McMURRAY (KDKA) — A local doctor is performing a new, less-invasive treatment to get rid of unsightly and painful varicose veins.
“Waking up, sitting at the end of the bed in extreme pain, actually again kicking the legs for several minutes and actually having to support myself to get up to be able to walk,” said Mike Burgoyne, of Rostraver.
For years, that’s how Burgoyne has started his day. Marilyn White of Bethel Park was in the same boat.
“I would go downstairs and you would just feel like you already ran a marathon, even though you just got out of bed,” said White. “Your legs would be so heavy and achy.”
Both Burgoyne and White suffer from severe varicose veins.
However, the invasive and painful stripping procedure wasn’t an option for them. So, Burgoyne endured the pain even when his job with a telephone company had him climbing poles.
“When you climb a pole, you have two little gaffs, two little hooks sticking on the end of your boot,” he said. “That’s all that’s supporting you while you’re 18 to 20 feet in the air. Obviously, with the pain that I was experiencing in my legs that just made it nearly unbearable to complete the task.”
After kids and 30 years of standing as a bank teller, White’s varicose veins not only affected her physically but emotionally.
“I did not own for the last probably 10 years a skirt, a dress, did not own shorts,” White said. “Weddings – I would be the one with the black slacks on and the dressy top and everyone else would have their pretty dresses on.”
Dr. John Happel, of the Happel Laser & Vein Center in McMurray, says neglected veins can lead to serious complications like bleeding among other things.
“They can lead to ulcerations or sores right above the ankle,” said Dr. Happel. “Again, those are recurring problems, and that’s the most common thing wound clinics treat.”
But when Burgoyne and White heard about the latest technology in vein removal, a non-invasive laser procedure, they said enough was enough and decided it was time to see Dr. Happel.
“We put a laser inside the vein to seal it shut with the heat of the laser,” said Dr. Happel. “It takes about an hour. Patients are in and out like Get Go!”
“It doesn’t hurt at all. You don’t even know it’s being done,” said Burgoyne. “It’s just wonderful.”
“I was very surprised. To me, it was no worse than going to the dentist to be honest with you,” added White.
With the varicose vein stripping operation, new veins would grow back around the area. That’s why Dr. Happel says this laser technology is the better treatment.
“The best thing about the whole procedure is the recurrence rate, or chance of new veins coming back, is very small,” said Dr. Happel. “Also, there are no scars, no incisions. The complications are much less. We’re not seeing infections. We’re not seeing nerve damage.
And the recovery time?
“When it was over, I went home and I had no down time really,” said White. “You wear the compression stockings which actually feel good. You wear those for about a week and a half.”
“The recovery time, you see it in a day or two. It’s remarkable,” added Burgoyne.
The results of the procedure were life-changing for both.
“Waking and having much more energy,” said Burgoyne. “No pain. Didn’t have to sit at the end of the bed, shake my legs to get circulation going.”
“I can go up and down the steps and I don’t feel like I’m carrying two bags of potatoes on my legs or something,” said White. “I bought a dress that’s a knock-out. I can’t wait to wear it because you going to be able to see my legs.”
The laser treatment procedure is covered by insurance, so patients are only responsible for the co-pay for the consultation.