A referring physician from a neighboring state recently sent a new patient of his who suffered from recurrent phlebitis, or superficial blood clots, in the right leg. For ten years the patient had been told by four other physicians that nothing could be done, and that she should just “wait it out.”
Surface clots usually involve varicose veins and typically do not pose the same serious threat as deep vein clots (DVT – deep vein thrombosis). When a patient is found to have a DVT, immediate intervention takes place. Anticoagulants or blood thinners are started to prevent clots from migrating to the heart or lungs, which could potentially result in a complicated or even fatal outcome.
The patient said that none of her prior physicians had performed a full leg examination; therefore, no one had discovered that she had venous insufficiency leading to elevated pressures in the skin veins. This is the usual cause of varicose veins and venous hypertension. Blood clots are one of the known risks of varicose veins, in addition to leg swelling, skin changes, and even leg ulcers.
Now that the source of her problem is defined, we can use thermal ablation either Cooltouch laser or Venefit radiofrequency to noninvasively treat the refluxing saphenous vein, normalize the pressures in the surface veins of the leg, and significantly reduce her risk of repeated bouts of phlebitis.
This example is a recurring account which many of our patients experience prior to seeking advice from an experienced and well-established venous disease specialist. At Minnesota Vein Center, Dr. Pal has over 20 years of experience, and is a diplomate of the American Board of Lymphatic and Venous Medicine (ABVLM). Our specialty vein center focuses on a very comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan for patients with venous disease.