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Leg vein treatment helps Batavia man rebuild strength after stroke

As a project manager working on a multimillion-dollar deal, Shawn Samii knew his health was taking a backseat.

Still, no one was as surprised as Shawn when he suffered a stroke at the age of 45.

The married father of two went from a busy travel schedule packed with high-stress meetings to being unable to talk, walk or even swallow. It was a humbling time as he learned basic life skills once again, but Shawn came out of it more determined than ever to regain his independence.

Just months after the stroke, Shawn began working with a personal trainer. He was lifting weights, building his strength and seeing results.

After a while, however, his right leg would ache at night after his workouts. He got a tattoo on his calf and it took twice as long as it should have to heal. Eventually, the pain in his leg was significant enough that he couldn’t lift weights like he used to – and that wasn’t OK with Shawn. He needed the exercise if he wanted full mobility to return.

With his leg clearly swollen, he visited a doctor who didn’t have many answers. Worse, he didn’t have a treatment. Shawn knew the doctor’s suggestion of wearing compression socks for months wouldn’t heal him quickly enough to achieve his stroke recovery goals. He needed more.

That’s when he visited Dr. Rimas Gilvydis at Gilvydis Vein Clinic and had a vastly different experience.

“Not only did they do the ultrasound that day, they explained exactly what happened and came up with a treatment plan,” he said.

What happened was that the valves in Shawn’s veins were leaking blood, and that caused his pain. The solution was a two-part procedure – one on the lower leg and one on the upper leg. Dr. Gilvydis noted that Shawn’s stroke history had no effect on the development of varicose vein disease. The condition is inherited and only affects veins in the legs.

The stroke also didn’t affect his ability to receive treatment. Shawn had endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) performed on the varicose veins in his right leg. Multiple catheters were inserted into the varicose veins, through which a laser fiber was inserted into each catheter separately, Dr. Gilvydis explained. Once the varicose vein to be treated was numbed in its entirety, energy transmitted through the laser was slowly retracted (along with the catheter), and the vein was permanently sealed (ablated).

The first procedure happened within a month of Shawn’s initial visit to the clinic, and he appreciated the aggressive timeline that would get him back to a healthy life.

“I found the right team to help me,” Shawn said. “Anything I needed, they provided. They were fantastic.”

What is Phlebitis?

Our veins do quite a bit of work during the course of our lives. They have a big responsibility to transport blood back to the heart in order to keep us alive. But sometimes these blood vessels become inflamed which can cause problems with circulation and uncomfortable symptoms. We’re talking about phlebitis.

The Causes of Phlebitis

Phlebitis is a term used to describe inflammation in a vein. The term means vein (phleb) inflammation (itis). It is typically found in a limb, usually the leg, and it can be superficial (in veins just under the skin) or in deep tissue.

Superficial phlebitis is usually found in the veins just under the surface of the skin. It can require treatment but isn’t a life-threatening condition. Phlebitis can be caused by:

  • Trauma or injury to the vein
  • Varicose veins
  • Undiagnosed cancers or clotting disorders
  • IV (intravenous) catheters or IV drug use
  • Surgery
  • Being hospitalized or bed-ridden for a long period of time

Phlebitis can also be caused by a blood clot in the veins, called thrombophlebitis. If the blood clot is in the deep veins of the leg, the condition is called deep vein thrombosis or DVT. This condition can be life-threatening and lead to a pulmonary embolism.

Thrombophlebitis and deep vein thrombosis can be caused by sitting in one position for long periods of time such as during a flight. This allows the blood to pool in the veins, making the blood coagulate and form a clot.

Symptoms of Phlebitis

Phlebitis can occur in the leg or arm and can be asymptomatic meaning you may not have any symptoms of the condition at all. But most people have some symptoms that usually occur near the affected vein. Symptoms can include:

  • Tenderness
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • A warm sensation on the skin
  • Pain in the calf or thigh that worsens when walking or flexing the leg (if the cause is a DVT)

You may also feel something that feels like a cord or rope under the skin or see a streak (or streaks) of red on the skin. All of these symptoms will usually occur near the affected vein.

