Mar 8, 2013 9:27 AM by Marissa Torres
It's a medical disorder that's more than a cosmetic inconvenience. More than 30 million people in the U.S. suffer from varicose veins and if left untreated- could have serious health consequences.
"I'd have to rest and stick my feet in cold water and then warm water and elevate.."
Amalia Delphine Avina spent years suffering from varicose veins.
"It was horrible. You walk and they swell. The veins swell. And then you sit down, you elevate, you lift them up, and it helps for a while, but the minute you start walking... the same thing happens
Varicose veins are often a result of venous insufficiency. When the veins in the leg no longer function properly, it causes blood to pool in the leg- or flow backwards, creating the extremely high pressure which can lead to pain and swelling.
Avina needed a permanent fix and decided to undergo what's called Radio Frequency Ablation.
"It basically involves advancing a small catheter or two, which is about as big around as the tip of a pen into an abnormal vein," says Dr. Gordon Gibbs of Rocky Mountain Vein Institute.
Once that goes through-doctors can watch where it goes through ultra sound guidance. When correctly positioned-the catheter delivers heat to essentially seal the unhealthy vein closed.
Avina says she has no regrets about getting the procedure.
"I had a little bit of bruising and swelling on the knee caps..but outside of that.. I expected a to be in a lot of pain and all this. Ya know, it was not painful."
The procedure lasts about 20 minutes and usually takes about a month or two for the treatments to be complete. If you're suffering from varicose veins, Dr. Gibbs says now is the time to get the procedure so that you're ready for summer.
Something to keep in mind, most insurance companies do not consider this a cosmetic procedure, so it is covered.