Monday, September 17, 2007
Medical Reports: Victory over Veins
Varicose veins are often painful and ugly enough to make you want to hide your legs, and getting rid of them hasn't always been easy. Seven's Richard Lemus shows us a new procedure that's offering victory over veins, quick and painless.
WSVN -- In South Florida we love short shorts.
But when you have bulging leg veins, long pants are often as short as you'll go.
Abby Portuondo: "I would always cover my legs. I would wear pants and long skirts. I never owned a short dress, mini-skirt or short shorts."
Abby spent years trying to hide these varicose veins in her legs.
Abby Portuondo: "They were varicosities. It was actually hindering me from exercising because the veins would go over the knee, and it was like a tree branch going over my leg."
Like many people, she thought the only treatment option was the old, painful way of vein stripping.
Abby Portuondo: "I had heard of the stripping and other things that they were doing, and I wasn't really thrilled with them."
From lasers to catheters, treatments for varicose veins have come a long way in the last few years. Now a brand new catheter that uses radio-frequency is becoming the front-runner.
Dr. Jose Almeida: "This is the latest and greatest for varicose veins."
Recently FDA-approved, it's called the Closure Fast Catheter. Doctors insert the catheter into the leg through small holes and heat up the superficial veins.
Dr. Jose Almeida: "When we deliver heat inside the vein wall, it heats up the collagen at 120 degree Celsius. The collagen shrinks, the vein shrinks and it closes."
Old catheters took 30 minutes for vein closure, while this one only takes three, and, unlike lasers, it doesn't use high heat to scorch the veins shut, so there's less pain and bruising.
Dr. Jose Almeida: "So the symptoms resolve quickly. The veins are gone when they walk out of here."
Patients wear a bandage for two days and can get back to work the next day. Abby walked out with a brand new set of legs.
Abby Portuondo: "I'm not ashamed of them anymore."
Since her surgery she's gone shopping, and you can guess what's on her short list.
Abby Portuondo: "I love my new short shorts and my new short skirts. They make me feel younger."
Richard Lemus: "Unlike spider vein treatments, insurance does pay for varicose vein surgery."
Miami Vein Center
1501 S Miami Ave
Miami, FL 33129