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Lasers Safe and Effective Treatment of Varicose Veins For Men and Women
By Nancy Kennedy

There was a time when treatment for varicose veins meant major surgery, anesthesia, a long hospital admission and a slow, painful recovery. Thankfully, that is no longer the case, due to advances in medical science and technology. Vascular surgeons are able to provide effective treatment with minimally invasive procedures that deliver excellent results with minimal discomfort and disruption to one's life. "Varicose veins are a medical problem," says Gennady Geskin, M.D., a vascular specialist with Jefferson Cardiology Association who is certified in vascular and endovascular medicine, including procedures that eliminate varicose veins. "Some people view them as a cosmetic problems and a nuisance, but they are much more than that. They cause throbbing, aching, swelling and cramping in the legs and can be severe enough to limit one's activity. Untreated, varicose veins can lead to cellulitis, a skin infection, and ulcers."

Medical treatment for varicose veins can address symptoms but cannot eliminate the problem. Compression hose are the most common treatment, but they must be worn all day and can be hot and uncomfortable to wear.

Varicose veins develop when the valves in the superficial leg veins fail to close completely and blood cannot be returned efficiently to the heart. It pools in the lower legs, distending the veins and causing swelling.

Endovenous Laser Treatment, or EVLT, is the gold standard for the elimination of varicose veins. EVLT uses laser energy, which is a highly concentrated beam of light. There is no incision – just a tiny needle entry point, through which Geskin inserts a thin fiber into the damaged vein. The laser light is transmitted through this fiber and as the fiber is pulled back in the vein, it delivers the exact amount of energy needed to close and seal the vein. The blood is automatically shunted to other healthy veins.

"This procedure requires no anesthesia other than a local to numb the insertion site," says Geskin. "It's an outpatient procedure and there is no bleeding. Patients are often able to return to work the next day. Most will experience minor pain relieved with over-the-counter medication. They will be instructed to wear compression hose post-procedure for two weeks."

Varicose veins are an occupational hazard for those who stand all day and especially those who tend to stand in one position. This includes surgeons, dentists, hair stylists, cashiers – and musicians. Chris "Abby" Abbodanza, known to many Western Pennsylvanians as a popular local musician, is a young, athletic man who developed varicose veins severe enough to impair the circulation in his feet. "My feet were always cold and I developed swelling and bulges in my legs," he says. "I felt fatigued all the time. As a performer, I was always on my feet. People tend to think of it as a woman's problem but men can get varicose veins too."

Abbodanza's work as a singer, performer and recording artist demanded long periods of standing, and that took a toll. For years, he was the lead singer for the Poverty Neck Hillbillies, who became the official band of the Pittsburgh Steelers – a prestigious honor in Steeler Nation. The band broke up in 2008 and today he is a solo artist who performs in regional clubs and festivals; he is also an entrepreneur with businesses in Washington County.

"I'm very pleased with the results of my treatment. The EVLT procedure wasn't painful and afterwards I just had some aching. Since then, all my symptoms are gone and I feel great. Dr. Geskin is one of the best doctors in Pennsylvania for this procedure and I recommended him to my father. Everyone at Jefferson Cardiology was very accommodating and the quality of care was excellent."

With his partners at Jefferson Cardiology - Alan Bramowitz, MD, Peter Lemis, MD, and Michael Nathanson, MD, plus nurse practitioner Jennifer Wicks - Geskin offers state-of-the-art cardiovascular care, including prevention, diagnostics and treatment. He is a native of Latvia and completed his fellowship at Allegheny General Hospital. He and his partners practice at Jefferson Regional, Mon Valley and UPMC Shadyside Hospitals and have offices at Jefferson Hospital Medical Building and in Belle Vernon.

Dr. Geskin encourages patients with varicose veins to consider laser treatment. "There is no reason to suffer with varicose veins. This is usually covered by health insurance; it is not the same thing as sclerotherapy, which is for spider veins. EVLT treatment produces excellent long term results. Lasers are safe and effective and rarely cause complications."

To learn more about the treatment of varicose veins, visit the web site, www.jeffersoncardiology.com. To contact Jefferson Cardiology Association, call (412) 469-1500

To learn more about Abby Abbodanza, listen to his music and view his touring schedule, visit his web site www.abbyabbodanza.com

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