Miracle Worker

Minimally invasive procedure seals leaky leg veins, heals wounds.

Photo by Jordan Pysz.

Endovenous ablation helped get Larry back on his feet

After graduating college, Larry Thompson, 69, began looking for a place to begin his career and interviewed with several companies. He discovered the best match for his skills and temperament was at AT&T. As it turned out, Larry worked for AT&T in various capacities for nearly 44 years before retiring in October 2015.

“I held many different jobs with the company, including positions in customer service, finance, billing, revenue management, project management, marketing and marketing development,” Larry reveals. “All of them were good, growth assignments.

“I liked working at AT&T. It was a good company to work for. I wouldn’t have stayed for forty-plus years if it wasn’t. And I guess they liked me as well because they let me stay all those years.”

Retirement hasn’t been without its challenges for Larry. A serious illness and a related surgery that occurred while he was still working left Larry with a chronic condition that had an array of uncomfortable symptoms.

“At the beginning of 2004, I developed acute pancreatitis that required surgery to remove my pancreas,” Larry relates. “With that, I became an instant diabetic and experienced swelling in my legs, especially in my right leg. My doctor told me I would have to wear compression stockings for the rest of my life.

“Another problem for diabetics is that wounds don’t heal very well. And the farther away from the heart, the longer it takes for a wound to heal. When most people get wounds, they might heal within six days, but when I get a nick or scrape, it takes six weeks or longer, depending on how big and how serious the wound is.”

In January, Larry bumped his lower right leg and scraped off an area of skin. Predictably, the wound didn’t heal right away. Instead, it became worse and infected over time.

“Eventually, the wound started weeping, and it became excruciatingly painful,” he describes. “My leg swelled to twice the size of what it had been, and the compression stockings weren’t the answer.

“There’s a group of guys I bike with, and we ride ten miles a day four to five days a week. I also golf two to three times a week, and do regular yardwork and take care of the house. But when this happened, I could hardly walk across the room, so physical activity wasn’t an option. I could barely get to the restroom or the table because of the pain.”

When the pain from the wound began interfering with Larry’s routine activities, he sought a professional’s advice.

“I went to my primary care doctor, and she told me I had a serious issue and needed to see someone who could work on my leg,” Larry states. “She referred me to Dr. Rodriguez and Dr. Jeffry. I visited them that same day, and they took me in immediately. Dr. Jeffry said I definitely had leg issues, but they could fix them for me.”

Larry was evaluated by Rosana Rodriguez, DPM, at All About Feet & Legs in St. Augustine. When Dr. Rodriguez examined Larry, she speculated he had a serious problem with his leg veins.

“When I first saw Larry, he was experiencing leg fatigue, leg heaviness, swelling and pain in his legs,” Dr. Rodriguez recalls. “He also had history of cellulitis, which is an infection of the lower extremities. In addition, he had a painful ulceration on his right leg. I suspected he had a condition resulting from severe venous reflux and required treatment to close them.”

Pooled Blood

Dr. Rodriguez began her evaluation of Larry with Doppler ultrasound scans of his legs. The scans confirmed Dr. Rodriguez’s suspicions. Larry had a condition called venous insufficiency.

“Venous insufficiency, or venous reflux disease, occurs when the valves in the leg veins are compromised, so the veins cannot adequately pump blood upward toward the heart,” Dr. Rodriguez explains. “The valves keep blood flowing in one direction, toward the heart, so when they are compromised, blood flows backward, or refluxes, back to the ankles.

“Pooled blood in the leg veins causes symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, leg heaviness, leg cramps and eventually painful skin ulcers. Venous insufficiency also makes it more difficult to heal wounds.”

To treat Larry’s venous insufficiency, Dr. Rodriguez performed an endovenous ablation. This procedure closes the affected veins and reroutes the circulation to healthy veins so that symptoms improve.

“Endovenous ablation is a very simple, minimally invasive procedure that is performed in the office,” Dr. Rodriguez observes. “First, a catheter is inserted into the affected vein. Then the catheter is activated, and a controlled heat is created in the vein, which collapses the vein wall and seals the vein. As the catheter is removed, the vein is completely sealed.

“Closing the leaking veins causes the recirculation and return of venous blood flow through the healthy deep venous system, eliminating the venous reflux. This stops the damaging pressure on the area of ulcerated skin, healing the leg wounds.”

Recovery following endovenous ablation is fast and easy, and results are experienced quickly. Symptom improvement is seen almost immediately.

“Untreated chronic ulcers can take years to heal,” Dr. Rodriguez reports. “But once we close the veins that are affecting the particular ulcer area, the wounds heal within weeks. It’s amazing.”

“As Good As New”

Dr. Rodriguez discovered venous insufficiency in both of Larry’s legs and treated both, but Larry is especially pleased with how his right leg responded to treatment.

“My right leg is better than it’s been since I went into the hospital with pancreatitis,” he reports. “I have very little swelling in my leg, and there’s no wound. It’s all gone. It started healing within a week, and it was totally healed in about three weeks.”

With the wound healed, the pain disappeared as well, allowing Larry to return to his activities. He took precautions when necessary to keep the swelling in his legs at bay.

“I still wear the compression stockings when I bike and golf and when I’m on my feet for a long time,” Larry says. “But if I’m just at home in the afternoon or going out to dinner or another social activity, I don’t need the compression stockings.

“I feel wonderful,” Larry raves. “I biked ten miles this morning, and there’s no pain, no swelling. My legs are as good as new. The endovenous ablation procedures were very successful.

“I absolutely recommend this procedure to someone dealing with venous insufficiency or a venous ulcer. And I recommend Dr. Rodriguez and All About Feet and Legs to anyone in a similar situation as me. Dr. Rodriguez is definitely the person you want to have as your doctor. She worked miracles for me.”

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    • All About Feet & Legs

      When you have problems with your feet, you need to turn to a podiatrist who listens and responds ... an experienced doctor who knows the field and can effectively diagnose and treat your needs ... a friendly physician who counsels you on the b... Read More

    • Hany M. Jeffry, DPM, MBBS

      Hany M. Jeffry, DPM, MBBS, is board certified by the American Board of Multiple Specialists in Podiatry for primary care in podiatric medicine. Dr. Jeffry earned a Doctor of Medicine and Surgery degree (MBBS) from King Abdul Aziz Unive... Read More

    • Rosana Rodriguez, DPM, CWSP

      Rosana Rodriguez, DPM, CWSP, is board certified by the American Academy of Wound Management and by the American Podiatric Medical Specialties Board in prevention and treatment of diabetic foot wounds. She earned her undergraduate degree from t... Read More