WASHINGTON, Mo. – For more than 20 years, Anna Mae Boehmer had a leg that bothered her. At first, it was a little bit, and over the years, it just got worse. “It would hurt no matter what I did,” said Boehmer, of Washington. The pain affected her gait. She would tell people she was doing fine even when she wasn’t. “I didn’t want people to know I was in pain,” she said.
The source of the pain was varicose veins. Varicose veins are knotty, enlarged veins that mostly develop in the legs and feet and worsen with standing and walking for long periods. Some people call them eyesores, but sometimes they develop into aches and pains and cause circulatory problems like Boehmer’s.
“People with discomfort and swelling related to varicose veins can improve symptoms by increasing exercise, controlling body weight, elevating the legs and wearing compression hose,” said Mercy Clinic cardiologist Brian Seeck, MD. “If symptoms persist or complications arise, the best solution for problematic veins is the Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT).”
Boehmer, of Washington, tried painful vein stripping, an invasive and painful medical procedure, but it didn’t help. Eventually, she gave up looking for a solution. She took over-the-counter pills to dull the pain, and she balanced her weight to one side when she walked. A while back, though, the veins caused a hard-to-heal skin ulcer near her ankle. Poor circulation brought on by the varicose veins impeded proper healing of the wound.
Boehmer’s condition led her to two Mercy Clinic physicians. Wound care specialist and surgeon Jonathan Limpert, MD, treated her ulcer at Mercy Hyperbarics and Wound Care and Dr. Seeck treated her veins using EVLT, a minimally invasive laser procedure that treats varicose veins by closing them. After the treatment, the bulge disappears and blood flows through healthy veins, bringing circulation back to normal. The pain is gone, and so is the eyesore.
Boehmer said the vein treatment was a relatively painless procedure and she was in and out of Dr. Seeck’s office in about an hour. With the vein treated, her wound also got a boost in the healing process. After all the care, “I’m thrilled. I feel like a new person,” she said. “I can truly say I feel wonderful.”
Boehmer’s experience with leg pain is similar to Dr. Seeck’s other patients. “People come to me who have had leg pain for a decade. With this procedure, they’re in and out in about an hour, and then the pain that’s been there for so long goes away,” he said. “This is pain some people had thought they would have to live with, and they’re ecstatic to find out it doesn’t have to be that way.”
“Many people who are referred to me for venous disease have had pain or ulcers for many years. EVLT takes less than an hour and the pain typically resolves itself within a week. Ulcerations frequently heal within a few weeks,” he said. “Many patients don’t realize that they don’t have to live with the pain, and they are ecstatic when the pain is gone.”
Most insurances cover the procedure. For more information, call Mercy Clinic Heart and Vascular at 636-239-2711. For more information about Mercy Hyperbarics and Wound Care, call 636-239-8827.