The vein center at the new Dunlap Family Outpatient Center is designed to provide the region with the most advanced diagnostic and therapeutic care for common venous conditions, such as varicose veins and spider veins, in an outpatient setting that is comfortable, convenient and patient centered.
The Center performs a range of endovascular procedures, but the primary procedure offered there is percutaneous endovenous ablation, or vein ablation, a minimally invasive, outpatient treatment for varicose veins that is done with local anesthesia. For most procedures, no sedation is needed.
Care at the Vein Care Center begins with a thorough diagnostic assessment, including ultrasound studies and an examination. Vein ablation is a heat-directed process that uses radio frequency waves to close off and eliminate blood vessels. Vein ablation is painless, takes about 30 minutes, and does not require sedation or anesthesia. Patients remain at the Center for about two hours from start to finish and are able to walk immediately afterward.
More than 40 million Americans have varicose veins, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Despite being so common, the condition is paradoxically underdiagnosed and undertreated. A complex of factors contributes to this. Contrary to what many people believe, varicose and spider veins are not always simply a cosmetic problem. Rather, they can be a symptom of an underlying disease known as chronic venous insufficiency, or CVI.
Risk factors for chronic venous insufficiency include heredity, age, gender and pregnancy. Obesity is not an etiologic factor, although it exacerbates the condition. Pregnancy is a risk factor because of progesterone. It’s a hormonal problem, not the weight of the fetus pressing on the veins of the lower extremities. Family history may be the strongest factor; as many as 70 percent of people with varicose veins have a parent who had them.
Preventative measures include walking, use of compression hose and elevating one’s legs, especially if engaged in an occupation that demands prolonged sitting or standing.
In addition to vein ablation, the St. Clair Hospital Vein Care Center offers additional procedures including Venaseal glue closure, micro-phlebectomy and sclerotherapy. Venaseal is an alternative method to endovenous ablation in select patients. Instead of using heat, cyanoacrylate glue is used to close the vein. Micro-phlebectomy is a procedure in which a 1-2 millimeter incision is made in the leg and a tiny hook device is utilized to tease out small varicosities and reticular veins, veins that form a lattice-like structure. Sclerotherapy is a similar treatment for spider veins, although it can result in pigmentation changes in the skin.
The Vein Care Center is located at the Dunlap Family Outpatient Center: 1000 Bower Hill Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15243
Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
To schedule a consultation and screening ultrasound at the Vein Care Center, please call 412.942.1780