02 May 2008

Endovenous Laser Surgery with a Stab Phlebectomy on the side

That's what I am having done to me on Monday.

I developed this big old nasty varicose vein (herein called Mr. Nasty V.) 13 years ago while pregnant with my eldest daughter. I was always conscious of it, it's ugly. It's in my right inner thigh. So if I wore longer shorts, or kept my legs together, : ) it wasn't very visible. But if I was on my feet all day, I knew it was there without needing to see it. It would hurt. It would bulge, and get hot. Ewwww! But then if I spent some time with my legs up, the pain would go away. So I ignored it all these years. Until January of this year. My leg had been bugging me more than usual. The Christmas season had been busy, I was on my legs a lot, I chalked it up to that. But one day in the shower, while shaving said leg, it hurt when I got near Mr. Nasty V. I looked at it and realized it was pretty red and also had two very prominent red lumps in the vein, that were painful and hot to the touch. Hmmm, that doesn't seem good. So off to the doctor I went.

Seems I had some blood clots in Mr Nasty V. I had an ultrasound. The blood clots were contained in Mr. Nasty V., so "supposedly" it wasn't too serious and I "shouldn't" worry about anything breaking off and killing me! Don't they know me? Worry is my middle name!

I went to see a Vascular surgeon. He specializes in Laser removal of Mr. Nasty V's, not surgical stripping. That's a good thing. He checks me out, and tell me all sorts of things about the veins in my legs that I never learned in high school. See that would've been good information for a woman with a genetic pre-disposition to Mr. Nasty V.'s to have learned.

Anyway, it seems you have a big old Femoral Artery that runs down your leg. The next biggest vein that shoots off the Femoral is the Saphenous vein. It appears my Saphenous vein is shot. Doesn't work anymore. At the top of my leg where the Saphenous meets the Femoral, the diameter of the vein has blown open. It's something like 3x the size it's supposed to be. (Can't remember how small the opening is supposed to be, mine is not small enough). Also, there are little valves in your leg veins that are supposed to close after the blood gets pushed up. My valves weren't even visible, which means they have either been blown open or somehow disappeared. So, basically, I need my Saphenous vein shut down. BTW, my varicose isn't in my Saphenous vein, it is an off shoot of the Saphenous vein. The bad Saphenous vein, (you know, the blood running back down my leg because it had no help getting back up my leg since my valves went AWOL) caused the varicose vein to develop. So, not only do we have to do something with the Saphenous vein, I will need another procedure as well to take care of Mr. Nasty V.

This is why on Monday I am having Endovenous Laser Surgery (to take care of Mr. Saphenous) and a Stab Phlebectomy (to take car of Mr. Nasty V.) Basically I will go in to his office and first he will give me a nice cocktail of pain killers and sedatives so hopefully I don't feel anything during the procedure. I will not be asleep, but should be "happy" as he liked to put it. Then he will begin to numb my leg from groin to knee with a SERIES of injections. (I don't know how many a SERIES is, but I don't like the sound of it.) After I am numb, he will use a needle to poke into my Saphenous at the knee. Once in, he will thread a small laser into the vein and up to the top of my leg where the Saphenous meets the Femoral. Once there he will begin to pulse the laser, slowly pulling it down the vein while he pulses. The heat from the laser will shut down the vein. It will close behind the laser as he pulls it down. (I REALLY hope I can't feel that). "Supposedly" my body will just absorb the closed down vein over time. (Wonder where it goes?) "Supposedly" the blood that used to run through that vein will be re-routed elsewhere. (Can you tell I am hesitant to believe everything I am told)? That part of the procedure should take 30-45 mins.

After he is done closing down Mr. Saphenous, he will move on to removing Mr. Nasty V. That requires him to make a SERIES (there's that word again) of stabs along the length of Mr. Nasty V. (Mr. Nasty V. is about 6 inches long btw). After he makes these "stabs", he will use a crochet hook like thing (their words, not mine) and pull the vein up out of the stab holes and remove it. I am guessing he will have to cut it at some point, although he never used the word "cut" while explaining it to me. This part should take about 20 mins. After that they will wrap my leg in a giant ace bandage from toe to groin, and I cannot remove it for 48 hours. So no shower for me........ewww once again. The only plus to all this is that I get to lay around for those 48 hours. I am supposed to keep my leg elevated as much as possible although walking is good for me. I can walk to the bathroom (and the refirgerator : ) Standing is a no-no, so no standing in front of the stove to cook or sink to wash dishes or ironing board to iron clothes. Awww shucks!

I will go back and see him on day 3. If all looks well, I will need to wear my super tight surgical hose for the next 2 weeks around the clock. I can resume normal activities after the first 3 to 5 days, but nothing strenuous. (Aren't cooking, cleaning and laundry strenuous activities?)

While I am not looking forward to Monday, I will be happy to see Mr. Nasty V. go bye bye. I will once again be able to go to a carnival or walk around a mall or take a hike with my girls without my leg killing me at the end of the day. I will no longer need to wear long shorts or be embarrassed in my swimsuit. (Aside from the fact that I don't have great legs anyway and don't look too hot in a swimsuit either : )

I'll let you know how it all went after the fact. Hopefully I won't have any horror stories to tell.
(Click below for the after procedure update)


Free Spirit said...

Ok, a little TMI for me, only because I too, will need some sort of "work" done on my veins in the near future. I also have a beautiful map of veins in my right leg as a result of back to back pregnancies (4, 5 if you count my miscarriage). I have purposefully tried to thus far avoid doing anything about them, but time is short, as the heat is on. Literally, you vein sufferers know what I mean.
Thanks for all the detail, and the reminder that I need to start acting on this.

Jennifer said...

Did you know that the saphenous vein is the one they harvest for coronary bypasses? I'm forever typing "saphenous vein graft to the LAD." One thing that does tend to happen, though,after removal of the sv is edema (swelling/fluid retention) in that leg (these cardio patients always have greater edema on the leg that was harvested). Make sure you talk to the doc about it when you go in (all they really do for the cardiac patients is give them some diuretics, doesn't seem to really be any king of a big deal...just an annoyance).

Stephanie said...

Praying for you.

toenail fungus said...

That is quite a long varicose vein (6 inches) and calling it crochet hook is kinda frightening!

Pearly Penile Papules said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

This is a vein and vascular center that has multiple locations. They are located in near PHOENIX, ARIZONA, USA.