CheckUp 13: Varicose Veins

CheckUp 13: Varicose Veins
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The emphasis of Checkup 13 this month is varicose veins and why the concern is more than cosmetic.

Cathy Fachini first noticed varicose veins eight years ago, but didn't seek treatment. They've gotten progressively worse to look at and live with.

"These stains will lighten up somewhat, but they will never go away. It is a permanent staining," said Dr. William Finkelmeier a vascular surgeon at VeinSolutions.

"If you wait, then you end up with this, the scarring and the pain. It's just one of those things I should have taken care of earlier and I just didn't," Fachini said.

It's better to get to it earlier, like Melanie Frauhiger, who now is weeks out from her venus closure procedure. Dr. Finkelmeier used endovenus ablation to shut down a leaky vein by using heat energy to seal it shut.

"Now remember you had that big, ropey vein coming down the interior part of your leg and it looks great now," Finkelmeier said.

Men and women get the unsightly veins caused by heredity and obesity, but women also get them after pregnancy.

"It's incredibly common. Millions and millions of Americans and I think a lot of people think it is just cosmetic, they don't do anything about it and then they come in and see us after they have a complication," Finkelmeier said. "I can't tell you how often I see people who went on a long plane ride who all of a sudden came in and get an acute clot in the varicose veins."

Melanie didn't want that risk and wanted to end the discomfort of swollen legs.

"My veins did not stop me from exercising, but it made it more painful," she said.

Insurance covered the cost and she has healed just in time for shorts season.

"I'm very happy with the way my leg looks, because the veins are gone. Now that it's summer, I can wear shorts confidently, I can wear my shorts when I walk on the Monon or I can wear a dress and feel good about how I look," Melanie said. "It's really made me feel a lot lighter in my step, so it's really worth it."

If you have veins that you would like an expert to see, you can do just that at one of several locations listed to the right of this story, thanks to St. Vincent Health and Checkup 13.

You may register online now on our website through midnight Thursday.  You can also call the hotline when it opens at 8:00 a.m. Thursday.

The number is 1-866-U-CHECK-13, or 1-866-824-3251.