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New Treatment for Varicose Veins: Laser Venous Ablation

DMC specialists use new less-invasive laser procedure to treat varicose veins, to reduce pain and speed recovery.

As an executive sous chef, Kevin Martin is on his feet 12 to 14 hours a day, all week long. After his shift, his legs were so swollen and sore that he had to elevate his feet. It started to get more and more painful, and he was taking painkillers daily just to get through a shift.


Un willing to take the pain any longer, Kevin went to se Radiologist Dr. Gregg Warren at DMC Huron Valley-Sinai Hospital. After an ultrasound evaluation, Dr. Warren diagnosed Kevin with varicose veins.


“A varicose vein is actually a complication of a disease called venous insufficiency,” says Dr. Warren. “The blood flow in our veins is supposed to be going back up to our heart. With venous insufficiency, the valves which control the flow of the blood are incompetent – they are allowing blood to go in the wrong direction, back down to our legs. This results in venous hypertension.”


For years, varicose vein patients underwent a stripping procedure – a cut was made in the legs and the veins were stripped out. Today, Dr. Warren performs a minimally invasive procedure called laser venous ablation, which takes only about an hour. The laser heats up the lining within the vein, causing it to collapse, shrink and disappear.


During the surgery, Dr. Warren uses ultrasound guidance to access the greater saphenous vein. He inserts a laser probe on the tip of a catheter, and from there, delivers the energy into the vein to cause the process for the veins to shut down.


The laser causes a reaction inside the vein which results in the vein clotting off. The vein’s inner lining is changed, and the blood flow in that vein is terminated. The laser and catheter are removed, and the procedure is done, leaving only a small puncture that doesn’t even require stitching.


From there, the patient wears compression stocking s 24 hours a day for a week following the procedure, and limits activity for a few weeks. Kevin had the surgery on Thursday, and was back to work with shorter shifts on Tuesday. His pain had diminished, and his recovery went well – he even saw an improvement in the way his legs looked. Now, fully recovered, his legs look the same before and after a long shift. “I’m happy I had this surgery. It’s improved my life tremendously.”


To connect with Dr. Gregg Warren, vist DMC.org or call 888-DMC-2500.

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