“I am always excited when I get to introduce a new, more effective treatment for vein care,” Dr. Aaron Thompson told me. “Typically, when a patient comes to see me, they are ready to be treated, and now I have a new procedure to offer. I believe we’re the only practice using bio vein glue to treat the symptoms of varicose veins. This product has been used in orthopedics, in hip replacements, for example, for about 20 years. Now, as a cutting-edge, one-time treatment for venous disease, we are achieving remarkable results with minimal issues.”
WHAT IS VENOUS DISEASE?
Venous disease causes the internal walls of the leg veins to deteriorate. The small vein valves become defective and don’t function properly. When this happens, either in the deep or superficial vein system, blood begins to flow backwards, and gravity sends blood toward the ankles. This is called reflux. To compensate for this increase in pressure, Mother Nature enlarges the veins, and that’s the problem. Varicose vein symptoms include enlarged, visible veins, usually in the lower legs, pain and fatigue in the legs, swollen ankles and calves, burning, itching or discolored skin, and leg ulcers. In less severe cases, thin, discolored vessels—spider veins—may be the only symptom. If you have severe varicose veins, you have slightly increased chances of developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT). DVT may cause sudden, severe leg swelling. It is a serious condition that requires immediate medical attention.
NOT YOUR FATHER’S VEIN TREATMENT
“It wasn’t too long ago the treatment of choice for varicose veins was vein stripping, which meant hospital admission and general anesthesia,” Dr. Thompson explained. “After an incision was made in the ankle and in the groin, a catheter was inserted up the entire length of the leg. The up-to-date, minimally invasion techniques that I use in the office today, including bio glue, are virtually pain-free. Typically, patients have no bruising, swelling, or pain. They walk in and walk out and can often return to work that day. I rarely prescribe anything stronger than over-the-counter medication like Tylenol or Advil.”
“I use bio glue as much as possible, because it is 90% effective, pre-approved by Medicare, and more affordable,” Dr. Thompson explained. Bio glue is used to shut the main vein in the thigh. The procedure is minimally invasive. It involves placement of a very small amount of the glue into the vein through a small catheter. Once the vein is closed, blood is immediately re-routed through other healthy veins in the leg. Unlike other treatments, bio vein glue does not require a regional nerve block or large volumes of anesthesia. Furthermore, there are no pre-procedural drugs involved and patients can return to their normal activities right after the treatment. Unlike heat-based procedures, such as or radiofrequency ablation, there is no risk of skin burns or nerve damage and this method does not require any immediate post-treatment pain medication or compression stockings.
“It’s hard to predict who will develop varicose veins,” Dr. Thompson said. “Risk factors include a family history of varicose veins; more women than men develop them, and pregnancy can cause varicose veins to develop. Age is another factor. People over 50 tend to be more susceptible. Obese people and workers who spend long hours standing, like teachers, nurses, and flight attendants, are more predisposed to develop the condition.” Walking is a good activity for everyone, and it can help keep the calf muscles working properly and hopefully, lessen the possibility of vein disorders. Sometimes, compression stockings are worn for several weeks after treatment and may be recommended beyond that at various levels of use, such as while on your feet for long periods at work or while shopping or on long car or plane rides.
Research has shown that venous disease costs Americans more than two million lost workdays and an annual expense of $1.4 billion for treatment. Without treatment, varicose veins will not go away on their own, and more likely, will progress and worsen over time. When this happens, such as in cases of severe varicose veins, the deep vein system may also become damaged and ineffective. Dr. Thompson offers free screening followed by his recommendation for any further tests needed and a treatment plan that will reduce or remove bulging veins and blemishes, improve your health, and enhance your appearance.
STATE OF THE ART TREATMENTS
Diagnostic tools are constantly improving. After a brief physical exam and history, a duplex ultrasound exam that requires little more than passing a hand-held ultrasound transducer over skin that has had gel applied will be done. This 10-minute exam gives an image that allows measurement of reflux times, the time it takes for the blood to flow in the right direction.
If treatment with bio vein glue is not the best choice for a particular diagnosis—allergies might prohibit this course in some cases—there are several minimally invasive treatment options Dr. Thompson might recommend. These include sclerotherapy, ablation, and laser treatment. For small, peripheral veins, foam sclerotherapy may be performed. Medication mixed with air forms foam that is painlessly injected in the vein and causes correction in blood flow. Ablation uses a thin, flexible catheter inserted into a vein in the leg. Tiny electrodes at the tip of the catheter heat the walls of the vein and destroy it. Similarly, laser treatment sends out laser energy or radio frequency energy that kills the diseased portion of the vein, and the vein closes off. Dr. Thompson also treats venous wounds, stasis dermatitis, and deep vein thrombosis.
A PROFESSIONAL TEAM
“When I realized that there were no vein specialists in this area, and people were having to travel to Charlotte or elsewhere for vein treatment,” Dr. Thompson explained, “I knew I had to open this clinic.” As a general surgeon, Dr. Thompson had a lot of experience treating venous disease. He opened the vein center in 2001. His dedicated team of medical professionals are the heart of the practice. Together, they make certain that patients are seen quickly, treated with courtesy and respect, and experience satisfactory, effective health care. A positive outcome is their focus with each patient.
Dr. Thompson earned his Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia and his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. He completed his internship and residency at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Dr. Thompson’s staff includes certified medical assistant, Ruth Harvey. Ruth takes patient histories, begins an initial exam, injects spider veins, and assists with other procedures. Receptionist Judy Smith takes calls, schedules appointments, and makes sure your questions are routed to the right person.
If you have questions or concerns about varicose veins, spider veins, or any symptoms you may be experiencing, call the Center for Advanced Vein Care. Taking care of your health earlier, not later, is always the best decision. Let Dr. Thompson and his team help keep you healthy, comfortable, and more attractive.
The Center for Advanced Vein Care
A.D. Thompson, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S.
1899 Tate Boulevard Suite 2109 • Hickory, NC 28602
828.322.8485 | www.hickoryvein.com