Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates Vein Clinic offers comprehensive treatment options for common vein conditions including varicose veins. In addition to conventional vein stripping (removal) and schlerotherapy injections (chemical shrinking); varicose veins can be treated using innovations in venous ablation and microphlebectomy. Ablation (vein disabling) is a minimally invasive endovascular procedure through a small incision where the vein is closed from within using laser or radiofrequency energy resulting in fewer complications, more patient comfort, and a quick recovery. Microphlebectomy (vein removal) is similarly performed through a very small incision.
The Vein Clinic also treats spider veins, a common cosmetic problem evidenced by small clusters of veins, usually in the lower extremities. Traditional approaches to spider veins include schlerotherapy (chemical shrinking). Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates physicians also perform laser therapy using a light beam that is pulsed onto the veins in order to seal them off, causing them to dissolve with less patient discomfort.
Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a common condition involving the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein, most often in the legs or pelvic area. This venous inflammation with clotting may result in painful, swollen extremities; or the symptoms may be much harder to detect. The most serious complication of DVT is a clot dislodging and traveling to the lungs causing a pulmonary embolism which requires emergency treatment. Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates uses the latest duplex ultrasound testing techniques to locate blockages and measure blood flow velocities, indicating areas of blood flow restriction. Medications are effective in treating most DVT cases although some patients are not candidates for medication therapy alone. In these cases, a surgical procedure may be used to place an Inferior Vena Cava (IVC) filter to block emboli from reaching the lungs.
Complex Venous Dialysis Access
For patients suffering from kidney failure, access to the circulatory system for hemodialysis (external filtering of the blood) may be required. Hemodialysis access can be gained by a central venous catheter, a fistula, or a graft. Immediate access can be gained by simply placing a central catheter, usually via the neck into the vena cava, although catheters restrict blood flow and introduce an increased risk for infection. For long term access, Methodist Cardiovascular Surgery Associates physicians are able to create an AV (Arteriovenous) fistula, or direct connection between an artery and a vein in the arm; or an AV graft which is a tube, or artificial blood vessel, inserted beneath the skin in the arm to connect an artery to a vein. Doppler imaging may be used to determine the optimal placement point on the arm so adequate circulation is maintained throughout the extremity. Over time, the access may develop narrowing or blockages; requiring some combination of medication and percutaneous transluminal angioplasty (PTA) to restore adequate blood flow. Placement of a stent may also be required to maintain circulation.