Varicose Veins And Swollen Legs? We Can Help!

Christina Naylor was essentially forced into retirement by the COVID-19 pandemic. She lost her job as a receptionist for a certified public accounting firm and later opted not to seek another position. She worked for the firm for four years.

“My legs feel great. The swelling and bulging veins are all cleared up.” – Christina

“Before that, I had the same type of job for an office that manages condo and homeowners associations,” Christina shares. “I live in a condo and was a board member on a condo association. When that position became available, I thought it would be a good fit, and I just blended into that position.

“Although, I switched industries when I moved to the CPA firm, I used the same customer service skills when talking on the phone and greeting visitors at the front door. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, it’s all customer service. You must have a smile on your face while taking care of people.”

Now that she’s retired, Christina, 73, enjoys the company of friends, often going out to restaurants for meals, although she does watch what she eats. She also exercises at home every day and attends a chair yoga class twice a week. Despite her best efforts to stay healthy, Christina experienced some uncomfortable issues with her legs.

“I noticed a few little spots that were protruding a bit,” she describes. “Instead of being smooth like a tabletop, the skin on my legs had little bulges in it. The tissue itself was sticking up. It didn’t look right. My legs also started to ache, which limited how long I could be on my feet.

“My legs were swollen, especially around my ankles and three or four inches up into my calves. My father had vascular problems and heart disease that went untreated, and he died at 47. When I realized what my symptoms were, I knew it was time to find a vascular surgeon and get some professional guidance.”

Fortunately, Christina knew from experience whom to consult: Joseph Magnant, MD, 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 uses the most advanced minimally invasive techniques to diagnose and treat them.

“Christina had a long history of venous disease,” Dr. Magnant reports. “We performed a vein closure procedure on her years ago, and she returned to us in 2021 with recurrent venous problems. This time, she had varicose veins, swelling and a few areas of skin inflammation on her legs.

“With venous disease, not all veins necessarily leak at the same time. Ultrasound is the key exam to determine which leg veins are currently compromised. With Christina, the great saphenous vein, the longest vein in the body, had previously been closed. The updated ultrasound revealed that her anterior saphenous vein, a branch next to the great saphenous, was leaking and feeding some large varicose veins in her thigh.”

Combination Treatment

With venous disease, or venous insufficiency, the one-way valves in leg veins that normally keep blood moving upward toward the heart become damaged, and blood refluxes backward in the vein. This causes high venous pressure that, over time, causes fluid to leak out from the vein and leads to signs and symptoms, including varicose veins, swelling, heaviness and fatigue.

“To eliminate these symptoms, we have to fix the source of the pressure underneath,” Dr. Magnant explains. “In the past, a procedure called vein stripping was used. Vein stripping was an invasive procedure that was performed in the hospital under general anesthesia using large incisions. The procedure often resulted in complications, such as bleeding, infection and the formation of blood clots.

“Today’s technology uses ultrasound-guided needle access to the veins through tiny punctures in the skin. It is much less invasive, significantly safer and yields far superior results than vein stripping ever did.”

Dr. Magnant determines which minimally invasive treatment to use based on certain anatomical considerations, including the size and length of the vein. For Christina’s great saphenous vein, he chose radiofrequency ablation, which seals using heat from radiofrequency energy.

“We used an endovenous laser ablation technique called VenaCure EVLT® to seal Christina’s anterior saphenous vein,” Dr. Magnant explains. “Then I used microphlebectomy, the removal of varicose veins through a series of tiny incisions, to remove the varicose veins in her thigh.

“The combination of VenaCure EVLT and microphlebectomy, which can be performed at the same time, reduced the pressure in Christina’s leg veins and eliminated the varicose veins, swelling, heaviness, achiness and other symptoms of her venous disease.”

The most commonly recognized sign of venous insufficiency, according to Dr. Magnant, is varicose veins. Many people have had varicose veins for years but only pursue treatment when they become symptomatic. Dr. Magnant recommends seeking evaluation and treatment sooner rather than later.

“Patients shouldn’t wait for the complications of venous disease, such as the breakdown of the skin or venous ulcers, before they have their varicose veins assessed,” he stresses. “Our goal is to be proactive rather than reactive. Ultrasound allows us to investigate vein problems early so we can be proactive with treatment.”

Dr. Magnant’s friendly demeanor in the procedure room kept Christina comfortable.

“He has a gift for putting you at ease with conversation while he’s doing the procedures,” she reveals. “This acts as a form of anesthesia because it’s a distraction so you’re not uneasy with what’s going on. During our conversations, I learned about him and he learned about me. I enjoyed that very much.”

Outstanding Care

Christina responded remarkably well to her most recent vein treatment.

“My legs feel great,” she says “The swelling and bulging are all cleared up. Once the leaky veins were treated, the fluid could leave my legs and the swelling went away. I still wear support hose every day because of my hereditary vein issues but I don’t mind. ”

The retired receptionist knows that if she needs additional treatment, she’ll be covered. Her health insurance covers most vein evaluations and treatments.

In addition to being pleased with the outcome of her treatment, Christina is also thrilled with the board-certified vascular surgeon who performed the procedures and the compassionate staff that supports him.

“Dr. Magnant is brilliant at what he does,” Christina raves. “I respect his expertise very much. And he has a wonderful staff. They interact with the patients. They get to know you. When you call or visit the office, they know who you are. That’s important to me.

“You go to a specialist because they’re experts in a particular treatment, but you stay with that specialist and office because you’re respected. I needed the procedures for my legs, but I got treated extremely well, and that’s a real bonus. The patient care at Vein Specialists is outstanding.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photo by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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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 Magnant, MD, FACS, RPVI, is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons and is certified in vascular surgery by the American Board of Surgery. He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia. He completed a genera... Read More