Varicose veins run in Ann Spang’s family; both her mother and father had them. Hers began developing in her 20’s. In 2001 she had her first procedure to treat the bulging and unsightly veins in her right leg. She remembers, “I had to wear compression stockings and I was allergic to latex, so it was a miserable experience.”
So miserable in fact that she waited nearly 20 years before seeking medical attention for the veins in her left leg. Not only were the veins visually unappealing, but Spang was having trouble going about her regular, daily activities. Her legs swelled so much one time during a cruise that she had to ice them down at night.
“My legs were hurting and felt very heavy. My feet would hurt and swell. I started noticing some skin discoloration and the varicose veins were getting worse. They were moving up from my calf to my thigh. That scared me,” she remembers.
After researching physicians specializing in vein treatment, Spang called Dr. Joseph Magnant, founder of Vein Specialists. “That’s all they do in his office—veins,” she says. “It made me feel very comfortable knowing that this is the only thing they focus on at Vein Specialists, and he is a Board-Certified Vascular Surgeon performing all procedures.”
Following her first appointment, she remembers, “I always thought my veins were just a cosmetic problem. I never really knew about vein disease.” Dr. Magnant explains, “Venous disease is a medical condition like hypertension and high cholesterol and deserves investigation and potential treatment before complications occur.”
Venous disease affects about 20% of the U.S. population or roughly 40-50 million adults. Venous insufficiency occurs when valves in the leg veins fail to close, making it difficult for blood to return to the heart. When the blood can’t return, it pools in the legs resulting in increased venous pressure which causes varicose veins, swelling, inflammation, and skin conditions such as stasis dermatitis and venous ulcers.
A majority of people who are suffering from venous disease don’t even realize they have it; not all signs or symptoms are as obvious as bulging varicose veins. Some patients may experience nighttime leg cramps, Charlie horses, restless legs or frequent urination, what Dr. Magnant refers to as the “nighttime triad.”
Other patients may have skin pigmentation and thickening around the ankle for which they have sought the attention of a dermatologist. While the most advanced stage, venous ulceration might land other patients in a wound care center for many months of wraps and even hyperbaric oxygen tank treatments.
What all these patients may share is the underlying condition of venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is an easily diagnosed and treatable condition in the hands of a Board-Certified Vascular Surgeon focused on vein disease management.
Spang had an ultrasound of both legs by a Registered Vascular Sonographers, which revealed leaking veins or venous insufficiency. Most of the time the superficial veins are the problem veins which is good news for patients since after treating the superficial veins, blood can still return to the heart through the normally functioning deep veins.
The abnormal veins can be sealed by either heat or medical adhesive techniques. These are procedures that Dr. Magnant has performed on more than 28,000 patients in Southwest Florida. He performs this procedure in the office, under local anesthesia, and in a sterile environment, and it takes approximately 30 minutes to complete. Most patients can return to normal activity within 24-48 hours.
Two weeks after Spang’s first treatment, the same procedure was done on the leaky veins in her right leg. She says, “It was not painful at all. Dr. Magnant explained everything thoroughly and talked to me through the entire procedure. We actually had fun. It was such a positive experience.”
After her first vein procedure nearly 20 years ago, Spang’s veins did not completely disappear. Today, thanks to Dr. Magnant, they are completely gone. “It’s a miracle,” she says. Adding, “And when I played golf, I was struggling by the 16th hole, but now I can walk all 18 and it’s nothing.”
Spang advises anyone with painful varicose veins not to wait any longer and call Vein Specialists immediately for a consultation.