Traverse City Record-Eagle

Body & Soul

May 5, 2012

Vein treatment called 'lunch break surgery’

TRAVERSE CITY — Michael Peterson is looking forward to riding his mountain bike again.

Just days after a procedure to relieve the discomfort caused by severe varicose veins, Peterson says going for a ride is in his near future.

"It's on my agenda for tomorrow, after I am cleared at my follow-up appointment," said Peterson, 46, who underwent a procedure known as VNUS closure last week.

Just three days after the procedure performed by vascular surgeon Dr. Michael Boros, Peterson said the heaviness and pain he had been feeling were gone.

"I'm ecstatic. This is the best my left leg has felt in a couple of years," said Peterson, of LeRoy.

Peterson is one of an estimated 25 million Americans who suffer from varicose veins, a condition caused by venous reflux disease.

The condition develops when valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. As a result, vein valves will not close properly, leading to varicose veins, pain, swollen limbs, leg heaviness and fatigue, skin changes and ulcers.

"It is not just a cosmetic problem, especially when there are other risk factors involved," said Boros, of Surgical Associates of Traverse City.

Boros offers the fairly new treatment as an alternative to more invasive options. Often referred to as the "lunch break surgery," the procedure is performed with local anesthesia and allows most patients to resume normal activities within 1-2 days.

"It's quick, relatively painless and is performed right in the office. You can literally go back to work afterward," he said.

During the procedure — that took less than an hour in Peterson's case — a tiny catheter is inserted into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin.

Radiofrequency energy is used to deliver heat to the affected vein wall. As the thermal energy is delivered, the vein wall shrinks and the vein is sealed closed.

"By treating the trunk of the vein system, over time those varicose veins should shrink and eventually go away," Boros said.

Peterson sees any additional improvement from this point as a bonus.

"My leg is already 100 percent better than it was," he said.

VNUS Closure is FDA approved and is covered by most health insurance plans for patients diagnosed with venous reflux.

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