It starts deep inside your legs. You probably won’t notice at first and, even when symptoms such as swelling or heaviness appear, you might think it is just “getting older.”
It is chronic venous insufficiency, and it is progressive. It occurs when the valves that return blood to the heart stop functioning properly. As a result, pooling blood causes the veins to swell. Visible symptoms – varicose veins – appear. They’re ugly and, left untreated, they might even be dangerous. In severe cases, the skin can change or ulcers can appear, raising the risk of deep vein thrombosis or even pulmonary embolism. This is far from just a cosmetic problem.
Vein issues are common for people who spend a lot of time on their feet – especially women. That includes health care professionals, those in the hospitality and retail businesses, teachers and many others. Pregnancy also is a factor for women; the more pregnancies, the higher the odds of varicose veins appearing. Symptoms include pain, a burning sensation and a feeling of heaviness in the legs.
Varicose veins are thick and bulge beyond the skin. The valves in these veins cannot be repaired, but several solutions are available. It is important to see a specialist such as Dr. Thomas Wieters at The Vein Center in Mount Pleasant. A general and vascular surgeon, Dr. Wieters has nearly 30 years of experience in the field of vein care.
“I am a general and vascular surgeon,” Dr. Wieters said. “With ultrasound and newer technologies, there was a quantum leap in vein care. I chose to focus exclusively on vein care.”
He began specializing in vein issues in 2001, opening The Vein Center as an outpatient facility in 2006. Always on the cutting edge of medicine, Dr. Wieters was the first physician in the state to perform the VNUS Closure procedure.
“The VNUS Closure is minimally invasive,” said Dr. Wieters. “We can make the diagnosis with ultrasound and treat immediately.”
The VNUS Closure procedure is a state-of-the-art treatment for varicose veins. Older procedures such as vein stripping are usually performed while the patient is under general anesthesia. Laser ablation uses heat to collapse the vein; although not as invasive as stripping, it may cause bruising and pain. By contrast, the VNUS Closure procedure is done with local anesthesia and requires less than an hour. There is little or no pain for most patients, and symptoms generally subside within a week.
Dr. Wieters has performed more VNUS Closure procedures than any other physician in the state. Is the procedure right for you? Only a detailed consultation with a doctor can determine that.
The Vein Center is located at 3070 North Highway 17, Suite 202, in Mount Pleasant. Visit us online at TheVeinCenterCharleston.com or call (843) 881-8346 for a consultation.