May 20, 2010
Those with vein disease may be all too familiar with the pain or discomfort that comes with them, but may not know the differences between veins conditions and possible treatments.
Dr. Murray Propes, a former assistant professor at the University of Chicago before joining Midwest Vein Center, says the advancements in his field of Phlebology, the treatment and diagnosis of vein disease, is exciting.
"It's a very rewarding field," he says. "Now, with newer techniques, treatment is so effective."
Propes says he has had patients who were told their vein problems couldn't be treated but he has been able to help relieve their discomfort.
Propes says a misconception is that only varicose veins can be treated, but spider veins can as well.
Spider veins are the smaller red and blue veins that are typically flat, but more visible because of their color. Varicose veins are underneath the skin and tend to be larger and more raised.
The good news is both types of veins can be treated, says Propes.
Both types of veins can cause aching in the legs, but varicose veins tend to be more painful because the vein is being stretched.
"It's amazing how much they can hurt," he says. "They are painful."
Knowing the difference between the veins is important because there are different ways to treat them, Propes says.
He says he typically treats spider veins with Sclerotherapy, which involves injecting an FDA approved medicine into the vein causing it to close.
"In the hands of a skilled practitioner the treatment success rate is superior to lasers," Propes says adding it can also be done with fewer sessions, which costs less in the long run. He says on average there is also less pain.
Spider veins also can be treated with lasers, especially if they are on the face rather than the legs, he says.
With varicose veins, Propes says it is necessary to find the cause of the problem, which may be below the surface of the skin.
"When people see the vein they don't realize that it is often just the tip of the iceberg," Propes says adding untreated, vericose veins can lead to ulcerations of the lower leg.
Options for treatment include Ambulatory Phlebotomy, a minor surgical procedure removing the vein through a small incision that does not require stitches. Another method used is Endovenous Laser, which involves heating the vein with a laser and sealing it off.
All the procedures are done in the doctor's office under local anesthesia while the patient is wide awake, Propes says.
He adds these procedures replace the old vein stripping surgery, which is now obsolete.
Propes says following treatment patients can leave the office and drive themselves and even return to work. He says the treatments do cause some soreness and bruising lasting several weeks to several months, depending on the situation but there is a noticeable improvement in comfort.
"The symptom relief is immediate," Propes says adding the cosmetic effects take several months.
"You have to be patient it takes several treatments to get rid of them," he says. Another common misconception, Propes says is that the veins will return. They do not return once treated, but new veins commonly develop as people age, he says. It is remarkable to see the difference in patients, who commonly say they wish they had sought treatment sooner, Propes says.
"People leave happy," he says. "And there are really good cosmetic results as well."
Vein care is the sole service at Midwest Vein Center and the physicians are experienced in treating cases from tiny spider veins to large varicose veins and ulcers. MVC believes strongly in patient education and a joint decision between the patient and doctor in developing a treatment plan. In order to better serve patients, MVC has three offices: Downers Grove, Glenview and Orland Park. To schedule an appointment, call 888-570-VEIN (8346). ■
Copyright © 2013 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC