Duluth, MN - (Northland's News Center) - Nearly 30 million Americans are afflicted with pain, swelling and disfigurement associated with varicose veins.
Now, a new minimally invasive medical technology is changing the way doctors get rid of severe varicose veins.
Stacy Colich underwent an invasive vein stripping and sclerotherapy procedure 17 years ago.
She remembers it as a painful process.
"They made two incisions, one at the top of the thigh, one at the ankle. And with a little instrument like a crochet hook, go in and catch it and pull it right," Colich says.
The surgery left her in pain for weeks.
Nine years later, the symptoms returned.
But, thanks to huge advancements in technology, a new type of surgery is changing the way doctors get rid of the pain.
"It's less convalescent, in other words you're not hospitalized or you're not laid up so long. The other thing is its less pain. There's less pain associated with this technique. And there's an economic benefit. The cost is much cheaper then having the old stripping," Dr. George Fall.
The new procedure uses radiofrequency to resolve the condition by heating and sealing the primary leg vein in minutes.
The pain subsides immediately.
Once Colich heard of the procedure earlier this year, she decided to try again.
"I guess I'm at ease just because it's definitely less invasive then what I had 17 years ago," Colich says.
The procedure takes about 45 minutes and recovery time is minimal.
"They Pretty much go home with a stocking in place, they keep that on for 48 hours. They're back to work in two days. They're enjoying life, they're activity can be full almost immediately after the procedure," says Dr. Fall.
In the past patients have had to endure a gruesome general surgery in order to strip the veins, but those days are now over.
"Really almost night and day from the procedure that I had 17 years ago," Colich said.
Colich says she barely felt any pain.
The procedure was introduced to the Northland in 2006.
Because it is a serious medical condition, the procedure is covered by most health insurance programs.
Written for the web by Danyel Piecek.