Friday, November 9, 2007

Vain and Vein

I had EVLT on my left leg in Jan. 2008. To find out how it went, visit the blog post here.
This post officially welcomes you to voyeur varicose vein removal. Don’t sit to close to the edge of your seat! OK, my leg photo is not very vein revealing, I know, but it's the photo not the leg. (aka. my butt's not big, it's the jeans ;-)

After having two kids, my legs look like roadmaps due to varicose veins, apparently genetic (thanks, Mom!). They get hot, itch and throb especially after standing for long periods of time. Ya know like when painting outdoors every Saturday morning (more on my painting progress later).

I must add that the photo of the above signage is important. I am having vein surgery. Not to be confused with going to the vain-center. There's a big plastic surgery office across the hall from this one! Although vv removal has a bit to do with vanity as it's not a life-threatening condition. At least not mine, anyways. I consulted with the fine MDs at the NMFF Vein Clinic (Dr. Rodriguez, et al). D. Rod is a very nice man who enthusiastically listened to Indigo sing her “Spanish” song.

He confirmed, yep, those are varicose veins. He gave me the game plan about the non-invasive and surgical options. He also brought me up to speed on what we’ll need to do in order for my insurance to pay 100% of it! Ahh, hoops to jump through. Like a good coach, he knew the drills and now we’re successfully on the road to “game day”. So far, no extra $$ has been paid. Yet.

A brief explanation of varcosities. Veins bring blood back to the heart for oxygenation. In these veins you have valves that keep the blood movin’ on up (kind of like a lock system ala Panama Canal). Due to many reasons, (mine being the one-two punch of having kids and genetics), the valves don’t work as well as they should – they don’t shut all the way. (sidebar: Who left the door open? Were you born in a barn?). This causes backflow of venus blood (reflux). The reflux causes the blood to collect, expanding the vein and forming the tortuous veins visible, like a roadmap, on the outside of the leg. What I’m learning is that the visible stuff is the tip of the iceberg (so to speak). Gotta get sexy back.

Today I had an ultrasound performed on both legs by Peg who works with D. Rod and his collegue, Dr. Richard Chen. Peg rocks and is a science-chick who’s not afraid to admit it. As she scanned my legs she pointed things out to me on the ultrasound monitor. There’s the valve, she said. Uh, whuh? I looked, brows furrowed in concentration. All I saw was a haze of black and white visual static. If you say so, Peg! Then she pressed a food pedal that activated a cuff around my leg. Zap! Phew, it was just a squeeze, not a zap :-) Dr. Chen gets the soundbite of the day award.

“If people ask me for pantyhose, I give it to them.”

I was laughing (really moreso on the inside, out of politeness, as I just met Dr. Chen). We were talking about thigh-high support hose v. pantyhose support hose. If you remove any context from his quote, it’s hilarious! I told him I’m going to blog about it!

So, now for the hard science! There are numerous ways to treat varicose veins. Make small incisions at various points along the skin, snip the vein and pull it out bit by bit. Like digging a worm out of the ground with tweezers. This is done with local anesthetic and a mild “sedative”. I asked, Peg, for the straight dope on that one. What is the “sedative”?. She told me it was Xanax – one or two pills. I’ll take two. Never had it before, I hope it works. I digress (I welcome anyone’s opinion on Xanax). Other methods of vein removal, and this is space-age technology (or should I be saying, Google Earth-age technology)… lasers and fancy sound waves (you'd think some of the speed metal out there would be enough to collapse a vein, a brain but in vein treatment they use inaudible sound waves). In either instance, a super thin tube is placed into the vein, heats it up (via sound or laser) which causes it to close/collapse. This removes the road from the map, so to speak. Removing the vein, removes the varicose appearance of the vein. Apparently our bodies have like a guh gillion veins and melting 4-6 is not a very big deal. What is a big deal, is that all of this is done on an out-patient basis. No general anesthesia, no paying an anesthesiologist, or hospital operating room and most importantly NO hospital stay. Woohoo. Just sweet Xanax and a good friend to get me home on time for “Rachel Ray”. Any takers? I’ll be having laser and vein striipping procedures. These doctors are that good. Google-earth Good.

My next appointment is my pre-op visit. You may get to meet D. Rod and Dr. “If-anyone-asks- for-pantyhose, I-give- it-to-them”. Look out ladies (I’ll see if he’s available!). I must say that he is a tremendously good sport to laugh with me. Real times, real people. Hopefully this vein surgery isn't a "gateway drug" into harder core plastic surgery. It's just across the hall after all. Stay out of the vain centers, y'all!

1 explorers in an expanding universe:

Farheen said...

During laser treatment, a laser is applied to the skin over your spider veins. Laser energy causes your spider veins to coagulate and shrink. Laser therapy is most effective for small and medium size spider veins. Large spider veins respond poorly and are best treated with sclerotherapy. You are likely to experience mild discomfort similar to having a small rubber band snapping against skin. Laser Vein removal treatments usually do not require sedatives, pain medications, or injections of local anesthetic.

To get rid of every unsightly and embarrassing vein with the most advanced technology and unique design available in medical spa and skin care technology. Varicose veins typically cause pain, swelling and fatigue and sometimes even more serious complications such as blood clots and leg ulcers. The removal of varicose veins required actual stripping of the vein a surgical procedure that requires hospital stay.

Laser therapy can be very effective in treating unsightly broken and dilated vessels as well as other unwanted vascular lesions, such as spider veins, rosacea, port wine stains and other vascular birthmarks.Lasers work by emitting a specialized light that is passed through the skin and preferentially absorbed by its target, be it an unwanted hair, birthmark, tattoo or the hemoglobin in the unwanted vessels. The laser causes the vein to break up and disappear. In fact, the latest advances in laser technology have made it safer, faster and more effective than any previous treatment for these vein conditions.

You may be given a topical anesthetic cream to numb the area to be treated with laseer vein. Any discomfort can be eased with the application of cool compresses. After laser vein removal treatment, you can immediately return to normal activities. Other treatments may require some downtime.

Laser vein treatment works by causing the unwanted vein to break up and dissolve, resolution of the unwanted vein will take place over the course of several weeks to months.The most common side effect is purpura, around the treated area with laser vein. This will resolve within days of the treatment, and occurs only with some lasers used.

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