About Vascular and Interventional Specialists of Prescott
Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott (VISP) has been a part of the Prescott medical community and serving patients since 2010. We are a group of subspecialty radiologists that perform numerous minimally-invasive, low-risk procedures using the tools of our trade for guidance—x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and MRI. Our goal is to educate the public and medical community, then diagnose and treat people in the safest, most compassionate way, with rapid recovery times and low risk of complications.
Meet Our Doctors
The physicians at VISP offer a vast background and thorough experience in diagnostic and interventional radiology, specializing in minimally invasive procedures using image guidance. The subspecialty group also provides therapeutic treatment through specific procedures to help alleviate chronic and severe back pain.
Click here to learn more about the specialties of Dr. Dicker, Dr. Lloyd, and Dr. Paxton.
- Back – VISP offers an array of therapies to treat chronic and severe back pain such as caudal epidurals, nerve block procedures, sciatica epidurals, injections similar to a cortisone injection, and vertebral cement augmentation.
- Arterial – The physicians at VISP are vascular specialists who work with patients with peripheral vascular disease (PVD) or peripheral arterial disease (PAD) to provide treatments to correct narrowed or blocked vessels to ease blood circulation throughout the body.
- Vein – Patients will see our varicose vein specialists for top-level care to treat uncomfortable and painful varicose veins, spider veins and reticular veins. Vein ablation procedures are nonsurgical and provide a quick recovery time.
- Cancer – The interventional specialists at VISP perform specific cancer therapy treatments to help shrink the size of tumors in cancer patients. Learn more here about the types of therapies offered.
- Epidurals – An epidural injection is a method to deliver pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory medicine to the epidural layer of the spine. VISP physicians use epidurals often to relieve severe back pain and chronic back pain in their patients.
- Nerve Blocks – Nerve block injections are used to alleviate pain by way of turning off the pain signal to the brain. The doctors at VISP use the nerve block procedure often in patients who are experiencing debilitating pain in their bodies. Learn more about the procedure here.
- Other – There are many procedures that we do at VISP with precision and care including implanting MediPorts, J Tube Placements, PICC Lines, IVC Filter Placement and Removal, Biopsies, and more.
Conditions We Treat
The hardworking and diligent team of physicians at VISP performs an array of diagnostic testing, procedures and treatment options for many conditions. Area physicians often refer to us because we are well-known and trusted to provide the best in care for our patients who are experiencing the following:
15 Easy Ways to Relieve a Pinched Nerve In Shoulder Without Surgery
15 Easy Ways to Relieve a Pinched Nerve In Shoulder Without Surgery Are you familiar with the “pins and needles” feeling you get in your shoulder or neck? Do you experience sharp or burning pains in these areas as well? If you’re feeling these symptoms along with weakness or numbness in your arms, you might be suffering from a pinched nerve in your shoulder. Pinched nerves can happen when there is too much compression or irritation to a nerve. This pressure from the surrounding tissues around the nerve can block the nerve’s function, leading to weakness, numbness, and pain. If you are looking for some quick relief and non-surgical ways to treat a pinched nerve, then keep reading! We share with you some of the best tips to help ease your pain from pinched nerves. First, let’s learn more about what a pinched nerve is and what may be the cause of your symptoms: What Is A Pinched Nerve? Cervical radiculopathy, or more commonly known as a pinched nerve of the neck, arises when a spinal nerve becomes constricted and inflamed. Pain from the nerve can be felt from the neck, as it radiates through the shoulder, and down to the arm. In addition, these other symptoms may be associated with this condition: Numbness or loss of sensation in the area of the nerve Sharp burning pain in the neck, shoulders, and arms Tingling (“pins and needles”) feeling Muscle weakness in the affected area Feeling as if your arm is always “falling asleep” What Causes A Pinched Nerve? The spine is made up of 24 vertebral bones that are placed on top of each other. These bones form a canal that protects the group of nerves in your spinal cord. Between every vertebra is a flexible intervertebral disk that acts as a shock absorber whenever we move. However, as we get older, these disks go through wear and tear. They become dry as they lose water content, and grow stiffer. As a result, the disk loses height and can form bone spurs that bulge. These degenerative conditions are often known as arthritis and spondylosis. Younger people may also suffer from a pinched nerve, particularly those who engage in sports and activities that require pulling, lifting, bending, and/or twisting. When an injury arises from these sudden movements, it