Back In The Swing

Vein treatment relieves swollen, achy & heavy legs of “OrthoVenous” disease.

After earning an undergraduate degree in accounting from Boston College, David Drinkwater began his career as a CPA. After a few years, however, David returned to school at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts, where he earned a master’s degree in finance.

David Drinkwater

“During that time, I had an opportunity to teach, so once I got my graduate degree, I changed paths and joined the faculty at Boston College,” recounts David, now 84. “At the young age of 25, I became a college professor.

“I taught at Boston College for three years, then realized that even though I was a CPA and had a graduate degree, I really needed a doctorate. So after I got married, I headed off to Michigan for a honeymoon and joined the PhD program in economics at Michigan State University. Once I completed the program at Michigan State, I became a professor at the University of Maryland. I stayed there for a while, then transferred back to the Boston area, where I ended up as a professor at Babson College and retired from there.”

David left teaching in the mid-1990s, but that didn’t stop him from working. Rather, he began a wealth management firm and helped people manage their finances and various endowments until 2004, when he officially retired.

“I took up golf, and I passed the examination to be a golf instructor in 2011,” David relates. “As an instructor, I did a lot of standing and walking on golf ranges and courses, and after about three years my legs were shot. Walking long distances became troublesome.”

The trouble was worse in David’s left leg and he ultimately underwent surgery to replace his left knee. But the surgery did little to ease the discomfort that plagued both legs.

“By May 2015, my legs just weren’t working well,” David recalls. “They felt very heavy, like I had two logs below my knees, and I had to lug those logs from point A to point B.

There were no sharp pains, but my legs were achy. My condition got progressively worse until early August 2020, when walking 20 feet was almost impossible.

“I heard about compression stockings and tried them because I thought they might help. I also tried orthotics in my shoes and even considered replacing the tile floor in my home. I thought walking on the hard tile might be the cause of my problem.

“Then, I read about Dr. Magnant treating another patient like me, who had a heavy feeling in his legs. I attributed my problem to getting old, but after reading about this patient, I thought, Here’s a younger man with the same symptoms as me. So, I gave Dr. Magnant a call.”

Joseph G. Magnant, MD, is a board-certified vascular surgeon at Vein Specialists in Fort Myers and Bonita Springs. Dr. Magnant is dedicated to the modern and comprehensive evaluation of leg vein disorders and the most advanced minimally invasive treatments.

The first step Dr. Magnant took with David was to order an ultrasound of both legs. The results showed David had a condition called venous insufficiency.

“Venous insufficiency exists when the one-way valves in the leg veins that return blood from the lower legs to the heart do not close tightly,” Dr. Magnant explains. “That allows blood to leak and then pool in the lower legs, creating high pressure in the veins. That pressure leads to the signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency, which include the leg achiness and heaviness like what David experienced.”

First Things First

Dr. Magnant says David’s situation is a classic example of orthovenous disease, in which orthopedic disease and vein disease coexist.

“People with orthovenous disease often benefit from having a vein evaluation and possible intervention prior to orthopedic surgery,” Dr. Magnant states. “It has been observed that patients who have venous insufficiency treated before knee replacement may experience less postoperative swelling, a reduced risk for blood clots and improved response to physical therapy, all of which improve their outcome.

“We are very fortunate in our area of Southwest Florida to have so many well-informed orthopedic surgeons who understand the importance of working together to treat their patients’ vein disease prior to total knee or hip replacement.

“Two days after Dr. Magnant finished treating my right leg, I was back out playing golf again.” – David

To treat David’s venous insufficiency, Dr. Magnant chose an endovenous ablation procedure called ClosureFAST, a thermal treatment that uses radiofrequency heat to seal damaged leaking veins. By sealing the diseased veins, blood flow is naturally redirected to healthier veins, which reduces venous pooling in the legs and improves the symptoms and signs of venous insufficiency.

“When we do an endovenous ablation, we typically use heat from one of two sources: either radiofrequency, which is the ClosureFAST technique, or laser,” Dr. Magnant clarifies. “The laser we use is the VenaCure EVLT® System. The heat source chosen is based on the individual patient’s leg and vein anatomy.

“The other endovenous closure technique we offer is the VenaSeal® Closure System. VenaSeal uses a medical adhesive that forms a polymer with the blood and creates a cork-like plug inside the veins to seal them.”

After undergoing vein treatment by Dr. Magnant, David played his best round of golf in 10 years.

Return to Form

“On my left leg, which was worse than my right leg, Dr. Magnant did an ablation of the great saphenous vein,” David describes. “Then a week later, he performed the same procedure on my right leg. I’ll be going back to have the small veins treated.

“What’s amazing is that two days after Dr. Magnant finished treating my right leg, I was back out playing golf again. And I played the best round I’ve played since I moved to Florida 10 years ago. My legs now feel like they did back in 2004, when I first started golfing.

“As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Magnant is at the top of the list of medical providers,” the retired professor adds. “He’s extremely knowledgeable, and he’s a super guy as well. When I was getting my procedures, he kept a running conversation going with me about my life. It relaxed me so I didn’t even know anything was being done.

“I’ve had other operations, including knee and hip surgeries, but Dr. Magnant’s vein procedure is the easiest medical operation I’ve ever had.”

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    • Vein Specialists

      Vein Specialists is 100 percent dedicated to identifying and treating vein disorders. Led by Dr. Joseph G. Magnant, they understand that the venous system varies between patients and consists of both deep and superficial venous systems and a net... Read More

    • Joseph G. Magnant, MD, FACS, RPVI

      Joseph G. Magnant, MD, FACS, RPVI, is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is board certified by the American Board of Surgery in vascular surgery. He earned his medical degree from Medical College of Virginia. He completed a g... Read More