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Old 06-24-08, 02:29 PM   #1
RonH
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Varicose vein surgery

I finally found a doctor who fights the insurance companies and he got the ok to have my varicose veins taken care of. The insurance company has been denying requests from other docs who don't fight back saying the surgery is cosmetic. Cosmetic?
Picture this going from the ankle to the groin.


Anyway, I finally had the left leg done this morning. The right leg will be done next week.
The sad part is that the doc said no riding for 2 weeks -- after all the surgeries are done. So no riding for me until mid July at the earliest. But he said I can walk all I want. Since I'll have to wear a compression stocking that covers my leg from the foot to the groin, I guess I'll be a "mall walker" for a while. Too hot to walk outside with that thing on my leg.
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Old 06-24-08, 03:28 PM   #2
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I know we want pics but that is a step too far.

Good luck on your recovery and just hope to get a better pic in a couple of months time.
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Old 06-24-08, 03:32 PM   #3
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Hi,

Thanks for sharing and please let us know how the healing goes. I am very interested in this topic because one of my husband's legs looks like yours. Injuries take longer to heal on that leg, it is always swollen compared to the other, and it has lost all its hair. Are these the symptoms you've experienced? What does the doctor say about what to expect after the surgery?
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Old 06-24-08, 03:54 PM   #4
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I had this done last year, mine were not as bad as yours. I had them done on back to back days so it limited the recovery time. I was riding again 10 days later.
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Old 06-24-08, 05:20 PM   #5
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Tru, it sounds like your husband has chronic venous insufficiency. You can (and almost always do) get varicosities with CVI, but varicosities don't always mean CVI. He needs to get this looked into, because the natural history of untreated CVI is not pleasant (nearly impossible-to-heal leg ulcers, for one). BTW, does he have any discoloration on the inner side of his calf, down close to the ankle? That's almost a given in advanced CVI.

Ron- I'm glad you had a good, feisty doc on your side. As one who has CVI (grade 3, which is pretty bad), and who's had to fight the insurance companies to get them to cover compression hose (the ONLY way to keep the swelling down and the ulcers away), I know just where you're coming from. It completely stuns me that HMOs and insurers won't cover the cost of $50/pair knee-ankle hose a couple times a year, but will pay for the protracted treatment of leg ulcers that are inevitable without the hose. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, to be sure.

As to the hose- expect to wear them for the rest of your life if you have CVI. Sorry, but that's the way it goes- the valves in the veins just don't work right, and blood flow backs up into them, causing the distention. They need a permanent split, which is what the hose provides. BTW, horse chestnut seed extract helps too- it seems to restore the tone in the veins (won't rebuild the faulty valves, but it does keep down the swelling). I take it (marketed as Venastat) twice a day, and I can tell you it really works. Many US docs don't know squat about this stuff, but the Germans (and other Europeans) have been using it for years, and have studied it in 14 clinical trials there.

Heal up, Ron- you'll be back on the bike before you know it. And best wishes to your hubby, Tru- get him looked at.
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Old 06-24-08, 06:41 PM   #6
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Another one here who is glad that you found a tough doctor. Glad that that is being taken care of. Heal up fast!
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Old 06-24-08, 07:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MTBLover View Post
Tru, it sounds like your husband has chronic venous insufficiency. You can (and almost always do) get varicosities with CVI, but varicosities don't always mean CVI. He needs to get this looked into, because the natural history of untreated CVI is not pleasant (nearly impossible-to-heal leg ulcers, for one). BTW, does he have any discoloration on the inner side of his calf, down close to the ankle? That's almost a given in advanced CVI.

Ron- I'm glad you had a good, feisty doc on your side. As one who has CVI (grade 3, which is pretty bad), and who's had to fight the insurance companies to get them to cover compression hose (the ONLY way to keep the swelling down and the ulcers away), I know just where you're coming from. It completely stuns me that HMOs and insurers won't cover the cost of $50/pair knee-ankle hose a couple times a year, but will pay for the protracted treatment of leg ulcers that are inevitable without the hose. Penny-wise and pound-foolish, to be sure.

