In our last [blog post], we met Mr. Papelbon, a patient who came to MIIGS after an emergency room visit for an ulceration on his foot. After a consultation with a MIIGS specialist, it was determined that Mr. Papelbon was suffering from a venous ulcer caused by an underlying vascular insufficiency. Read on below to follow Mr. Papelbon’s course of treatment and recovery.
Once the underlying cause of the venous ulcer has been identified, the twofold treatment process can begin. First, the ulcer itself must be addressed to prevent further tissue damage and spread of infection. The severity of the ulcer typically determines how much treatment will be required.
- Compression therapy
- Tissue debridement (the physical removal of dead tissue) to reduce inflammation.
Because poor circulation is often to blame for the development of these ulcers, the next and most important step in this treatment process is to return normal blood flow to the affected area. Without this step, the ulceration would not receive the nutrients or immune support needed to heal. Fortunately, there are several minimally invasive treatment options available for dealing with circulation issues. Using interventional radiology techniques, MIIGS specialists can identify problematic areas within the veins and address them using miniature catheters and X-rays.
Making a Plan for Varicose Vein Treatment
Dr. Scheuermann explained to Mr. Papelbon that a venous ulcer is a serious medical condition that can take a very long time to heal. If it does finally heal, it will often recur unless the underlying cause is treated. Mr. Papelbon said that, although his condition was scary, he was struck by how Dr. Scheuermann took the time to explain his condition to him and detailed the minimally invasive varicose vein treatment that would put him back on his feet again.
Mr. Papelbon knew about the traditional surgery for varicose veins called vein stripping. No doubt, fear of painful surgery with a long recovery period had prompted him to endure his venous ulcer and its associated pain and restrictions on activity. However, vein stripping was not what Dr. Scheuermann had in mind.
High-Tech Minimally Invasive Solution
Thanks to new technology, MIIGS interventional radiologists like Dr. Scheuermann – physicians specially trained to perform minimally invasive treatments – can often eliminate varicose and spider veins in simple procedures using radiofrequency or laser energy. These minimally invasive varicose vein treatments have many advantages:
- Patients can remain awake yet relaxed, sedated and pain-free during the procedure.
- The procedures are quick, with most completed within 30 to 45 minutes.
- The procedures are very safe. These minimally invasive treatments involve only a very small entry point, with none of the dangers or long healing times associated with large incisions.
- Patients return home the day of treatment and can often return to work the following day.
The process is beautiful in its simplicity:
- The interventional radiologist inserts a thin catheter into the vein through a tiny incision.
- The catheter tip delivers a controlled dose of radiofrequency or laser energy to the vein wall.
- The varicose vein heats, collapses and seals shut.
- With the diseased vein closed, healthy veins can re-establish healing circulation.
Mr. Papelbon’s Experience
Mr. Papelbon’s feedback following the procedure says it all. “Before going to MIIGS and seeing Dr. Scheuermann, I was contemplating how I would be forced to change my lifestyle. Thanks to all of the MIIGS staff, I’m living a full and complete life.”
Mr. Papelbon repeatedly expressed how relieved he was that he could benefit from a minimally invasive procedure that would not only address his varicose veins but also ensure that his venous ulcer healed. After his procedure, Mr. Papelbon praised MIIGS a number of times, citing:
- How knowledgeable everyone was at MIIGS.
- How clearly and professionally they conveyed information.
- How convenient, quick and easy the entire process was.
He stated that he was able to resume his normal activities “very quickly.” He added, “In fact, the transition went so smoothly, it’s hard to remember!”
MIIGS Varicose Vein Specialists Serve Louisiana
Nearly half of the patients MIIGS treats for varicose veins are physician referrals, while a little over half are self-referrals who come seeking relief for:
- Cramping, throbbing or pain in the feet or legs, especially while walking.
- Nonhealing wounds or venous ulcers on their legs, ankles or feet.
- Achy, heavy feelings in the legs.
- Puffy, bulging or discolored veins.
About half of all the patients MIIGS treats are at risk for amputation on their first visit, but MIIGS is able to help the vast majority recover fully through minimally invasive vein treatment.
MIIGS is the only interventional radiology center staffed by American Board of Radiology-certified vein treatment specialists in the Alexandria region and one of only a handful in Louisiana. Our doctors specialize in helping even the most complex and difficult cases and understand that your time and your lifestyle are important.
MIIGS uses safe, minimally invasive procedures that are quick and convenient, with little to no downtime for recovery. To schedule a same- or next-day consultation at our center in Alexandria, contact us at 318.528.7560 or submit an online contact form. Most insurance covers varicose vein treatment for medical purposes and, thanks to the vascular specialists at MIIGS, you may never have to experience the pain and loss of lifestyle associated with a venous ulcer or varicose veins again.