People often avoid addressing chronic issues because they fear that the cure will be worse than the disease. However, when a patient understands the treatment process from start to finish, they feel more at ease. In this article, we take you through a typical vein treatment journey. Our journey begins with a patient in pain and ends with the complete resolution of the issue. We’ve compiled this story from a variety of real patient experiences, and merged them in a hypothetical patient named Tom.
The Problem: Pain
Tom is 58 years old. Once a college football player, Tom maintains an exercise routine and eats pretty healthy. About ten years ago, Tom started feeling twinges of discomfort in his legs. He thought this might be due to occasional overexertion on his frequent hikes in the Colorado outdoors. However, now the pain is almost constant, and his legs are so achy and tender that he can no longer ignore the problem. At a recent family gathering, his daughter pointed out varicose veins on his legs and suggested he talk to a doctor. The situation concerns him because it’s reducing his mobility and making it harder to keep up with his young grandkids. In August, after reading online reviews and the blog What to Expect During a Vein Treatment Consultation, Tom decides to visit Artemis Colorado for a free ultrasound vein screening.
Tom’s screening reveals he has venous disease, a condition in which veins malfunction and blood pools in the legs. Understandably, Tom feels confused and a little frustrated. After all, he works hard to stay healthy! Tom learns that there isn’t a single cause of venous disease, and it’s often unclear how the disease begins. Genetics play a factor, as do things like how much time a person spends sitting or standing each day. So, Tom hasn’t done anything wrong. Now the issue is how to fix the problem, and Dr. Pinsinski recommends a procedure called endovenous laser ablation.
Tom is ready to do the procedure right away, but the first step is actually a three month compression stocking trial. Before paying for endovenous ablation, insurance companies require this trial to see if it solves the problem. Artemis also prioritizes a conservative approach to treating venous disease and requires all patients to try compression stockings first.
Tom grumbles a bit about the delay. However, he is glad that Artemis can fit him for stockings so that can begin the three month trial immediately. Tom leaves with two pairs of stockings that are the appropriate pressure. Though the stockings feel a little strange at first, soon Tom barely notices them. And, since the weather is starting to cool, they fit conveniently under his pants.
Now it’s November, and Tom has worn his stockings diligently throughout the three month trial period. Some days he feels like his legs are a little better, but overall the aching and tenderness have persisted. The varicose veins are definitely still there, and Tom feels self-conscious about them. When he returns to Artemis, he wants to move ahead with treatment. At this point, his insurance authorizes the procedure since the compression stockings didn’t sufficiently resolve the problem. (Though they didn’t work for Tom, compression stockings sometimes do relieve a patient’s pain enough that continuing with venous ablation is unnecessary.)
Tom schedules a treatment appointment for early December. He’s happy that Artemis does the procedure in-house and that he’ll be treated directly by Dr. Pinsinski and his team. More good news comes from his insurance: since Tom already met his deductible, the procedure will cost him almost nothing.
Treatment day arrives. The doctor and staff have prepped Tom on the procedure and answered all his questions, so he’s confident in his decision and doesn’t feel nervous. Tom feels only a slight sting as the doctor numbs the treatment site. After that, while he can feel that “something” is happening, it’s not at all painful. During the procedure, Tom notices the “Cool Touch” laser. Before treatment, he learned that the Cool Touch laser is the gold-standard for endovenous ablation therapy. It produces less heat than other lasers, so patients experience reduced bruising and a faster recovery time.
A half hour later, the procedure is over and the medical assistant wraps Tom’s legs. His aftercare instructions include wearing the wrapping for 48 hours and avoiding strenuous exercise, but otherwise he can go about his day. The doctor recommends ibuprofen for any pain and tells him to expect a little bruising and some soreness. After 48 hours, Tom removes the leg wraps and switches to compression stockings, which he’ll wear for 10-14 days.
A Happy Ending!
One week later, Tom returns for a follow up appointment. The ultrasound scan confirms that the treatment was successful! He is delighted that the procedure was minimally invasive and essentially painless, and he is healing nicely. Within two weeks, Tom stops using the compression stockings and, for the first time in years, wakes up without leg pain. Tom’s journey to healthy veins is complete!
We hope this view into Tom’s journey explains the vein treatment process and relieves any anxiety concerning the procedure. There’s no reason to live with painful legs! If you have questions, or would like to schedule your own free vein screening, give us a call at 303-955-8314 or contact us through our online form. Feel confident starting treatment knowing that the Artemis staff is following COVID precautions recommended by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment and will always prioritize patient safety.