Patients suffering from varicose-veins disease get relief from a procedure developed by an Aurora, IL physician.
Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy (TIPP), an outpatient procedure, removes varicose veins with small incisions and relatively short operative times.
When valves that channel blood toward the heart do not function well and become blocked, varicose veins result. The veins become enlarged and congested with blood. Smaller red, blue, or purple veins on the surface of the skin are known as spider veins.
This method is known as ambulatory hook phlebectomy. In this surgery, surgeons make numerous incisions on the leg to pull the vein out in small pieces. This procedure can sometimes take hours. Furthermore, surgeons had limited visualization under the skin, making for an essentially blind procedure.
In the TIPP procedure, light inserted into one of the incisions illuminates the area of the leg to pull the vein out in small pieces so that a physician can see the entire vein through the skin. Dr. Gregory Spitz, a vascular surgeon at Rush-Copley Medical Center in Aurora, IL, who developed the TIPP procedure, adapted a small bladelike instrument used in microscopic surgery. This instrument is inserted into the other incision to break the varicose veins into tiny pieces and to suck them out. The normal veins are left unobstructed to flow blood back to the heart.
Spitz estimates that the procedure will cut surgery time down to about 38 minutes. Patients have minimal scarring, little post-operative pain, and wear a stocking for three to six weeks for support.
John Bergen, a vascular surgeon who plans to head the TIPP study at the University of California at San Diego, said “Surgeons tend to look at much more life-saving things preventing stroke, saving life—and think varicose Veins aren’t very important. Yet people who have them know they can be quite painful,” Bergen said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.
Although varicose veins can be triggered by cosmetic reasons, patients often experience pain in the legs. Other symptoms, including feelings of fatigue, heaviness, cramping, burning, throbbing and restlessness of the legs can be exacerbated with prolonged standing. If left untreated, severe varicose veins can break through the skin and lead to ulceration.
Orr, Ginger. “Doctors Develop Procedure to Remove Varicose Veins.” Chicago Tribune., 16 Sep 1999.