My medical lessons for the day!

Today was my appointment at the hospital for a [I forget what it was technically called, but basically, an ultrasound on the veins in my leg to see if they were working correctly or not]. Interestingly, once I saw the machine and sat down, I realized I had already had this same procedure back in Virginia at Bethesda (2002ish)—so, apparently at the time, they had determined nothing was wrong??

Anyway, for the most part, the veins in my leg are okay—no deep vein issues, everything was superficial. However, the tech did find one vein that doesn’t seem to be working properly—it’s not horrible, but it is definitely why I’m feeling pain again in my lower leg. (And no, it’s not at all related to the sprain I had.)

So where does the medical lesson come in?

Well, since I had a captive audience :>> I asked the tech a few questions. Yes, I could ask my doctor, but I always seem to forget what I want to ask (I know, I know—I should write everything down) so I figured why not ask the guy who was running a wand over my leg and explaining everything he was doing. :)) (He was awesome, by the way.)

I learned that during my previous surgery (microinvasive phlebectomy, if I remember correctly) what happened was that they made a bunch of micro cuts, pulled out the vein via a fishhook type device, and tied off the bad vein(s). I am sure I knew this part at one time. However, what I didn’t know is what happened to the blood that ran through those veins. I always sort of wondered what happened to it—where it went if the veins were tied off. Well, now I know: apparently the body is such an amazing thing that it creates new veins or seeks out alternate veins that may not have been used before (much like blocking off a riverbed—the water has to find somewhere to flow!).

I asked why this was happening again, since I had surgery for this very thing two years ago. He said they could have missed one bad vein the first time, and it just took this long to become a problem…or another vein just went bad. Another surgery could fix it completely, or I could be going through this every so often.

I also learned that weight really doesn’t have that much to do with the problems I am having. He said that bad veins are mainly hereditary and can happen to anyone at any time.

So, the gist of the appointment is that the problem vein is a perfect candidate for a newer type of surgery that the doc will have to decide on—instead of cutting into the leg to tie off the veins, they do an RF something-or-other [I looked it up, and I think it’s Radiofrequency Ablation of Saphenous Vein] and make one incision, insert a catheter into the vein, and through the magic of science, when they pull the catheter out it seals up the vein like a zipper. It is much less invasive than the other surgery.

Radiofrequency Ablation of Saphenous Vein

So, my next appointment is April 9, when the doctor will tell me what’s what and if I will be having surgery, and which surgery I will be having.

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