Your Health: Treatment For Varicose Veins

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Story Updated: Mar 8, 2013

Varicose veins are often a symptom of a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency or CVI.

Treating it is much simpler than you might think.

Amanda Hamilton's parents both have varicose veins and, as genetics would have it, she has them too.

"I had leg swelling, a little bit of pain. I just didn't like the looks of them either," said Hamilton.

That led her to general surgeon Doctor Kiri Brandy, who performs a minimally invasive procedure called endovenous thermal ablation.

It's intended for patients whose varicose veins are caused by chronic venous insufficiency. 

That's when the valves in the veins that prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction malfunction, causing blood to pool. 

Only a local anesthetic is necessary.

"I'm able to put a catheter up the vein that the patients does not feel at all inside the vein and we use the ultrasound to confirm where it is. Then I have to numb up their leg in various spots so that when I turn this catheter on, it's actually turned up to 120 degrees Celsius, that's how you heat the vein. They don't feel it at all because I've numbed up all around...It's basically giving the person a controlled clot in their vein," said Brandy.

Over time, the vein shrinks and is absorbed by the body.

"It's remarkable. I'd recommend it to anybody," said Hamilton.

Doctor Brandy performs this procedure both at River Hospital in Alexandria Bay and in her Ogdensburg office.

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