Bumpy, puffy varicose veins are not only unsightly they can also be uncomfortable, as 53-year-old Barbara Costa discovered.
"Through the years it was getting worse and worse. I was getting a lot of pain, cramping, swelling in my legs. And by the end of the day it was very painful," she said.
During her lunch hour, Costa had a new quick and painless procedure to get rid of her varicose veins at North Beach Vascular and Aesthetics.
Only one shot of local anesthetic is needed. Dr. Adam Gropper is among the first in South Florida to use the recently approved ClariVein device for this purpose.
"It combines two ways of closing the vein in one device," Gropper said.
The tip of the devices rotates very quickly, and ultrasound helps the doctor know it's in the proper place in the vein.
“The spinning not only causes the vein to spasm and close down, but it also strips the lining cells of the vein off,” Gropper said.
Gropper explained this makes the vein more sensitive to the chemical solution that's being injected during the spinning process, giving the vein a one-two punch to make it's closure permanent.
He asks the patient to let him know if they feel anything. He tells them they might feel a tickling, which is normal.
Throughout the procedure on Friday, Costa watched a movie on an iPad. From start to finish it only took 45 minutes.
“I felt they were working in my leg, but I didn't feel not pain, no discomfort whatsoever. I was really surprised when Dr. Gropper told me we were finished," she said.
As her leg was being wrapped, Costa noticed a difference in the way it looked.
“I couldn't see those bumps, ugly varicose veins. They're not there anymore," she said.
After her so-called “lunch time leg lift,” Costa is able to return to work. She simply has to wear a compression stocking and do a lot of walking to keep the blood flowing smoothly through her leg.
Women who had deep vein blood clots, or are breast feeding or pregnant, would not be candidates for this procedure.
According to a study, 95 percent of the veins remained closed after 18 months.
Insurance companies do cover the cost of the procedure.