may result in a herniated disk, which will put pressure on the nerve root. When a herniated disk bulges outwards, pressure constricts the nerve root and leads to pain and weakness in the affected area. Furthermore, you are at greater risk when you have the following conditions: Bone spurs from osteoarthritis Inflammation from rheumatoid arthritis Diabetes Overweight or obese Do repetitive work that strains a muscle group (eg. assembly line work) Long bed rests While the neck pain and shoulder aches may seem unbearable at first, a pinched nerve can heal over time. Generally, doctors advise conservative techniques and treatments first before considering surgery. Here are the 15 best ways to relieve pain from a pinched nerve in your shoulder without the need for invasive surgeries: 1. Apply ice and heat packs Pinched nerves are often related to inflammation. This can be easily relieved through hot and cold therapy. Doing so can increase the circulation of blood in the area and reduce the swelling. Apply hot and cold packs alternately each time for at least 3 times a day. Ice packs should be applied 15 minutes at a time, while heat packs can be applied for up to an hour. 2. Elevate your arms One instant relief trick you can try is to elevate your arms. Resting your hand on top of your head can temporarily reduce the pressure on the nerve root. 3. Rest the area Nothing beats the power of good rest in order to fully recover. Give your shoulders and arms a few days off to allow them to heal. It’s also important to avoid doing extreme and sudden movements in the area of the irritated nerve. Nerve damage can worsen when these muscles are being overused as well. 4. Get a gentle massage Massages are a wonderful, relaxing experience. If you have a pinched nerve, getting a soft massage will help to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles. For someone with a pinched nerve, soft massages work well in improving blood circulation and relaxing the muscles. Do keep in mind that deep-tissue and other hard massages might be counterproductive to your healing process. Ask your massage therapist to keep it soft and light instead. 5. Stretch for increased flexibility Doing stretches that increase flexibility is one of the best ways to reduce pressure and tension in your neck and shoulder. Remember to keep your stretches gentle. Pulling your muscles too deeply can worsen your symptoms. The most effective time to do stretches is after you have done a warm-up exercise or after your workout. 6. Be aware of your posture Poor posture can definitely compress and irritate the nerves in your neck leading to a pinched nerve in your shoulder. So, even though you’re just sitting at a desk or standing the entire day for your job, it’s important to be aware of your posture. If it helps, use adjustable chairs, neck rests, and posture-friendly cushions to allow the nerve to heal. 7. Improve your workstation Working with a bad posture puts unnecessary stress on your back and shoulders. That’s why it’s also essential to have an ergonomic workstation to keep your posture healthy while being productive. First, make sure your screens are at eye level. If you’re working on a laptop, you can buy a laptop stand to elevate the screen. You may also buy an ergonomic keyboard and mouse that will make typing and clicking much more comfortable. In addition, try using a standing desk. By having the option to either sit or stand, you improve your spine’s flexibility and reduce the occurrence of shoulder pain and backaches. 8. Use a splint If the pinched nerve in your shoulder causes aching in your hands and wrists, you can wrap the affected area with a splint. The splint works by reducing the pressure on the nerves in your arm. This will help prevent further irritation and allow for healing and recovery. 9. Get an ample amount of sleep Sleep is essential for any healing process, especially for those with a pinched nerve. It is only during sleep that the body can repair itself. Aim for a complete night’s rest of at least 7-8 hours. Also, avoid sleeping in positions that impact the affected area. 10. Do low-impact exercise Exercising might be the last thing on your mind when your back, neck, and shoulders hurt. But, doing low-impact workouts like walking, swimming, or cycling can help to relieve your aches and pains. 11. Improve your weight Packing on a few extra pounds can weigh your nerves down as well. Try to achieve a healthy weight to help reduce the pressure on your nerves. Losing weight doesn’t have to be hard. By eating a well-balanced and nutrient-dense diet and exercising regularly, you’ll find that your weight will drop slowly but surely. 12. Use a soft-cervical collar Soft-cervical collars are padded rings that wrap around your neck and are locked in place with velcro. If you have a pinched nerve, your doctor may recommend you to wear these special neck braces to relax the neck muscles. However, it’s only advisable to wear these soft cervical-collars for a short time as long-term wear may lead to loss of muscle strength in the neck muscles. 