After having her first child, Shannon noticed the initial signs of venous insufficiency (vein disease). Symptoms included thrombophlebitis (inflammation of the vein wall) and varicose veins on one leg. The painful condition, which disrupted her sleep, got worse after the birth of her second child.
Understanding that vein disease is hereditary and will probably get worse, the physically active 36-year-old decided to consult with a vein physician before the condition stopped her from participating in the sports she loves.
Shannon explains that her vein issues, which were painful enough to keep her up at night, developed in her right leg during her first pregnancy. The varicose vein symptoms got better after the baby's birth, says Shannon, only to reappear "but a little bit worse" during her second pregnancy.
Even after delivery, Shannon says that her varicose veins persisted, becoming "painful and achy at the site of the original thrombophlebitis."
How do you find the right vein doctor?
Shannon started with a Google search of vein experts in her area—like many people do during this time of easy internet research. She found Dr. Cornwell's reviews to be excellent, so she made an appointment. During her first visit, she liked the office and the staff and described her consultation as "comprehensive." She adds, "I had all of my questions answered and left with a treatment plan, all appointments scheduled, and a much better understanding of what was causing my issues."
"The staff and Dr. Cornwell are absolutely wonderful. Every appointment was on time, and they were always professional and kind…The Center is very welcoming—all of the staff are extremely knowledgeable and caring." – Shannon D., Patient, CVR Horsham, PA, location
Why would someone visit a vein doctor?
Knowing that vein disease is progressive and may get worse in the future, Shannon knew that she had to address her disease head-on, citing "concerns for her future vascular health." She also wanted to maintain her leg health the best she could and continue to do the activities she loves, including running and curling.
Cosmetic issues also concerned Shannon. She states that she remembers family members with "big, scary veins" that she hoped to avoid. While scientists have found no gene related to chronic venous insufficiency (the underlying condition that weakens the blood vessels and causes varicose veins), varicose veins run in families. In fact, if an individual has one parent with varicose veins, the chance of developing varicose veins is 40 percent. If both parents have had varicose veins, there is a 90 percent chance of that individual developing varicose veins.
Procedures that eliminate varicose veins
Shannon had several procedures on her right leg, including:
The longest vein in the human body, the GSV goes from the inner ankle to the upper thigh area near the groin crease. Reflux (reverse blood flow) in this vein is associated with varicose veins. During the minimally invasive radiofrequency ablation procedure, heat is used to close dysfunctional veins. The heat is delivered via a wire inserted into the vein through a catheter.
Patients don't feel the wire or heat because there are no nerves inside the vein. Only local anesthetic is used, and patients can resume normal activities immediately with few limitations.
Tributary veins are blood vessels that branch off the GSV and small saphenous vein. Problems in leg veins on the surface usually stem from at least one of these truncal veins. During ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, medicated foam is injected into the problem vein, which causes the vein to close. Blood is then rerouted to healthier veins. The physician uses ultrasound to guide them in the precise needle placement.
This minimally invasive procedure helps eliminate cosmetically unsightly varicose veins. It also helps relieve symptoms of vein disease, such as aching, throbbing, pain, and fatigue.
Outcomes: vein treatment at CVR
Shannon calls her results "profound." Within a week, the swelling had gone down. She says that the varicose veins were noticeably decreasing in size, adding that improvements to her leg continued for weeks after the office procedures.
Shannon continues to wear compression stockings while running or standing for long periods of time.
"Within a short time after her procedures, Shannon noted her legs feeling and looking back to normal." – Dr. Michael Cornwell, CVR lead physician
Noting that her legs "look fantastic," better yet, she emphasizes that her legs "feel fantastic."
Recommendations for anyone considering vein treatment at CVR?
Shannon recommends that" anyone thinking about vein treatment or are feeling unsure, to at least give CVR a call for a consultation." She adds that people have "nothing to lose and everything to gain" by calling CVR to discuss their leg issues.
Shannon was in the same predicament herself not long ago. She recalls not knowing what was going on with her legs; although she could see a problem that needed treatment, she wasn't sure what that would require.
She understood completely once she met with CVR's Dr. Cornwell:
"What I gained from my consult (with Dr. Cornwell) was the confidence that I understood what was going on with my body… I trusted Dr. Cornwell's treatment plan and I didn't feel any pressure (to have a procedure). I felt that I was armed with knowledge and that I could make an informed decision about what I want to do."
Because vein disease runs in her family, Shannon expects that she will need future vein care and will be a CVR patient "for life."
Varicose veins and leg pain got you down?
Vein disease is a progressive disease and won't go away on its own. You need the advice and care of experts trained in this specific medical specialty. Trust the nation's leading vein treatment practice. Built on experience, expertise, and trust, our team of board-certified physicians will provide the safest, most favorable outcome.