By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Whether you're worried about the way your legs look, or the pain that you're going through, there's a new treatment for varicose veins.
Pain in Vaughn Pirtoe's left leg led him to the doctor.
"The muscles have been real tight. I have to keep it elevated all the time, even at work," Pirtoe said.
Pirtoe must now have an operation because of a problem with his valve system, and an ulcer on his ankle. His blood is blocked up and not flowing correctly through his veins. This is a condition that in many people causes varicose veins.
"Varicose veins are very common and under diagnosed, especially in the female population. They're very common," vascular surgeon Dr. Jim Melton said.
Doctors used to rely on a traditional vein stripping procedure that didn't always work to cure the unsightly condition. Now, there's a new, less invasive procedure called Closure Fast and it takes only minutes.
"You stick a catheter inside the vein with ultrasound guidance," Dr. Melton said.
At the tip of the catheter is a coil of wire that emits radio waves to create heat. When heated, the vein closes up, stopping blood flow to the varicose veins.
"If we eliminate this bad valve system by the procedure we're doing today, it will re-route the blood to the good system, therefore, allowing that ulcer to heal," Dr. Melton said.
There's little downtown after this procedure, results are better and the chance of varicose veins coming back is low.
Closure Fast can be used to treat serious conditions like deep vein thrombosis, and it can be used for cosmetic reasons.
Pirtoe went through the procedure Friday morning, and his doctor expects him to be back at work Monday.
"I'd like to be able to play golf on both legs, because basically when I go now, I have to play with the right leg and use the left for balance," Pirtoe said.
Doctors said this procedure is usually covered by your health insurance providers.