Updated: Tuesday, 06 Jan 2009, 5:58 PM EST
Published : Tuesday, 06 Jan 2009, 3:47 PM EST
CHESAPEAKE,Va - More than 25-million men and women suffer with painful, ugly varicose veins. Most try to hide the bulges, but many times they can't escape the pain.
"I don't want to wear a skirt or shorts or anything that shows my legs because they bulge out," said Deborah Cagle.
The Suffolk woman has battled the bulges for 22 years.
"Sometimes it burns. Sometimes it's a swelling sensation. It creates a pain in the muscle of the leg."
Vascular Surgeon Chad McKenzie eliminates varicose veins right in his office, using something called the VNUS procedure.
"It heats the inner surface of the vein and causes it to close down," he told WAVY.com.
He allowed us to watch as he performed the procedure on Deborah.
First he showed us Deborah's vein on ultrasound. He explained that veins, like a river, should flow in one direction, but we could see her blood flowing backward too. He said that's what causes the pain and swelling.
To fix it he numbed Deborah's leg, inserted a catheter, then turned on a machine that uses radio frequency to heat the vein to 120 degrees celsius. The heat causes the vein to collapse and seal shut.
It only takes a few minutes and when he showed us the ultrasound again, there was no blood flow at all and no bulge on Deborah's leg.
"It's a lot better. It's not even swollen where it was." she said. "It's amazing."
Once the varicose vein is closed, her blood is rerouted to other healthy veins.
Within minutes Deborah was walking out the door, ready to love her legs and do a little skirt shopping.
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