Minimally Invasive Laser Treatment Helps Man Stand Up To Varicose Veins
After standing long hours making presentations for his job as a salesman, Don Zale of Lake Orion couldn't wait to sit down and rest his leg.
"After working my right leg started to ache a lot. The pain made me very tired," said Zale, 65.
Zale endured chronic pain and cramping in his leg due to varicose veins for more than 20 years.
Varicose veins are twisted, inflated vessels due to faulty valves. They most commonly develop in the legs and feet because of increased pressure in veins when standing and walking.
Varicose veins and spider veins - a common, mild variation - are a cosmetic concern for many people. For other people, like Zale, varicose veins can cause pain and discomfort.
The Lake Orion man had heard of vein treatments from his doctor before, but didn't want to undergo vein stripping surgery. Then his neighbor, a Beaumont Hospital, Troy ultrasound technician, referred him to interventional radiologist Michael Bischoff, M.D. Dr. Bischoff specializes in vein ablation (removal) using a laser at the Troy hospital.
Luanne Knoth, the Beaumont ultrasound technician, had received the vein ablation treatment herself from Dr. Bischoff and highly recommended it to Zale. After meeting Zale, Dr. Bischoff concluded the salesman was a good candidate to undergo the vein ablation procedure to treat his varicose veins.
"With vein ablation, there is a very brief recovery time. The patient can return to normal activity except for strenuous exercise and heavy lifting immediately. Walking is highly recommended," said Dr. Bischoff. "The whole process takes approximately one hour with minimal discomfort. All patients walk out of the hospital shortly after the procedure is completed. There is a very low risk of complications."
The vein ablation procedure directs laser energy to damaged tissue. As the energy is delivered, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins, causing the varicose veins to close.
Unlike vein stripping, vein ablation is minimally invasive. The laser entry point to the target area is so small stitches are not required.
"Dr. Bischoff and his staff were very caring through the whole process," said Zale. "I wish this procedure had been available 20 years ago. It was wonderful. I immediately felt that the majority of the pain was relieved. Ever since the procedure, I've had only minimal cramping and the pain is completely gone."