13. Take pain-relieving medications If your pain has been unbearable, you may opt to take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) specifically work in reducing the swelling and pain of a minor pinched nerve. Before taking any medications, ask for a physician’s medical advice. Your doctor may recommend certain medications and dosages for you to take. 14. Ask for the help of a physical therapist There are special exercises and stretches that you can do that specifically aim to soothe and strengthen your neck muscles. In this case, going to physical therapy would be beneficial to get the best exercises for you. A physical therapist will be able to guide you thoroughly and carefully through these exercises. The exercises should be designed to help your neck and shoulder muscles regain their strength while lowering your risk for injury. 15. Consider having an epidural injection A safe and easy way to provide instant relief to your pinched nerve is through epidural injections. In this procedure, an anesthetic and a steroid medication will be injected into the nerve area that is causing you pain. The mix of medications will give you the instant pain relief that can last for weeks up to months. If you have not found any solutions to your neck and shoulder problems, this is your next best step before considering other invasive methods. Relieve Your Pinched Nerve Today! More often than not, a pinched nerve will heal on its own after a few days or so. These simple techniques will relieve your symptoms and ultimately lead to recovery and healing. However, if your symptoms continue to last for a longer time, it might be best to get it checked. If your pinched nerve is coupled by bladder problems, inability to grip or hold properly, or your limbs collapsing, report to your doctor right away. Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
When to Get Neck Injections for Pain [and How to Prepare]
When to Get Neck Injections for Pain [and How to Prepare] Have you been experiencing constant neck pain that radiates from your neck to your arm? Do simple remedies like stretching, ice/heat therapy or pain medications give you zero relief? Chronic neck pains are debilitating aches that can hamper your day-to-day activities. Fortunately, a simple injection may be the answer you’ve been looking for. What Injections Are Given For Neck Pain? Neck injections for pain are administered to patients who have been dealing with long-term neck pain. Cortisone injections for pain in the neck are one of the best alternative treatments before neck surgery is considered. If pain medications or physical therapy hasn’t worked to alleviate your neck pain, you might be the perfect candidate for one of these treatment options: Epidural steroid injection. A cervical epidural injection places steroids in the epidural space and into the dura (the membrane that covers your spine and nerve root in the neck). This will lower inflammation in the nerve roots, providing pain relief. Facet joint injections. This injection is recommended if the neck pains are caused by facet joint inflammation. The steroid is injected in the facet joint, a small joint behind your vertebral bones. Nerve root block. If the neck pains are associated with a damaged disk or a bone spur, the nerve root block is considered. This injection is inserted in the area around the spinal nerve root to decrease its inflammation. What Is A Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? The cervical epidural injection is a minimally invasive procedure wherein both a corticosteroid and an anesthetic numbing agent are delivered to the epidural space (the area between the bone and the protective dura sac around the spinal nerves). This type of corticosteroid injection has been proven as an effective treatment to decrease inflammation and pain in the neck area. Although this injection is not intended to reduce the size of a cervical herniated disc, it can flush away some of the proteins that cause the swelling in the spinal cord and nerves. This neck pain injection can bring long-term pain relief, allowing alternative treatments such as physical therapies and exercise programs to improve your spinal condition. When Should You Get A Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? Patients who have been suffering from long-term neck and back pain are good candidates for an epidural steroid injection. It may benefit those particularly with the following conditions: Cervical radiculitis. Pain that radiates from the head or the neck down to the arm due to nerve compression in the cervical spine. Cervical Herniated Discs. Electric-like pain that’s felt from the neck down to the arms, which may be caused by trauma or neck injury. Cervical Spondylosis. Pain caused by the aging and normal wear-and-tear of the spinal disc in your neck. Treatment through the cervical epidural steroid injection has been beneficial to patients with these painful neck inflammatory conditions. In cases where rehabilitative exercises are required, these epidural injections work well in abating the pain to allow you to continue with physical therapy. Furthermore, it can also help assess if more invasive treatments, such as surgery, are needed to address the pain. Who Are Not Ideal Candidates For Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? A patient with the following conditions is at risk for complications: Patient with active infections, bleeding problems, high blood pressure, or diabetes If you are taking medications