patients too and they just love it when I get it done.

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