News & Articles

Office Cancellations | Covid-19

due to covid-19 MVC temporarily closed

Due to the March 25th Stay-At-Home Executive Order  from Governor Walz , all MVC scheduled visits and procedures have  been postponed through mid April.  Minnesota Vein Center will remain closed through April 10th.  All scheduled patients will be notified upon the the discontinuation of this order for the purpose of rescheduling.

You may call 651-765-8346 if you have an urgent concern or if you need to leave a message.  Please watch this site for updates and for information regarding the schedule for upcoming months.

Gov. Tim Walz, March 25, 2020   


Spring 2020 Scholarship

Minnesota Vein Center has awarded Maria Diaz of Plano Illinois, the Healthy Living Scholarship award monies – Spring 2020.  Maria is a Freshman student at Loyola University, Chicago and is majoring in Psychology. She is on the pre-med track and plans to become a neurologist.  Maria has an interest and will be involved in research.  Congratulations Maria!

VenaSeal™ Closure System. Fast and Simple.

What Is VenaSeal™?

The VenaSeal™ closure system is a newer treatment for varicose veins that seals bad veins with a medical adhesive. It is the only procedure that uses a medical glue to permanently close abnormal saphenous veins. The procedure is very safe and minimally invasive.

VenaSeal™ received FDA approval in 2015, and our office was one of the first in Minnesota to offer this treatment.venaseal

How Does It Work?

We will first use a local anesthetic to numb the point of insertion, which is usually in the lower part of the leg or ankle area. Once you are numb, we will insert the catheter and run it to the affected vein.

We will then put a tiny amount of VenaSeal™ medical glue into the abnormal vein under ultrasound guidance. After the vein closes, blood will flow to the healthy veins in the leg. Once the vein has been glued shut, it will harden and the body will eventually absorb it.

What Are the Benefits of VenaSeal™?

A major benefit of this treatment is that it does not need a nerve block or lots of anesthesia. You also won’t need to take any drugs before the procedure.

Unlike heat-based procedures such as EVLT or RFA, with VenaSeal there is minimal risk of nerve damage or burning your skin.

Another benefit of VenaSeal™ is that it only requires one needle stick. This reduces discomfort and recovery time for the patient and results in little to no bruising. You won’t need compression therapy after the procedure and should be able to quickly get back to your life.

Is VenaSeal™ Right for Me?

Treatment of varicose veins is a complex process and every patient is unique. If you are suffering from symptomatic varicose veins, you should schedule a consultation with us. Together we can come up with the best treatment plan for you.

You can fill out the contact form, or call us at 651-765-8346.   We are here to help you get the healthier legs you deserve.

What is a Free Vein Screening

Vein disease is not always obvious.  You may not have large bulging veins (or varicosities) but instead have other symptoms of venous disease.  For this reason, we offer our quarterly vein screening event.  So what are the signs and symptoms of venous or vein disease?

Signs and symptoms

The most common and obvious sign of vein disease are bulging varicose veins.  As noted, this is far from the only sign or symptom.  Blood return to the heart occurs via our veins.  Veins have one-way valves that keep blood moving up towards the heart.  When valves fail, blood is allowed to flow backward in the vein.  The extra pressure and lactic acid build up can cause leg pain, achiness, leg heaviness, restless legs, ankle swelling and itching.  When this problem is advanced, skin discoloration and skin ulcerations may occur.  When any one of these signs or symptoms are present, an ultrasound evaluation is used to evaluate the veins.

Ultrasound Evaluation

With ultrasound, we can determine the direction and the velocity of the blood flow in the veins.  Ultrasound is painless, sound waves that are too high a frequency to be heard by the human ear.  These sound waves travel through the skin and bounce back off structures in the body to produce an image.  Doppler ultrasound is used to measure the blood flow in vessels.  Sound waves are bounced off circulating blood cells, allowing us to measure the direction of flow.

During a free vein screening, the ultrasonographer will evaluate two of the main sources of vein disease, the great saphenous vein and the small saphenous vein.  The technician will apply ultrasound gel to the leg and place the ultrasound probe on the leg.  Then, the veins are evaluated and the patient is informed of any present vein disease.

Screening Events

Minnesota Vein Center offers screening  9 am- 5 pm during one of our screening events which are held three times per year.   The screenings are held on the specified weekdays between hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We also offer online varicose vein self-assessments.  These online assessments allow for quick access to a provider to share your concerns and to ask questions.