blood-thinners (eg. heparin, coumadin, etc.) If you are allergic to the epidural steroid medication (eg. corticosteroid, anesthetic) You can discuss your conditions with our doctors and we will assess your pain management options. How To Prepare For Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection? If you are considering having cervical epidural steroid injections, preparation is key to lessen risks and complications. Here’s how you can best prepare for your neck injection: Bring your complete medical data and history at your first appointment. Be sure to give your doctor a comprehensive list of all your medications so they know which medicines need to be discontinued or avoided before doing the procedure. What To Expect Before The Procedure? Before the treatment, your doctor will do a thorough medical examination. Your medical history will be reviewed and several tests will be done to assess whether you are a good candidate for cervical ESI. Once cleared, our doctors will list specific instructions on what you should do before the procedure. For example, a typically required routine preparation is to not eat more than a small meal within a few hours before the injection. Patients are also typically allowed to take their usual medications, except for those that have anti-inflammatory or blood-thinning effects. What Happens During The Treatment? What To Expect: Do Injections In Neck Hurt? In general, injections can bring some mild discomfort, especially when the medications are delivered in small delicate areas. Fortunately, local anesthetics (pain relief medication) will be administered before the injection so you can expect to only feel a small amount of pressure rather than pain when your doctor inserts the cervical corticosteroid injection. If you’re concerned about pain from the neck injection, talk to your doctor to find out your options for pain relief medication. You may request to be sedated during the procedure, but this is very uncommon as the procedure is not uncomfortable. Remember to simply relax, stay calm, and take deep breaths during the procedure. Step 1: Preparing For The Injection Extensive assessments will be done by your doctor to figure out which site to inject. Ideally, they will target the medication as close to the painful nerve as possible. To do this, x-ray fluoroscopy is used to take live imagery of your neck. You will lie down on the x-ray table. A local anesthetic will be administered to numb the injection site and minimize pain. Generally, patients are expected to be awake during the injection to be able to communicate any discomfort to the physician. Step 2: Inserting The Needle Through the x-ray fluoroscopy, the doctor will be able to see in real-time where to inject the epidural steroid. A contrast dye will be used to ensure that the medication is flowing in the correct place. The entry site will be on the side of the neck to access the neural foramen, which sits just above the opening of the nerve root and outside the epidural space. The needle will go through the skin, between the bony vertebrae, and into the epidural space. Step 3: Injecting The Corticosteroid Once the local anesthetic takes effect and the needle is correctly positioned, your doctor will inject the epidural steroid injection into the epidural space that surrounds the inflamed nerve roots. Depending on the pain location, one or several cervical spinal levels may need to be injected. How To Recover After The Procedure? After the injection, you will be monitored in a recovery area typically for up to an hour. Many patients are already able to move and walk around post-injection. However, for some, temporary weakness and numbness can occur in the legs, which will eventually wear off by the end of the day. We advise the following to our patients: Be brought home by a companion Rest and avoid heavy activities for the rest of the day Avoid drinking or operating heavy machinery for at least the next 12 hours post-injection Usually, many patients can resume their regular activities the following day. However, you may expect soreness at the injection site. This can be alleviated by icing the area and taking mild analgesics that are recommended by your doctor. What Results Can You Expect? The medication may not go into full effect right away. It’s recommended to track the pain levels you feel within the next couple of weeks. There may be days where the area feels much more painful, numb, or weak. This is normal as the numbing medications eventually wear off before the epidural steroid injections start to take effect within 2-7 days. For those with mild neck pain, one or two injections may be administered within a 1 to 4-week interval to achieve the full relief. How Long Do Neck Injections Last? Depending on the severity of neck pain, patients who undergo cervical epidural steroid injections can expect pain relief that lasts for weeks up to years. To achieve the best results, epidural injections are best done with physical therapy and neck exercise programs. In Conclusion… If you’ve been suffering from chronic neck pain, it may be best to consider cervical epidural steroid injections. Get in touch with us and we’ll schedule you for your first appointment! Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive treatment wherein corticosteroids are injected in epidural space within the cervical area of your spine. This results in decreased inflammation in the nerve and reduces neck pain. These neck injections a safe, with very low risk associated with the procedure. Not much preparation is needed, but it is important to discuss your medical history and list of medications to your doctor. Full recovery can be experienced a day after the injection. The epidural steroid injections will take effect in about 2-7 days, but it can bring relief to long-term neck pain. Cervical epidural steroid injections can be a life-changing experience, especially for those that have been dealing with chronic neck pains. Want to know more about cervical epidural steroid injections? Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
Know the Difference: Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) vs. (PVD) Peripheral Vascular Disease [2020 update]
What is the Difference Between PAD and PVD? Do you know what makes these two diseases different? Peripheral arterial disease (PAD) and peripheral vascular disease (PVD) are both common vascular diseases that affect the blood vessels in the human body. Other vascular diseases can range from coronary artery disease to congestive heart failure. Although people use them interchangeably, it is important to know how PAD and PVD differ from each other. Let’s explore the differences to find the best treatment for each. Peripheral Vascular Disease The vascular system is composed of many different blood vessels that circulate blood, which carries oxygen and nutrients, throughout your body. Arteries and arterioles make up the arterial system. Veins and venules comprise the venous system. What connects the two systems are capillaries, which are the smallest of the blood vessels. PVD is a general term that encompasses any disease that affects the blood vessels outside your heart or brain, especially in your extremities (hands and feet). Peripheral Arterial Disease When PVD affects only arteries, and veins are not affected, it is called PAD or peripheral artery disease. Peripheral artery disease is essentially the condition of having blood flow decreased or stopped by one or more clogged peripheral artery. PAD develops when plaque, or fatty deposits, become trapped in your arteries and limit blood flow to your legs. Plaque that blocks blood flow in your arteries can cause a build-up in fibrin which can result in blood clots The Signs & Symptoms of PVD Like many diseases, PVD often begins slowly and symptoms may appear irregularly. This makes it important to know your body and recognize (and track) changes that may be associated with PVD, including: Leg fatigue – Legs that get tired quickly Cramping in your legs and feet, especially while lying in bed Reduced hair growth on your legs Numbness or tingling sensation in hands or feet Legs and/or arms that turn reddish-blue or pale Weak pulses in your legs and arms Leg wounds or ulcers that won’t heal Toes that turn blue, feel as though they’re burning or have thick, opaque nails Leg muscles that feel numb or heavy Reducing Your Risks Although risk factors for PVD and PAD do include some things that are out of your control, there are still things you can do to reduce your risk including: Avoid or quit smoking altogether Control your blood sugar (if you’re diabetic) Lower or keep your cholesterol and blood pressure within a healthy range. Eat a diet that is low in saturated fat Maintain a healthy weight Exercise regularly (a reasonable goal should be 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) The risk factors beyond your control include being over 50 and having a family history of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or PVD. Getting the Best Treatment for PVD Before seeking invasive or exploratory surgery to solve PVD, it is important to understand treatments that are available to you. Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott are a well-known group of interventional radiologists who perform minimally invasive treatments for many common pain-causing conditions including PVD. Interventional radiologists have pioneered some of the most effective treatments for PVD such as stenting and angioplasty. Another treatment, also requiring image guidance, is atherectomy. Angioplasty Angioplasty – A treatment performed when an artery has been blocked by plaque build-up or has collapsed preventing blood from flowing specifically to the heart. A doctor inserts a catheter into an artery guiding it to one of the coronary arteries. The doctor releases dye into the artery so the blockage can be seen on an x-ray. Then a different catheter, one equipped with a small balloon, replaces the first at the same location. The doctor then inflates the balloon at the location of the blockage reopening the artery so blood can flow normally. Atherectomy Atherectomy – As an alternative to angioplasty, an atherectomy also involves inserting a catheter into an artery until it reaches the blockage. This catheter is also equipped with a balloon, but the balloon is attached to a tool used to cut away the buildup causing a blockage. When the balloon inflates it puts the cutting tool in contact with the plaque buildup so it can cut away blockage. Stenting Stenting – When angioplasty or atherectomy procedures are performed, usually inserting a stent will be the last step of the procedure. A stent is a mesh tube made of metal. Doctors insert a stent into an artery that has just been widened through angioplasty or atherectomy. A stent will hold the blood vessel open to prevent the narrowing or collapse of treated arteries. Pain Relief Are you or someone you know experiencing symptoms of PVD? Reduce your risk for heart disease, aortic aneurysms or stroke by getting checked out! We want you to be informed about advances in pain management and treatments for common pain-causing conditions. Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
