New statistics show that it is time to rethink varicose veins or any problems causing pain and discomfort in the legs. An alarming 30 million Americans suffer from venous disease, including varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).
"Less than two million of those seek treatment each year, and the vast majority remains undiagnosed and untreated," said Dr. Randall S. Juleff of the Vein Clinics of Hawai'i in Wailea.
Dr. Juleff and Dr. Shelby K. Bailey, founders of the Vein Clinics of Hawai'i in the Wailea Health and Wellness Center, have over 50 years of combined experience treating venous disease, and have been involved in the newest techniques of modern vein care. Over the last 10 years, they have treated thousands of patients at their Mainland clinics, and throughout Hawai'i.
Dr. Randall Juleff is triple-board-certified in phlebology, general surgery, cardiovascular and thoracic surgery. In addition to his practice experience, he has written numerous journal publications, made scientific presentations, and has given lectures on cardiac and vascular topics.
"We are now pleased to offer this high-quality vein care to the Maui community," said Dr. Juleff.
Both physicians are board-certified surgeons, and both are fully certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. Their shared specialty in the field of phlebology, the study of veins and venous diseases and disorders, brings newer procedures to patients in a comfortable office setting.
"The current techniques provide little or no discomfort," said Dr. Juleff, who has written numerous journal publications, made scientific presentations and has given lectures on cardiac and vascular topics.
"Once thought of as only cosmetic procedures, the truth is that varicose and spider veins may be the sign of an underlying problem," Dr. Juleff said.
Varicose veins, gnarled and swollen blood vessels beneath the skin's surface, can have negative health implications. If the body mistakes varicose veins' weakened walls for an injury, a blood clot could form.
"In fact, suffering from aching legs, leg and ankle swelling or cramping, itching or rash on the lower leg, unsightly varicose veins, leg ulceration, etc., should prompt a vein screening at the Vein Clinics of Hawai'i," Dr. Juleff said.
CVI is a chronic condition that involves a backwards flow of blood through the veins in the leg as a result of a failed valve. As your leg muscles squeeze, they push blood back to the heart from the lower body against the flow of gravity. Veins have valves that act as one-way flaps to prevent blood from flowing backwards as it moves up the legs.
"As a result, if blood cannot flow back to the heart, it begins to build up in the legs," said Dr. Juleff. "Leg veins have the toughest job of carrying blood back to the heart because they endure the most pressure."
"In addition, this can progress to permanent skin damage, discoloration and skin ulcers," he added.
Dr. Juleff and Dr. Bailey are now able to resolve many of these problems completely in an outpatient setting with no time lost from work or normal activities.
Both doctors have been inspired to a great extent by the tremendous improvement in the technological advances that have occurred over the past several years in the treatment of venous disease.
"The older methods have become nearly archaic," said Dr. Bailey, who has trained other physicians in the latest techniques of vein care and treatment.
"The newer, minimally invasive techniques offer patients a nearly pain-free approach," he said.
One such procedure is Venefit Closure. As mentioned, venous reflux or CVI develops when the valves that usually keep blood flowing out of your legs become damaged or diseased.
"The traditional method of treatment was to remove (stripping) the damaged vein from your leg with an operation," said Dr. Bailey. This had to be done in the hospital and often required several weeks of painful recovery.
"The Venefit Closure procedure is less invasive," he said. "The diseased vein is permanently closed in an outpatient setting."
Sclerotherapy is used to correct unwanted and unsightly veins in both large and small size. From the small purple veins to the largest ropey varicose veins, sclerotherapy is a procedure in which a sclerosing solution is directly injected into the vein with a very small needle followed by compression at the site of the injection.
"This causes the vein to close and the body to naturally remove it," Dr. Bailey said.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy is another method of removing varicose veins on the surface of the legs. This procedure is for medium to large varicose veins and is done in the office under local anesthesia.
Superficial varicose veins and blood clots are both hereditary conditions; however, you can help prevent each by exercising on a regular basis, because that increases circulation and strengthens the tissue supporting your veins.
"It is also important to avoid sitting, standing or crossing your legs for more than one hour at a time," both doctors agreed.
Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart. Venous reflux disease and CVI are progressive, and symptoms can worsen over time if left untreated.
Dr. Juleff and Dr. Bailey offer the community free vein screenings on an ongoing basis. To set up an appointment, call (808) 214-5715.
"Insurance covers most of the procedures done here," they said.