To see when our next screening event is, or to request a free varicose vein screening, visit our free screening sign up page.

Free Vein Screening, Monday June 17th / Monday June 24th

Red vintage bicycle with basket and flowers lleaning against wooden fence at beach.

Red vintage bicycle with basket and flowers lleaning against wooden fence at beach.

Call 651-765-8346 to schedule

June,  Monday’s Vein Screening Events.

Monday, June 17th, and June 24th


Screening includes brief history, exam,  modified venous ultrasound and info.

Request  date(s) and preferred times below.




This event has ended. The next Quarterly Free Vein Screening offerings will be announced this August.

Thank you to everyone who made this screening a success. Check back often for more vein screening opportunities.  Follow updates through our newsletter.



What Causes Brown Spots / Ankles

Leg with swollen ankles and protruding veinsPatients or their family members call to ask about the discoloration they have on one or both of their lower legs or  ankles.  Many patients with vein problems or varicose veins are told, “If your veins don’t bother you, no treatment is needed.”   Because of confusing information, these people do not seek the advice from a vein specialist and are shocked when they begin developing leg problems, such as:

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs
  • A brownish discoloration of the skin near the ankles
  • Thickening of the skin of the ankles
  • Open sores on the inner or outer ankles

Vein disorders develop because the one-way valves in the veins have stopped working.   In superficial veins, vein walls weaken and stretch, valves then malfunction and pressure in the lower leg increases due to the downward flow of the blood.  This high pressure, along with the weakness in the vein wall, causes fluid to seep out of the veins, resulting in swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs.

  • Small brown spots develop as red blood cells within the blood, release iron into the tissues.  This may present as a small brown spot but eventually the entire ankle or lower leg becomes brown.  This is known as hyperpigmentation.
  • If the area then turns red, the condition is called dermatitis.
  • As the entire lower leg becomes discolored, the skin may become thickened, hard or leathery.  This is known as lipodermatosclerosis.

How is this related to brown spots or skin discoloration?

These skin changes occur when the pressure in the veins has become dangerously high.  The pressure affects the health of the skin.  If the underlying vein is not corrected, the skin can break down and an open sore or ulceration can appear, even without trauma.  This is called a venous ulceration.

If you or someone you know has ankle swelling or skin changes, you should see a Vein Specialist.  The specialist will perform a quick and painless ultrasound exam.  This will clearly show whether you have veins that are allowing blood to move in the wrong direction, and just how severe your situation may be. Be certain to have these symptoms treated before they progress to ulcerations.





Mothers and Varicose Veins

Adult mother giving her mother flowers on mother's day

mother playing with her child, grandmother watching

Why do women get varicose veins?

Women and men both develop varicose veins but when looking closely at the scientific studies we learn that women tend to be at a higher risk than men for developing, bulging, dark, and painful vessels.  The reason may very well be associated with the hormone progesterone.  Progesterone is produced by men as well as by women, but levels are much higher in women.  Studies indicate pregnant women with varicose veins had higher progesterone levels compared to pregnant women, during the same trimester, with lower progesterone levels, and who had no varicose veins.

Other studies which look closely or microscopically at the saphenous vein wall, the large veins that begin to enlarge in both men and women then causing smaller varicose veins and spider veins, actually have special progesterone receptors. These sensors make the vein wall more sensitive to the effects of the progesterone hormone.

How does progesterone cause varicose veins?

Not only does the hormone progesterone contribute to the regulation of menstruation and the reproductive cycle, it affects bone health and causes blood vessel walls to relax.  When vein walls relax the vein valve moving blood upwards also begins to relax.  The blood flowing backward then exerts pressure on the vein wall pushing on the sides of the vessel, making them weak.  Since women have significantly higher levels of progesterone than men, researchers believe this is one reason women are more prone to developing varicose veins.

There are many factors which affect the risks of developing varicose veins.  Awareness of the hormone factor, pregnancy and genetics and more, may help to understand the mothers and the female predisposition.  Regardless of gender, though, varicose veins cause discomfort.  Left untreated, varicose veins can cause more serious problems.

Keeping closely aware of your personal leg vein health, is important.  Allowing easily treated vein conditions to worsen can result in complications of skin discoloration, skin thickening and leg ulcers.  Throughout May,  we recognize women and mothers and May will be dedicated to public awareness at our Minnesota Vein Center, North Oaks/Twin Cities office.  Call for a consultation with Dr. Pal.