Ask a Doc: Give Your Legs a Lift – Varicose Veins

February 14, 2017

Submitted by Lewis Zulick, MD, Chief of Surgery for Rochester Regional Health, Eastern Region including Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic and Newark-Wayne Community Hospital.


If you suffer from varicose veins, you're a member of a very large club. Approximately 25 million Americans face a daily struggle with the swollen, ropey veins that can cause throbbing pain, severe swelling, and heavy, tired legs. Venous reflux or venous insufficiency develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased. Half of all Americans over 50 and two thirds of women over 60 have the condition.

Once it appears, venous reflux disease never goes away by itself it's a progressive condition that can only worsen unless treated. Varicose veins can be a minor cosmetic problem or lead to major pain symptoms and persistent skin ulcers. Interestingly, bleeding is not a common complication of varicose veins.

Designing the best approach for each individual patient requires a familiarity with the full range of treatments available.  Fortunately, most treatments are minimally invasive. Endovenous Thermal Ablation is one such minimally invasive treatment alternative with less pain and less bruising when compared to traditional vein stripping surgery. The surgeon closes the diseased veins by inserting a catheter into a vein and heating the vein wall using temperature controlled radio-frequency energy. Heating the vein wall causes collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood then naturally reroutes to healthy veins. I utilize the specialized vascular lab staffed by Vascular Surgical Associates and located here at Clifton Springs Hospital & Clinic to obtain necessary testing for my patients. I also refer patients to our Wound Care Center when they need specialized wound care.


Whether the goal is to correct cosmetic vein conditions or manage severe venous disorders, our team can help maintain good venous health for our patients and return them to a better quality of life. That’s what makes us the region’s leaders in vein and vascular care. Here's to your health.