St. Mary Medical Center Vein Care Services – Bringing life back to legs

Written by Mary Fetsch. Posted in Featured, Health & Wellness

Published on November 19, 2014 with No Comments

Phlebologist Luis Barajas, MD, talks with patient Marylnn Allred during a follow-up visit after her radiofrequency (RF) ablation procedure.

With a lively personality and an energy that belies her age, 78-year-old Marylnn Allred always maintained an active lifestyle.

“I’m on the go quite a bit,” she says. “I figured, if you’re up and moving around, you stay young and forget your troubles.”

But over the last year, Allred began to notice her legs getting tired, and her movements getting slower. As she walked, her right leg would begin to feel sluggish, and she would stop and rest until it felt better. In the evenings, she began elevating her legs to help relieve the restlessness she felt in them. Her legs were beginning to slow her down and change her way of life. But she just dismissed it as just a part of getting old.

“I didn’t think there was anything I could do about it,” she says.

Fortunately for Allred, she had scheduled a general physical with Luis Barajas, MD, at the Willowcreek Health Center in Portage. In addition to practicing family medicine, Barajas is a board certified phlebologist with the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. A phlebologist specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of venous disorders, such as varicose veins, spider veins, hemorrhoids, and swelling due to lymphedema.

“When Marylnn discussed her symptoms and I saw her legs I could see she was having venous insufficiency issues,” says Barajas. “We arranged to perform a venous mapping of her legs with ultrasound, to determine the extent of her condition.”

Finding the right treatment

Barajas determined that Allred would benefit from a newer, minimally-invasive treatment called RF Ablation. RF Ablation uses radiofrequency energy (instead of the traditional laser or surgery) to close off varicose veins by treating the underlying source. This low-risk procedure allows most patients to return to work or normal activities within 24 hours.

“Patients with venous insufficiency experience a pattern of backward flow of blood in their veins,” explains Barajas. “Around 85 percent of these patients, like Marylnn, have problems with the superficial venous system that can result in night cramps, swelling, fatigue in their legs.”

According to Barajas, about 15 percent of patients with venous disease have significant, deep vein issues that require the expertise of an interventional cardiologist, radiologist or surgeon to address their more complex needs.

As part of the Vein Care Services offered at St. Mary Medical Center, this advanced team of experts works collaboratively to meet the entire spectrum of venous disease.

“There are some patients who have serious venous issues such as chronic clots, clotting disorders or life-threatening clots,” adds Barajas. “We have the technology and medical team in place to diagnose and successfully treat these patients and help them manage their condition.”

Many patients may experience chronic leg fatigue, swelling, night cramps or restless legs even without obvious varicose veins. Usually, by the time patients see changes to their skin, vein disease is already present. While some may dismiss the changes as simply cosmetic, Barajas cautions that the condition only worsens as you get older.

“You don’t have to live with varicose veins or their symptoms,” he says. “The treatment is very low-risk, is very successful, and is covered by most insurance carriers. Patients who seek treatment early could prevent potentially more serious conditions in the future.”

Make those veins vanish!

More than just a cosmetic problem, varicose veins can be painful and detrimental to your health. Call the Vein Care Services of St. Mary Medical Center and schedule a screening today at 219-764-7236.

Vein Care Services Include:

Vein Mapping – detailed ultrasound evaluation of your deep and superficial leg vein systems

RF Ablation – a newer, minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency energy instead of laser or surgery, to close off varicose veins

Ultrasound-guided Sclerotherapy – treatment that seals and shrinks superficial varicose veins, allowing healthier veins to pick up the blood flow

Advanced Venous Care – Advanced team of physician specialists who work collaboratively to treat complex venous issues

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