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Improved Varicose Vein Treatment

May 7, 2014, 6:26 PM by Casey Wonnenberg

Improved Varicose Vein Treatment

As the weather warms up, you might be excited to get out your shorts, swimsuits and summer dresses.  But people who have varicose veins are often more hesitant to try on their favorite summer clothes.

You don't have to look far to find a cute, summer dress this time of year.  Tracy Place-Bosma's favorite summer attire used to be almost off-limits.

"It was embarrassing because everybody would ask, 'What's wrong with your legs?'" Place-Bosma said.

The 30-year-old Ocheyedan, Iowa, woman has suffered from varicose veins for years.

"I first started noticing them when I was at the end of high school," Place-Bosma said.

Over the last few years, her veins have not just been a cosmetic issue.

"As the years went on, they just started to hurt," Place-Bosma said.

"A lot of people do still assume to take care of your veins is a big deal; a big, painful procedure," Sanford Vascular Associates Dr. Chad Laurich said.

In the past, doctors did a procedure called vein stripping, and it would take around a month for patients to recover.

"You'd have to really just remove the whole vein, so you left a wound track basically all the way down the leg," Laurich said.

But now Laurich uses minimally-invasive procedures, like radiofrequency ablation. During the treatment, Laurich uses radiofrequency energy to heat up and damage the wall inside a vein.  This usually closes off a varicose vein in the leg. All of this is done through a catheter and a small opening in the skin.

"That catheter is very small. It goes all the way up the vein and just seals the vein off as it comes back," Laurich said.

Patients will see instant results, and there's little downtime.

"I like to get people up and walking that day. In fact, I require people to move and get out of bed right away and walk. I say, 'You walk in, and you walk out,'" Laurich said.

Some patients, like Place-Bosma, have minor bruising, but she says she's relieved to finally have the procedure done.

"I prefer to have normal-looking legs and not be aching and embarrassed. Why push it off any longer?" Place-Bosma said.

Laurich says varicose vein treatment is usually not covered by insurance companies if it's for cosmetic reasons only.  But if you're experiencing pain, it is usually covered.

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