How Do You Cure Aching Legs? Answers from 5 Doctors
Why do my legs ache and feel heavy? Leg pain is a common complaint and there are many reasons why you may be experiencing this discomfort. Injuries can cause intense leg pain, as well as the overuse of a muscle or tendon causing inflammation or cramps — but what are some other causes of leg pain if an injury is not to blame? Other Causes of Leg Pain Other causes of leg pain may be attributed to issues occurring within the vascular system such as: Peripheral artery disease (PAD) Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) Nerve damage or peripheral neuropathy Varicose (enlarged) veins Poor circulation Other pain causes can be rooted in the musculoskeletal system, which may include: Fibromyalgia Arthritis Herniated disc Sciatica Osteoporosis How do I get my legs to stop aching? A doctor’s diagnosis will lead you to a treatment plan that is designed to help alleviate or cure the leg pain based on discovering the cause. Here, we provide medical advice from doctors who want to help you find relief from leg pain. Exercise is key Dr. Aruna Pradhan, a cardiologist and assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, advises getting a doctor’s diagnosis as soon as possible if achiness in legs has you concerned. If PAD (the narrowing of arteries in your legs) is the result of an evaluation, Dr. Pradhan says, “Doctors encourage people to do more physical activity to help keep them functional.” Walking is one of the best exercises to promote healthy blood flow and to help prevent a blood clot from forming. Walking can also decrease other symptoms such as leg pain and muscle cramps. Lifestyle Changes If PAD is the cause of leg pain there are other lifestyle choices that are advised in addition to exercise that can increase overall health. Cynthia Shortell, MD, head of vascular surgery at Duke Health recommends her patients quit smoking. Among many health benefits of quitting smoking, increased blood flow to the legs can be experienced to decrease leg pain. She also says that medication can help with painful symptoms. Talk to your doctor about over-the-counter options or prescription medications that are best suited for you. Increase Circulation Cleveland Clinic vascular surgeon George Anton, MD talks about achy legs associated with damaged veins. Varicose veins are large, blue bulging veins in your legs caused by a lot of sitting, standing, being overweight, or carrying excess weight, as in pregnancy, which increases pressure in this area. “Most of the time, the first line of treatment is wearing compression stockings,” says Dr. Anton. This is one of the helpful medical products that may help to improve circulation and decrease blood pooling which can cause pain. Pain Management Over Surgery If the leg pain is dominantly in the knee area, it may be caused by a condition called osteoarthritis, a chronic health condition that is the result of inflammation in the joint. This is more common in older adults, and a knee replacement may be a treatment option that is recommended. Dr. Rebecca Breslow, a sports medicine doctor and an instructor in orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School advises, “The goal in most cases is to avoid surgical intervention as long as possible.” Instead, leg pain management using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or cortisone shots can be used to relieve discomfort and swelling. Take a Break Feeling a sensation of pain is the body’s way of telling you something isn’t right. One of the best ways to help alleviate the pain is to give yourself and your leg muscles a rest for a few days to see if the pain subsides. Orthopedic surgeon and Assistant Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of Utah Dr. Ryan Spiker recommends, “First things first, taking a little bit of rest for a few days and if the symptoms aren’t severe often they’ll improve on their own.” He further explains that “After resting, as long as they’re able, we encourage people to be up and walking and moving as early as possible, but minimizing lifting, twisting, bending. The physical function is a little bit less aggressive in those first few days.” Get the Best Treatment for Your Leg Pain At Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott, we take leg pain seriously, offering many treatment options. Our own Dr. Dicker says: “We understand that visits to the doctor’s office can seem like a rushed and hurried experience. At VISP we take the time to listen and discuss your symptoms to figure out the cause of your problem and devise a treatment plan that is safest and best for you. We will make sure that your needs are addressed and your questions are answered.” For more information call to schedule an appointment to get the best medical advice and find relief for your pain. Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
