Varicose Veins

What are Varicose Veins?

More than 80 million Americans have venous insufficiency - a condition where the valves in the veins of the legs do not properly function to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and ankles. Venous insufficiency frequently leads to varicose veins and sometimes leg and ankle swelling.

Veins carry blood back to the heart. From your leg, the blood must flow upward against gravity. Normal veins have one-way valves to prevent the blood from flowing backwards. Over time these valves can fail to close tightly, allowing blood to pool, causing the bulging and twisting characteristics of varicose veins. Varicose veins can be unattractive and cause leg tiredness, aching, burning, brownish discoloration, and even ulceration and bleeding.

What is VenaCure?

A new laser procedure, called VenaCure, offers patients an alternative to surgery. It is performed in an outpatient setting and requires only local anesthetic, avoiding the risks of general anesthesia.

This procedure is "minimally invasive," meaning the entry point through which your physician inserts the laser fiber is extremely small, not even requiring stitches. Energy is emitted from the laser fiber, essentially "welding" the vein closed.

Drs. Scott Kemmerer, James Morrow, and Jim Busch are all members of the American Board of Radiology and certified in Vascular and Interventional Radiology. They have taken a special interest in treating varicose veins and spider veins in the legs, and are on the medical staff at Tennessee Imaging and Vein Center, located at 1949 Gunbarrel Road, Suite 170. You can call (423) 893-7226 to be seen by one of these doctors at a free screening.

Insurance covers the cost of the procedure when it is done to treat the symptoms caused by venous reflux disease, e.g., pain, tiredness, aching, etc., but will not cover the cost of the procedure if done only for cosmetic reasons.

Before the Exam

A thorough evaluation, including an Ultrasound, is done before the procedure to determine the exact problem, which veins are involved, and the most appropriate approach for therapy.

Will it Hurt? The local anesthetic makes the procedure painless.

How Long Will it Take? The procedure takes about 45 minutes.

After the Exam

You'll be up and walking as soon as it's over, returning to normal activity.

Compression hose are worn for two weeks. Bruising and mild discomfort occur several days after the procedure and typically require a mild over-the-counter pain reliever such as Advil for alleviation of the discomfort.

Venacure has proved to be 97 percent effective, making recurrence very unlikely. Follow-up procedures may be desired to obtain optimal aesthetic results.

Making an Appointment

When you call, we'll ask you for basic information such as your Social Security number. We'll ask you what type of test you need to schedule, and will schedule you for the best possible time. If you need to reschedule your exam, you can call us back and we'll be happy to arrange a better time for you.

When you call to schedule your exam, we'll also give you important information about preparing for the exam. If your doctor has scheduled the exam for you, and you have questions regarding the preparation or the procedure itself, you can call the imaging department where your procedure is being performed (please refer to our 'Locations' page for exact phone numbers).

Your physician will have several tasks to perform:

Complete the necessary paperwork to order the test (similar to writing a prescription for medication)

Fax, mail, or place the order in our computer system

Call us to schedule a test for you or have your physician call us directly

Obtaining Your Images

Exam Image Availability

DRC's state-of-the-art PACS technology offers you immediate access to the images of your radiologic exam. No longer does your physician have to wait to have copies of your films made. Although we can still print your X-ray on film for you with just 24 hours notice, your physician can now review your exam images immediately via the Internet. We offer safe and secure web access for your physician through Specialty Networks. Your privacy and HIPAA compliance is assured.

Images on a CD

If your physician prefers, the digital images from your study can be written to a CD-ROM, giving him/her a permanent record that can be accessed easily and quickly via a computer. CDs hold multiple studies and take up significantly less space than the traditional film in the brown envelope. A 24-hour notice is also requested to create this digital record for you.

Versatile Image Viewing Options

Internet access to your studies for your doctor is available immediately after your pictures are taken. Copies of your images can be obtained on a CD or on film with 24 hours notice.

Both Internet and CD viewing offer your physician the ability to digitally adjust your images in ways not possible with traditional X-ray film. Using the computer, the image can be made lighter or darker or zoomed for better visualization of a particular portion, for example. Your physician can fine-tune the images to accommodate his or her preferences.

Obtaining Copies of Your Images

To receive a CD or film copies of exam images, please follow these steps:

1. Call the location where your examination was performed (please refer to the locations page). Please provide your name and other identifying information along with the study being requested. With 24 hours notice, we can either create a CD-ROM or print a film for you. Our representative at the imaging center will provide you with the times available to pick up the exam.

2. To protect your privacy, please be sure to bring a picture ID when you pick up your CD/films, you will have to sign a Medical Images Release form when receiving your CD/films. If anyone else picks up your CD/films for you, please be sure to give him or her your written authorization to release your information to him or her.

3. If you would like us to send a copy of your study to a physician outside the DRC system, we will need a signed release from you along with the study you would like sent and the receiving doctor's name and address. You can fax or deliver us that release in the form of a signed letter at the fax number listed on the locations page. Please allow us plenty of time to send your films.

Any Costs

Currently the first set of films is provided at no cost to the patient. There is no charge for CD-ROM's and, of course, the Internet is always free.