A local surgeon is excited about a safer, less damaging form of varicose vein treatment that's happening right now in Grand Junction.
Doctors with Surgical Associates of Western Colorado have been treating varicose veins for years, but new technology is making the procedure safer and offers faster recovery time.
Doctors use ultrasound mapping to determine the source of the varicose vein, and then they can view the inside of the vein as they close off the valve that's creating the problem.
A catheter is heated with energy from radio frequency until it's about 200 degrees Fahrenheit. The catheter is inserted into an I.V. that allows it to enter the leg easily.
But what sets this procedure apart from other methods, is the doctor's ability to monitor the heat coming off the catheter.
"This catheter has the advantage of reading the temperature at the tip of the catheter, the temperature that's in the vein, and we can keep a constant monitoring [so we know] that we're not too hot, not too cold, we're just perfect for closing the vein off," said Dr. Brad Baldwin, with Surgical Associates of Western Colorado.
Because the doctors can monitor the temperature of the catheter, it reduces the chance of blood clots and causes less tissue damage.
According to Dr. Baldwin, there's no disability associated with the new procedure either, you just have to wear a support hose around your leg for a few weeks following the procedure.
"You can go shopping the same day, or go to work the next morning," said Baldwin.
This type of procedure used to be deemed cosmetic so it was never covered by insurance. Dr. Balwin says that's no longer the case; it is a surgical procedure and can be used for treating more than just varicose veins.
Patients can use the surgery for discoloration in the legs or feet, swelling, or other problems associated with disorders like ulcers.
According to Dr. Baldwin, the procedure is safer for patients and offers less cosmetic complications and recovery time.
Baldwin says you'll receive anesthesia before the surgery and the most pain you'll feel is a little pin prick when they insert the catheter through the I.V.
For more information on the newest treatment of varicose veins, visit http://surgicalassociates-wco.com/.