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Hour-long procedure leads to life without worrying about tired or achy legs

Patient Spotlight March 06, 2014 By Main Line Health

Cathie Cain has been dealing with varicose veins for a little over 20 years, but she’ll tell you that it ‘feels like forever.’ Although they had always been a problem, it wasn’t until early 2013 that she decided something needed to be done.

“I like to walk, and I had noticed that I couldn’t walk as far as I used to. And when I did walk, my legs felt achy,” says Cain. “Finally, my husband convinced me to go so someone. He was convinced that it was a symptom of something more serious, so I made an appointment.”

After an initial consultation, Cain was referred to Vincent DiGiovanni, MD, vascular surgeon of Main Line HealthCare Vascular Specialists. At first, she wasn’t sure what to expect.

“My mother had varicose veins and was treated the old-fashioned way, by stripping the veins from the side of her ankle,” says Cain. “That’s what I thought I was going to have to have, too.”

Instead, Dr. DiGiovanni recommended vein ablation, a minimally invasive technique that would eliminate Cain’s varicose veins and the pain she felt during her walks. The hour-long procedure involves threading a catheter through a small opening in the skin and activating radiofrequency and laser pulses to destroy the vein tissue, which is then absorbed back into the skin.

For Cain, the procedure was better than she had expected.

“The procedure took a little over an hour, and it wasn’t bad. I felt a little sting at some points, but it was nothing compared to the pain I would have had to deal with had I let it go,” she says. “The staff was so supportive, too. I was a little nervous going in, but they helped me get through the procedure.”

Keeping Pain in the Past

Now, almost a year after her procedure, Cain continues to live pain-free and is back to walking regularly without worrying about tired or achy legs. Of her care from Dr. DiGiovanni and the rest of his staff, she has only glowing reviews.

“The whole experience—from the minute I walked into my office to my last appointment—they made me feel like I was home. I can’t say enough about the office staff,” says Cain, who calls Dr. DiGiovanni ‘an angel’ for his treatment. “The procedure was one thing, but the practice and the care I received was everything.”