CHARLOTTE – A large segment of the population with aching, throbbing and tired legs may have no idea they have a common vein condition, known as venous reflux.
People who have bulging varicose veins are usually aware that there may be a problem, but for people without visible veins at the skin surface, it is difficult to recognize that underlying veins problems could be the culprit.
Some common symptoms include painful/aching varicose veins, throbbing, restlessness, tiredness, fatigue, cramping and swelling. Advanced cases can even lead to staining and discoloration of the skin and/or wounds.
“If someone is living with leg symptoms that are anything more than mild or intermittent, they may be living with those symptoms needlessly,” says Dr. Peter Ford, of Vascular Solutions.
Dr. Ford has owned and operated Vascular Solutions, a vein practice located at the Arboretum in south Charlotte (corner of Providence Road & N.C. 51), since 2014. He isn’t just a board-certified vascular surgeon, but he’s also an expert in the field, having been published in surgical journals and textbooks.
He served as an assistant professor at UNC-Chapel Hill’s surgery department and continues to train physicians across the region on advanced procedures.
“He’s the most talented vein surgeon that I’ve ever been around,” says Tim Jonassen, Vascular Solutions’ clinical team supervisor who has worked specifically in the field of Phlebology and vein surgery for the past 20 years and is currently the sitting president the N.C. Vascular Technologists Society. “I have been a director of three vein practices in Florida and North Carolina, have instructed/lectured domestically and internationally, and worked hands-on with many different physicians who perform these types of procedures. Dr Ford is the best of the best.”
With so many different types of physicians performing vein treatments these days, Jonassen believes that seeking the expertise of a vascular surgeon is vital when deciding where to seek treatment.
“When I was directing vein clinics that employed other types of specialists performing these procedures, it would be common for our practice to refer out any difficult cases to other vascular surgeons around Charlotte,” Jonassen said. That struck a chord with me. Why would people choose someone other than a vascular surgeon to treat their vascular problem? If you have a dermatology problem, you would see a dermatologist. Why wouldn’t people carry that thinking over to vein treatment? Why trust your health and well-being with anyone other than a vascular surgeon? They’re the experts!”
It was this type of vast experience in varicose vein treatment that allowed Dr. Ford to come to the forefront of the vascular surgical community when his practice, Vascular Solutions, was awarded the designation as the sole physician training center in the Charlotte area for Medtronic’s vascular division and Dr. Ford as it’s honorary proctor, instructing physicians from all over the world on its state-off-the-art Venaseal Closure System.
“Medtronic is the largest global medical device company in the world and chose Dr. Ford over anyone else in Charlotte. That speaks volumes,” added Jonassen.
Dr. Ford believes that anyone who is experiencing leg symptoms, and anyone who has symptomatic bulging varicose veins are appropriate candidates for getting their leg veins evaluated.
“We typically invite patients with leg symptoms to attend a new-patient consultation,” says Dr. Ford.
The new patient consultation takes about 90 minutes. During the new patient visit, a detailed ultrasound of the leg veins is performed, which allows identification of vein problems, and provides a “road-map” of the vein anatomy.
The provider then reviews the findings including the pros and cons of any procedural options. In addition, they review any requirements that might be required to obtain insurance coverage. Vein procedures are typically covered by insurance, provided a patient has symptoms and certain findings on the vein ultrasound.
By combining the diagnostic ultrasound and the new patient consultation in one visit, patients leave with a diagnosis and treatment plan.
For people “on the fence” about whether they would benefit from vein treatment Vascular Solutions also offers free “vein screening” visits. These brief (10 minute) screening visits allow the doctor to preliminarily examine your legs, review symptoms and determine whether additional work-up/evaluation is appropriate.
“There are millions of people who have vein problems,” Dr. Ford said. “With leg vein problems being so prevalent in society – often under-diagnosed and under-treated – there’s a lot of opportunity for me to help people.”