Scottsdale (480) 496-2696 - Phoenix (480) 469-2653 - Chandler (480) 899-8930

Laser Treatment for Varicose Veins

My name is Ken Seifert, M.D.  I work at Optima Vein Care and I will be publishing in this blog weekly to help inform the public about the work we do and the help we can provide you with your varicose and spider veins.

I am a Vascular Surgeon who is certified in Vascular Surgery by the American Board of Surgery.  I have been doing surgery on arteries and veins for 35 years.  In the last 15 years there has been a transformation in the treatment of varicose veins.  This has been mostly due to the introduction of benign, minimally invasive treatments that replaced the dreaded vein stripping operation and also due to the development of ultrasound as a diagnostic tool.

Twenty years ago, if you went to a physician complaining of varicose veins, you might have been referred to a vascular surgeon like me.  I would have tried to persuade you to wear elastic support stockings because vein stripping was a painful procedure that required general anesthesia and hospitalization.  It seemed to me that unless your problem was very bad, it was better to put up with it or to wear elastic support stockings every day for the rest of your life than to go through a vein stripping.

That has all changed.  It is now routine for patients with varicose veins to see a vascular surgeon like me, get an ultrasound examination in my office, get insurance approval and have treatments in my office done under local anesthesia that will make your varicose veins stop hurting and no longer be visible.  I close the major veins with a laser, heating it and sealing it closed.  I do this under local anesthesia.

Lasers get all the glory but the real star of the story is ultrasound.  Everyone has experienced what is called “the Doppler effect”.  When a police car or fire engine passes you with its siren blowing, you hear a change in the tone of the siren.  This is the Doppler effect.  It is named after a 19th century Austrian scientist, Christian Doppler, who first described it.  Sound emitted or reflected off a moving object will be changed in frequency, or tone, by the motion and the change depends on the speed and direction of that motion.  By bouncing high frequency sound off the moving red blood cells in your arteries and veins I can tell how fast they are going and in which direction.  In the 1980s that fact was used to develop equipment, mostly at the University of Washington in Seattle, to produced images of blood vessels and displayed a color that was related to how fast and in what direction, the blood was flowing in those blood vessels.  At first the equipment was expensive, cumbersome and difficult to use, but it has now become affordable, transportable, and relatively easy to use so that every vascular surgeon can have one or two of these machines in their office and I can use it to determine which way the blood is flowing in your veins.  It is easy to do and involves no needles or pain.

Like us on Facebook!