Phlebitis Treatment

Treatment options for phlebitis can vary depending on the severity of the condition and if there is a DVT. But the treatment of superficial phlebitis can include:

  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications (ibuprofen, diclofenac)
  • Elevation of the affected limb
  • Warm compresses
  • Walking
  • Topical anti-inflammatory medications (Voltaren gel)

More extensive phlebitis or deep vein thrombosis may be treated with:

Do you think you may have phlebitis? Then you need the best vein doctor in the Chicago area. We have two convenient locations in Illinois, so contact us today to make an appointment.

New Year, New Goals

With the arrival of the New Year, you may have determined resolutions for self-improvement. Some of these commitments may involve sticking to a healthier diet, making exercise a regular routine or finding the time to better connect with family and friends. The most popular resolutions are generally related to improving physical health and appearance, with the hopes of a new and improved self. Odds are, you’ve made a similar plan yourself, with a new goal of getting the look and lifestyle you’ve always wanted.

However, you may have forgotten an important element of your self-confidence and positive self-image: your veins. For those with vein issues, such as varicose veins, the effect on their physical appearance can be debilitating. You may find yourself refusing to wear summer clothing like shorts as the weather warms or feeling uncomfortable donning a swimsuit for a day at the pool. In addition, some people with varicose veins experience symptoms such as itching, pain, or swelling, which can take away from the enjoyment of daily life.

Resolving vein issues is easier than ever

The good news is that with the new technology available today, the best treatment for varicose veins comes in many different forms, with plenty of options for patients to find their perfect fit. Compared to even five to ten years ago, the advancements in varicose vein surgery and other treatments is astounding. Resolving your vein issues is easier than ever, and there is no reason to wait any longer. Plus, if you tackle your vein issues early in the year, you will be ready to debut a confident new you come spring and summer! Imagine being able to slip into a comfortable pair of shorts without a second thought and absolutely zero worry about embarrassing varicose veins.

Make your dream become a reality

Several innovative vein treatments can make this dream a reality for you, and the options are minimally invasive and highly successful. Here are just a few of the exciting new varicose vein treatments available today:

• Vein Mapping: Ultrasound vein mapping is often the first step taken before any combination of endovenous laser ablation/treatment and sclerotherapy. In order to properly diagnose, locate, and gauge the severity of problematic veins, vein mapping is used to give the doctor a clear understanding of the best way to treat your specific case. During vein mapping, certified ultrasound technicians use high-frequency sound waves to measure blood flow and examine the veins, which then allows the doctor to pinpoint any areas where the blood flow is not at the proper levels. By using this technique, the doctor can develop a minimally invasive plan, avoiding healthy veins and only focusing on problematic areas.

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA/EVLT): Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), also commonly referred to as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), is a laser vein treatment that allows varicose veins to be treated with a simple laser catheter. EVLA is a minimally invasive method that comes with less risk than traditional vein surgery, and a very low rate of complications.

During the procedure, the doctor closes the varicose veins using the heat and light from the laser and then redirects the blood flow to healthy veins. The varicose veins will retreat from the surface of the skin once they have been sealed, and any other related symptoms should be resolved as well.

Patients are often surprised that EVLA is a fairly short procedure, with no scarring and little to no discomfort. In fact, with EVLA/EVLT, you can drive yourself home after the procedure and return to your daily routine the very same day.

Sclerotherapy: Sclerotherapy is often used in conjunction with endovenous laser ablation. EVLA/EVLT uses laser vein therapy to correct the main problematic veins and sclerotherapy is then used to fix any tributary veins that are also nonfunctional. With sclerotherapy, the doctor takes a proactive approach towards these tributary veins, preventing them from turning into varicose veins in the future. It is an effective technique that requires very little recovery time, as the doctor simply injects a liquid sclerosing agent to close down the problematic veins.

At Gilvydis Vein Clinic, our experienced staff works together with Dr. Rimas Gilvydis to provide patients with only the best varicose vein treatments. Dr. Gilvydis has completed more than 20,000 vein treatments, changing the lives of patients with his expertise, refined techniques and cutting-edge treatments.

If you are interested in learning more about your options for varicose vein treatment, contact us to schedule your free screening today. We will be more than happy to help you find the perfect varicose vein treatment so that you can look and feel good all year long.