Vein Removal Guide for Patients
Vein Removal Guide for Patients Are you experiencing discoloration or discomfort in your legs? Varicose veins are the result of faulty valves in the veins that cause the blood to flow in the wrong direction. A bothersome condition, varicose veins often cause patients to experience swelling in the veins of their legs and feet due to the pooling of blood within them. It can be uncomfortable but is rarely dangerous. One in four adults in the United States has experienced related symptoms such as painful, achy legs, swollen ankles, and spider veins. Luckily, there is a varicose vein treatment. Patients can undergo a vein removal procedure, otherwise known as an ambulatory phlebectomy. To help you in your search for relief, we have put together an easy to follow guide for patients who are candidates for varicose veins treatments. If you do not find all of your answers in this guide, or you wish to further your research, please visit our page on managing symptoms. What Causes Varicose Veins? Veins are the highways used by our blood, which travels through our bodies through one-way valves. If the vein becomes stretched, it loses flexibility, weakening those valves. When it is stressed, blood can leak backward and flow in the opposite direction, also called venous stasis. When this happens, blood accumulates in the vein or veins, which causes them to become enlarged and swollen. This can also lead to blood clots or superficial venous thrombosis. The most vulnerable veins are those furthest away from the power source; the heart. Legs and feet are most affected because gravity makes for a more difficult and obstructed blood flow. Who Is Likely to Get Varicose Veins? Weight, gender, hormones, genetics, and lifestyle are all determinants for who will develop varicose veins. People who are overweight tend to have a higher risk. If a person has a condition that causes a heavy pressure on the abdomen, it can cause varicose veins as it would affect the blood flow. Women are more likely than men to get varicose veins because of hormone factors. Using birth control pills, postmenopausal hormone replacement, or the stages of puberty or menopause can increase your risk. Pregnant women are also likely to acquire this condition as there is a lot of pressure placed on the abdominal region. Pregnancy also increases the amount of blood in the body, which causes increased pressure on the circulatory system. Changes in hormone levels can also lead to the relaxation of the blood vessels. Typically, they will go away after the pregnancy is over. Varicose veins can be genetic, causing individuals to be more prone to the condition. Those over the age of fifty are also more likely to get varicose veins, especially if there is a family history. Also, lifestyle can play a role in causing varicose veins as well, such as working a job that requires a lot of standing, being on your feet, or sitting. Is There a Way to Prevent Varicose Veins? Sometimes, varicose veins are genetic, and there is no proven way to prevent their occurrence completely. You can decrease your risk by taking measures to improve your circulation. Exercise, eating a high fiber, low-salt diet, elevating your legs, and changing your position from sitting or standing are some daily habits that we recommend. If there is concern for getting this condition, a varicose vein treatment for prevention could be to wear compression stockings to increase the blood flow in the legs and decrease swelling. What Do I Do If I Have Varicose Veins? Varicose veins are typically not dangerous. They can be unsightly though which leads many patients to feel subconscious and wish to pursue treatment for varicose veins for cosmetic reasons. If veins become too large, painful or troublesome, there are vein treatment options to reduce their appearance or for complete removal. Keep reading to learn your options for the best vein treatment options available. Laser Vein Removal: Highly Effective, Minimally Invasive Laser vein treatment has been used for over 20 years and is quite safe and effective. The rate of success is 94%. Preparation: Before your visit to the medical office, you should drink plenty of water. Make sure that you do not shave the treated area on the day of the appointment, or apply makeup or lotion. If prescribed a sedative medication, take it one hour before and make sure that you have someone to drive you to and from the hospital or vein care center. For your comfort, you should wear loose, comfortable clothing. You should also make sure you’re not wearing your favorite underwear, as the doctor will prep the entire leg, including the groin area. What to Expect: A laser, or a highly focused beam of light, will be used to heat the affected varicose vein or veins, causing scar tissue to form. For cautionary reasons, you will be given protective eyewear during treatment. The laser only targets the unwanted varicose vein or veins, leaving the surrounding skin untouched. Healing and Recovery: Recovery is typically short, and