WVU Offers Treatment to Improve Varicose Veins
Minimally invasive procedure provides lasting results
Since becoming pregnant with her daughter nearly 25 years ago, Stephanie Wilson suffered from pain and fatigue in her right leg.  Now, after undergoing VNUS Closure vein treatment at West Virginia University Hospitals, her leg is essentially pain-free.

 “My right leg would feel heavy and tired at the end of the day,” Wilson, a vascular surgery nurse, said.  The pain previously associated with her leg is a common problem for women who are pregnant, people with a family history of varicose veins, and professionals who spend the majority of their days standing.

“I didn’t notice how bad my leg actually felt until I had the procedure,” she said.  “After that, there was such a noticeable improvement.  I had no idea how much it bothered me before.  I guess after 25 years you become used to the pain.”

 Sonographer Diana Stofcheck (left) and Pamela Zimmerman, M.D., (right) begin the VNUS Closure procedure by tracing leg veins with an ultrasound machine.

Wilson’s testimony is like so many others Pamela Zimmerman, M.D., has heard since she began treating patients for venous reflux and insufficiency using the VNUS Closure Device.

 “Patients may have years of leg pain diminished by simply undergoing this quick, outpatient procedure,” Dr. Zimmerman, director of the WVU Vein Center, explained.

The VNUS Closure procedure begins by tracing leg veins with an ultrasound machine.  After receiving anesthetic, a catheter is inserted into the vein.  Another ultrasound is performed to ensure the catheter is properly placed.  The vein wall is warmed, effectively shrinking the wall and eventually varicosities.   A final ultrasound is administered before the patient is sent home.

The procedure typically takes less than an hour, from start to finish.  Patients are advised to elevate their leg for the first 24 hours.  After 24 hours, it is recommended they resume walking and participate in most of their daily activities.

“Prior to this treatment, doctors would pull the vein from your leg,” Zimmerman said.  “The new VNUS procedure is minimally invasive.  Patients have minimal bruising, scarring or swelling.  The veins disappear on their own.”

A minimally invasive procedure was what John Mancuso had hoped for when his varicose veins stopped responding to injection therapy treatments.

“When I stopped responding to the injections, Dr. Zimmerman said the VNUS Closure was my best option,” Mancuso, an administrative law judge, said.  “I was nervous about the procedure but she thoroughly explained what would happen and there was no pain associated with having the procedure.”

“I’ve had patients who have waited several years before having this procedure done,” Zimmerman said.  “Most people tell me they wish they had done it years ago.  Their legs look and feel so much better.”
Cosmetic improvement is an added benefit of the pain-reducing procedure. 

“Patients have told me, prior to this procedure they hadn’t worn shorts in years,” Zimmerman said.  “This summer, they’re wearing shorts.”

Zimmerman said she sees patients from ages 20 to 80.  There is no age limit for having the VNUS Closure performed.

“I think we all deserve to look and feel our best,” Wilson said.  “Leg pain isn’t something you have to live with.  It’s treatable.”

For an appointment with the WVU Vein Center call (304) 598-4890.  For questions or more information, call (304) 293-2367. 

- WVU -

For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
cw: 07-30-07

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