Dr. Lindy McHutchison: Compassionate Vein Care, Durham and Pinehurst, North Carolina

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CVC Blog Welcome Dr Lindy Mc Hutchison

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) is thrilled to announce an expansion of its network of specialty physician-led vein clinics by partnering with Carolina Vein Center and its lead physician, Lindy McHutchison, MD.

Joined by Samuel Wahl, MD, and Marianne Sommerville, MD, Dr. McHutchison, these physicians have decades of collective experience treating symptoms of vein disease such as varicose veins, spider veins, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and other vein conditions related to chronic venous insufficiency (vein disease).

Since 2007, CVR has been the leader in diagnosing and treating chronic venous insufficiency; therefore, partnering with a quality vein center such as Carolina Vein Center was a natural fit.

Say Hello to Dr. Lindy McHutchison!

We sat down with Dr. McHutchison, who opened up about her professional experience, why she chose to specialize in vein care, her mission work with Honduras, and her passionate activism to help individuals with lipedema. Lipedema is a painful chronic condition mainly affecting women, where fat and connective tissue build up in the legs, hips, and bottom that doesn't respond to diet and exercise like ordinary fat.

Tell us about your professional experience

My original specialty was OB/GYN. And in 2007, one of my friends and colleagues introduced me to treating venous disease. I switched to vein treatment in 2007 and have loved being part of the vein world ever since.

"Since then, I've been doing veins; that's the only thing I've done, and I don't dabble in it. It's what I do. I love it. I love taking care of the patients. I love helping them with their pain. I love helping them look better, which overall makes them feel better, and it's just become a passion for me." – Dr. Lindy McHutchison, CVR Durham and Pinehurst, North Carolina

Tell us about your work outside the office

"I am a workaholic. Anyone who knows me would never deny that. And there are two things that I do outside the office that are related to medicine that I just adore. One is my mission work with Honduras, and the other is with lipedema. And I don't know if you know about lipedema, but lipedema is an adipose disorder in women.

Lipedema affects about 1 in 10 women. And I got involved with it around 2016 when my worlds of OB/GYN and venous disease collided, and I found lipedema. And it's been a passion project for me.

I spend a lot of my free time learning about it, being part of it, helping educate women on it, being a part of the U.S. consensus committee writing the consensus article for lipedema, and collaborating with Dr. Karen Herbst, one of the world leaders. I want to be part of the cause and the cure of lipedema and help other researchers do that as well.

Why did you choose to practice at CVR specifically?

CVR has become one of the leaders in venous disease in the United States. They have collaborated with some physicians who have been doing veins for decades, and because they've grown with such expertise, they've become a big part of the policies of the U.S. in venous disease.

CVR conducts lots of research as it relates to vein treatments and vein management. And it's empowering for me to be part of such an incredible team of experts with the same passion and care for the patients.

CVR takes care of the management and administration part of operating a vein practice that's become burdensome. They take care of that so I can do what I love—to take care of patients.

What is your philosophy of patient care?

That's an easy one. I'm a people person. I love people. I love talking to people, and my primary philosophy is, first and foremost, developing a relationship with the patient. Most of these patients actually become our friends. We're on a first-name basis with them.

We learn about patients and their families at CVR vein clinics in Durham and Pinehurst. I put the patient and the patient relationship first. Along with that, we try to see how their lives are impacted by the issues with their legs, which is usually more than people realize. By treating their veins and improving their overall quality of life, we give them a good leg to stand on. We send them off by giving them back hours and hours at the end of their day that they didn't have before.

What unique skills do you possess?

My people skills are probably the thing people talk about the most. I love learning about communication and communicating with people. I love connecting with people. So, I think that probably that is the number one thing people would say. I am also a giving person and an extra service person.

So, I am always helping everybody do whatever they can to improve their life. So, I think those are the two biggest things about me.

Tell me about your work in Honduras

I love my Honduras experience. Honduras is a medical mission project through the Hackett Hemwall Patterson Foundation, and I've been involved with it since about 2010. I've been going for over ten years, except during the pandemic. I believe that everyone should spend time giving back, especially in their professions; it can make a difference.

In Honduras, venous disease is pervasive throughout the country, probably because of genetics. So, it's wonderful to go down there and spend an entire week doing vein treatments with my colleagues who have the same passion for giving back that I do, and it's a wonderful experience. We can just spend a ten to 15-minute session with these patients and truly impact their lives forever in the future.

And it is a part of my life that I will do until the day I die.

Tell me more about lipedema

How much time do you have? I love talking about lipedema. Lipedema sometimes gets confused with lymphedema, but lipedema is an adipose disorder (a disease where fat within a compartment grows abnormally) in women. It affects about 1 in 10 women in the U.S. and probably around the world as well.

The thing about lipedema is that the tissue sometimes becomes stuck, and the women develop pockets of this tissue that are tender. It's a painful disorder. They bruise easily, and it affects their shape. It predominantly affects their lower extremities; they have normal upper extremities in the rib cage, and then they have these abnormal fat deposits in their hips, thighs, and lower legs.

I like to validate them and let them know that it is a medical condition and that part of my passion is to help bring some awareness to this and be part of the team that helps find the cause and cure for them.

"For me, it's empowering to tell the patient, 'This is what you have. A disorder that has affected your whole life through no fault of your own.' We all have skeletons in the closet, but these women have something very visual that people judge them by. And most of the women they're so happy to learn that there's an explanation for something they've suspected their whole life." – Dr. Lindy McHutchison, CVR Durham and Pinehurst, North Carolina

Sadly, we don't have a treatment for it. There's a lot of therapy, and I enjoy teaching them how to help manage the condition. And if the venous disease is part of it, vein treatment usually helps reduce some pain. There are ongoing studies right now looking at just that.

It's been great to be at the forefront of something that affects so much of women's healthcare, and someday, I hope we can find the cause and the cure for all these women. But I love just giving them a pat on the back because they've been dieting, exercising, doing all this that everyone has told them to do, and they usually eat like birds. And these women are these thin little women that feel like they're wearing sumo wrestler costumes.

How is lipedema managed?

Right now, it's a challenge. We try to give sufferers the tools that we know of. The primary tool is managing the diet and ensuring they're eating the types of food that may not promote this tissue formation. We also help them with decongestive therapies, such as compression, pneumatic compression, and manual lymphatic drainage. We teach them a lot of self-care techniques to help with that.

Currently, the only definitive treatment is liposuction, which has very limited coverage by insurance. There are not that many liposuction experts who are specially trained for lipedema patients, so we're trying to help get insurance more on board to cover these treatments. Still, it's really about getting them involved in the Facebook groups, getting them access to the information out there, and just helping manage their self-care therapies with what we can help them now.

Book an Appointment with the Top Vein Care Specialists

CVR has more than 110 vein center locations nationwide. There's probably a CVR vein clinic near you! Schedule ONLINE or CALL US in Durham / Southpoint at 240-965-3915 or in Pinehurst at 240-965-3915, and we'll happily answer all your vein health questions.

Rest assured, vein treatment at Center for Vein Restoration is covered by most insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.

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