At the Vein Center, our board-certified experts can restore both your legs and your confidence. We specialize in minimally invasive treatment to eliminate unsightly and painful varicose veins. Learn more about us and schedule an appointment today.
More than 25 million Americans suffer from varicose veins. And yet, venous disease remains one of the most under-diagnosed, under-treated medical conditions. What is it? How does it occur?
Varicose veins can develop through a combination of weakened vein walls and faulty valves. In healthy veins, the walls keep blood flowing smoothly. But with damaged walls, recirculating blood can begin to flow backwards. At the same time, unhealthy valves can allow blood to pool and pressure to build. All of this causes the classic symptoms of venous disease–twisted, enlarged, and painful veins.
The Vein Center is the region's premier center for treating venous disease and restoring healthy legs. Here, you'll find board-certified physicians with years of experience eliminating spider veins, varicose veins, leg swelling, pain, and chronic venous insufficiency.
We specialize in minimally invasive treatment, an advanced procedure that means no hospital stay, lengthy recovery, or time off work. You'll be free of discomfort and embarrassment, and back on beautiful, healthy legs in no time.
Ambulatory Microphlebectomy—removing varicose veins through a series of microincisions.
Endovenous Laser Ablation—targeting and treating the affected veins using ultrasound and high-precision lasers.
Sclerotherapy—treatment of smaller varicose veins and spider veins with injections.
What you can expect
From beginning to end, every aspect of your treatment will take place in the comfort of the Vein Center.
Initial consultation: We will talk to you about your symptoms, examine your veins, and review your complete medical history.
Diagnostic imaging: An ultrasound scan may be required for an accurate diagnosis.
Results review: We will carefully review your ultrasound results and discuss various treatment options.
Conservative therapy evaluation: In some cases, treatment begins with conservative therapy, such as wearing compression stockings. An appointment will be scheduled to assess the impact.
Surgical treatment: If a surgical procedure is required, one of our experts will perform it at the Vein Center at your convenience.
Follow-up imaging: Another ultrasound will be performed to confirm the results of your procedure.
Final consultation: We will see you a final time to determine your progress and answer any remaining questions.
All Lowell General Hospital's vein physicians are board-certified and hold certificates of added qualification in vascular disease.
Allan I. Hoffman, MD, Medical Director
Dr. Hoffman is board-certified in diagnostic radiology with specialty training in venous and arterial disease. Dr. Hoffman completed his residency and fellowship in Vascular and Interventional Radiology at Brown University. His clinical interests include varicose veins and venous disease, vascular and interventional radiology, vascular ultrasound, arterial and venous angiography and stenting.
Wei Du, MD
Dr. Du is board-certified in diagnostic radiology, with additional certification in Vascular and Interventional Radiology. Dr. Du completed his residency at Beijing Jiuxianqiao Hospital in China and the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and his fellowship in Interventional Radiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He is fluent in Mandarin.
Alice Lee, MD
Dr. Lee completed her residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Diagnostic Radiology and fellowship in Vascular and Interventional Radiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. She is board-certified in Diagnostic Radiology. Dr. Lee's special interests include vascular and nonvascular interventional radiology, and vascular and abdominal imaging.
If you are presently under the care of a physician for your pain and/or pain-related problem, you should discuss a referral to the Vein Center with your physician.
Please bring with you to your appointment any medical records or X-ray reports you have related to your pain, a list of medications you are currently taking, and any information you have relating to health insurance coverage.
Most insurance plans are accepted. Some insurance companies may require a referral, so check with your provider if you have questions about our coverage. Our team will help you obtain the proper authorizations.
What is venous insufficiency?
Venous insufficiency is a condition caused by incompetent (leaky) valves in the venous system. This condition leads to increased pressure in the veins of the leg, which can result in aching, swelling, varicose veins, discoloration, and ulcers.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged superficial veins of the legs. They are usually raised above the surface of the skin and are bluish in color. Varicose veins can be associated with aching, burning, itching, swelling, and discoloration. Left untreated, they will often increase in size and become symptomatic. They are often associated with venous insufficiency.
What are spider veins?
Spider veins are very small superficial veins. They can be red or blue in color and often have a fine "branching" appearance. Spider veins are frequently associated with deeper feeding veins known as reticular veins. They may be associated with localized pain or burning, but often cause no symptoms.
Some symptoms of this disease include:
- The appearance of varicose veins and spider veins
- Chronic leg and ankle swelling, leg pain, and tenderness
- Numbness or tingling down the legs
- Skin discoloration or skin ulcerations
If you experience these or other uncomfortable leg symptoms it may be a sign of more serious leg problems, and you should contact your physician.
All procedures are done at the Vein Center at Lowell General Hospital. The selection of a specific procedure is based on a patient's symptoms, a physical examination, and an ultrasound if indicated. Two common treatments are:
Ambulatory Microphlebectomy—This procedure involves the removal of varicose veins through microincisions using local anesthesia.
Endovenous Ablation—A minimally invasive technique done with local anesthesia, where laser therapy is used to treat the veins. A catheter is placed into the vein through a 1/4 inch incision and the diseased vein is closed using laser therapy.
Sclerotherapy—Treatment of smaller varicose veins and spider veins through injections.
While our medical practice is all about restoring the look and feel of healthy legs, the opportunity to maintain healthy legs and leg veins begins with you. There are a number of methods to incorporate as part of your daily regimen, that can reduce the possibility of developing venous disease of the leg, varicose veins, and spider veins. We encourage you to review the following tips that are best suited to your lifestyle and interests to help you keep your legs fit. It's your opportunity to take the initiative to boost your leg health.
- Uncross your legs when sitting: Crossing your legs can restrict blood flow. We suggest crossing your ankles while keeping your feet on the ground.
- Avoid high heels; wear low heels or flats: Low-heel shoes work with the calf muscles more, which is better for your veins.
- Elevate your legs parallel to the ground when reading and watching TV: This improves the blood flow to the rest of your body.
- Avoid long periods of sitting or standing: Change your position, shift from one leg to the other.
- Get your legs moving: By simply walking you generate blood circulation in your legs. What could be easier?
- Maintain a healthy weight: This takes unnecessary pressure off your leg veins.
- Don't wear tight clothes around your groin and calves: This can restrict your circulation.
- Limit tub-time, take showers: Take warm, not hot baths and end by splashing cold water on your legs. Hot baths can dilate blood vessels, decreasing the return of blood from the legs to the heart.
- Sheer support stockings, panty hose, and support socks for men: This can reduce leg discomfort by keeping blood from "pooling" in your feet and ankles, thereby reducing swelling.
- Moisturize your skin regularly: Your skin will maintain its elasticity and support your cell walls, which can help prevent varicose veins.
This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatments. Only your health care professional can accurately evaluate your condition and make informed decisions regarding your care.
Some insurance companies may require a referral, so check with your provider if you have questions about your coverage. Our team will help you obtain the proper authorizations.