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Varicose Vein Treatment Gets More and More Simple
By Lois Thomson


Dr. Gennady Geskin, a cardiovascular specialist who is part of Greater Pittsburgh Vascular Associates, is an authority on varicose veins. He is familiar with the different procedures to care for them, such as EVLT (the Endovenous Laser Treatments), RF (radiofrequency ablation), and phlebectomies and sclerotherapies. But in speaking about it, he reduces the message to simple terms:

“I think the major point for the patients is that what we offer now (in the way of surgery) is all done in an outpatient setting in the office within one hour with just local anesthesia. There’s very little pain involved, no real recovery time.”

He makes it sound so simple, and really, it is. And that’s good news considering that varicose veins affect 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men, and nearly all of them need some type of treatment. “The official recommendation is that you don’t do surgery if you don’t have symptoms,” Dr. Geskin said “but 99 percent of the patients have symptoms.”  Those symptoms include pain, fatigue, and swelling in the legs.

“What we offer now (in the way of surgery) is all done in an outpatient setting in the office within one hour with just local anesthesia. There’s very little pain involved, no real recovery time.”

Dr. Geskin said varicose veins are “those bulging veins you see on the surface of the skin. They measure from 2 or 3 mm up to 20 mm in diameter. What varicose veins represent are the branches of some deeper, leaky veins that you don’t see. Usually what happens is that one of the deeper veins inside is leaking and they are like tree trunks. So if the trunk leaks, the branches get bigger and bigger, and that’s what you see.”

Dr. Geskin talked about two types of procedures used to treat the veins. “One is when we attack this leaky inside vein with the laser or radiofrequency.” It’s done under local anesthesia in the office, and we close it by using heat from the laser or by radiofrequency; usually used for larger, more leaky veins. The patient walks in, walks out. It usually takes 30 to 45 minutes, and there is very little discomfort involved.

“We also offer phlebectomy, where we actually take the branches out. We use numbing medicine, local anesthesia only. On the top of the bulging part we make a needle hole, and we use very small hooks to pull those veins out. Again, the only thing patients feel is the burning from the local anesthesia, they don’t feel the rest of the procedure. The phlebectomy usually takes an  hour.”

He said with the EVLT or RF procedure, patients could return to work the same day. With a phlebectomy, patients are urged to elevate their legs as much as possible for a couple of days. Simple? Yes.

For more information on Greater Pittsburgh Vascular Associates call (412) 469-1500
or visit www.GreaterPittsburghVascular.com.



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