Lifewatch: Varicose Veins

WILMINGTON -- Half of all men and women over the age of 50 have varicose veins.

These are veins that become damaged and fail to regulate blood flow from the legs to the heart.

They're bulging, unsightly, and can lead to fatigue and pain.

But now there's a treatment for varicose veins that has patients back to their routine faster than ever.

At Dave Schwartzman's house, Amelia the dog, has been doing all of the dancing.  Dave said his left leg often feels tired and heavy from his varicose veins.

But Dave underwent a new procedure to treat the problem.

The procedure is done under local anesthetic.  Vascular Surgeon Doctor, Ken Adcock, used ultrasound to go inside the vein with a catheter, then a radio frequency probe.

Radio frequency energy is used to heat the vein from inside, causing the vein wall to contract and close.  This re-directs the blood to other healthy veins.

The treatment takes just a few minutes and Dr. Adcock said it's also easier on the patient.

Other varicose vein treatments, like laser or vein stripping can leave bruises that can last for days.  But with this procdure, Dr. Adcock said there's virtually no bruising or pain, and patients can return to regular activities in just 48 hours.

Two hours after his procedure, Dave was up and around at home.  He wasn't ready to dance with his dog just yet, but it won't be long.

Reported by Kristy Ondo