As to the hose- expect to wear them for the rest of your life if you have CVI. Sorry, but that's the way it goes- the valves in the veins just don't work right, and blood flow backs up into them, causing the distention. They need a permanent split, which is what the hose provides. BTW, horse chestnut seed extract helps too- it seems to restore the tone in the veins (won't rebuild the faulty valves, but it does keep down the swelling). I take it (marketed as Venastat) twice a day, and I can tell you it really works. Many US docs don't know squat about this stuff, but the Germans (and other Europeans) have been using it for years, and have studied it in 14 clinical trials there.

Heal up, Ron- you'll be back on the bike before you know it. And best wishes to your hubby, Tru- get him looked at.
Thanks for the advice. We have an HMO, and the doc keeps telling my husband that it's just varicose veins. I'll be sure to go with him next time and ask some tough questions. Good thing is he has been wearing support socks for a few years now.
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Old 06-24-08, 08:17 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice. We have an HMO, and the doc keeps telling my husband that it's just varicose veins. I'll be sure to go with him next time and ask some tough questions. Good thing is he has been wearing support socks for a few years now.
It could be just VV, but he needs an ultrasound to rule out CVI. Do be careful about the support socks, though. If the socks are just mid-calf or just above the ankle (like crew socks), they could be cutting off circulation at the top of the sock, and this exacerbates the backflow problem, causing extra pressure within the veins (usually the great saphenous vein, FYI) and subsequently causing the valves in the veins to blow out. Those valves are critical for ensuring that blood doesn't pool in the veins on its way back to the heart.

BTW, I speak form unfortunate experience here- back when I was in my 20s and working on nursing units, spending 8-10 hours/day on my feet, I thought that over-the-calf support hose (Hanes Supp-Hose, actually) would be great for my tired calves. They had an elastic band at the top to keep them up. What a no-no. I know that CVI is largely in the genes, but could be caused by injury as well, and I'm convinced that the Supp-Hose definitely contributed to my CVI.

Keep pushing your doc, Tru. Most docs don't know jack about VVs, much less CVI, and you and your hubby really need to advocate for him. Just an illustration (and a true story): When I was in my early 40s, I developed the tell-tale "tattoo"" of advanced CVI- it's a darkened, reddish-brown discoloration of the skin on the inside of the calf, just above the ankle. It had been preceded by intense itching (a tell-tale symptom). I went to see my primary doc about it, and he asked, no kidding, "what is that, a burn?" Yikes.

Good luck!
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Old 06-25-08, 05:59 AM   #9
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It could be just VV, but he needs an ultrasound to rule out CVI. Do be careful about the support socks, though. If the socks are just mid-calf or just above the ankle (like crew socks), they could be cutting off circulation at the top of the sock, and this exacerbates the backflow problem, causing extra pressure within the veins (usually the great saphenous vein, FYI) and subsequently causing the valves in the veins to blow out. Those valves are critical for ensuring that blood doesn't pool in the veins on its way back to the heart.
My dad had the painful type of VV and never wore "real" compression stockings. He just found some tight fitting knee high socks at the drug store. My VV aren't painful, just painful to look at.

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Keep pushing your doc, Tru. Most docs don't know jack about VVs...
I went to see my primary doc about it, and he asked, no kidding, "what is that, a burn?" Yikes.
How true. My primary care doc told me he didn't know enough about them and gave me a referral to vein specialist - who didn't go to bat for me. A friend who has painful veins that look worse than mine told me about the doc she went to. He's the one that did the surgery.
I'm hoping everything will turn out as well as the knee surgery I had 2 months ago.
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Old 06-25-08, 06:13 AM   #10
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I know we want pics but that is a step too far.
I hope no one posts a thread about their cycling-related perirectal abcesses anytime soon.
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Old 06-25-08, 06:23 AM   #11
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I'm hoping everything will turn out as well as the knee surgery I had 2 months ago.
It should- it's a pretty effective surgical intervention, actually. Won't be long before you see hair growin' back on those legs- which for some people in the Road Forum would be a curse . Good luck with your second stripping!

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I hope no one posts a thread about their cycling-related perirectal abcesses anytime soon.
I'm not even going to think about asking why you brought that up...
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