you will be able to walk right away following the procedure. You will be told to wear compression stockings for about a week after. After laser treatment, the veins will gradually change from a dark blue to light red color, and will eventually disappear. This healing process takes anywhere from two to six weeks. Larger veins can sometimes take up to three months. You may need to undergo multiple sessions to obtain your desired results. Vein Stripping: Traditional Outpatient Procedure Preparation: Before your vein stripping procedure, tell your provider what drugs you are taking. Also inform them if you might be pregnant, or if you have been drinking more than 1 or 2 alcoholic beverages per day. On the day of the procedure, you cannot drink or eat anything for 6-8 hours before the vein stripping. If you have medicine to take, drink only a tiny sip of water. What to Expect: The vein stripping procedure, also known as an ambulatory phlebectomy, typically takes from 1 to 1 ½ hours. If you are not allergic to anesthesia, your healthcare professional will administer either a general or spinal anesthesia through injection. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep and unable to feel any pain. With spinal anesthesia, the lower half of your body will go numb. Your doctor may also use a local anesthesia at the site of where the incisions will be made. During the surgery, there will be 2 to 3 small incisions in your leg, near the top, middle, and bottom of the vein. One will be in your groin, the other in the middle, and the last on your calf or ankle. A wire is tied to the vein and is used to pull it out through the lower cut. The thread is thin and flexible. Your surgeon will close the incisions with stitches. Healing and Recovery: For a few days (3-5) after the procedure, you will have to wear bandages and compression stockings to control bleeding and swelling. Sclerotherapy Vein Treatment: a Simple Cosmetic Procedure One of the most common varicose vein treatments for spider veins is sclerotherapy. Since the 1930s, this has been a proven and efficient procedure. It is not a viable solution for pregnant women. Your eligibility depends on the health of that area of your skin. Preparation: You should avoid taking certain medications before sclerotherapy. Talk to your doctor about your prescriptions or any herbs or dietary supplements that you are taking. You should not shave, wear makeup, or put lotion on your legs before the procedure. What to Expect: This is a quick procedure that lasts from 15 to 30 minutes performed by a dermatologist or a surgeon. The doctor will inject a fine needle full of a salt solution directly into the vein. You may experience some mild discomfort for a couple of minutes. Healing and Recovery: After sclerotherapy, walking is encouraged. You will be able to resume your daily activities and even drive yourself home. You should avoid taking any anti-inflammatory medication for at least 48 hours as well as hot baths, compresses, saunas, or direct sunlight exposure. You may experience mild itching, raised, red areas, or bruising at the injection site. These side effects should disappear within a few days. Radiofrequency Vein Ablation: Minimally Invasive and Very Successful Another solution to treat a varicose vein or veins and similar to the laser treatment is the radiofrequency vein ablation. A doctor uses heat to damage the vein, causing scar tissue to form, only using radiofrequency energy. It typically closes off the varicose vein in the leg. Preparation: There is no special preparation necessary, though, like all procedures, you must let your doctor know if you are allergic to anesthetics. Your skin will be sterilized, and local anesthesia will be administered to the area for numbing. What to Expect: Radiofrequency energy enters the vein through a catheter that is inserted through a tiny incision in the leg. The cut will be either above or below your knee. The procedure typically takes place in a medical office setting. You will be administered a local anesthesia or a mild sedative to help you relax. Healing and Recovery: Most of the time, the recovery from radiofrequency ablation is easy and fast. You may feel a tightening sensation for a couple of days or maybe some bruising or swelling. Veins may take a few months to disappear completely. Varicose Veins Treatment Cost Are you seeking a vein treatment, but fear that the price tag for relief is just too high? Let us talk about the cost of these various procedures and what considerations to take before choosing the best method for you. There are a few factors that will impact how much you pay. Do you have an underlying venous disease and/or at risk for blood clots? Is the treatment medically necessary, or is it only cosmetic? If you have venous insufficiency, a known vein disease, treatment will be covered by most insurance companies. If the procedure is only cosmetic, it may cost over $1000. Home remedies can be useful for reducing the appearance of varicose veins and provide pain relief. Changes in diet, exercise, and taking plant extracts such as horse chestnut can relieve related discomfort. Get the Best Help and Relief from Varicose Veins No matter your reason for pursuing vein treatment, there are options available to you. Speak to your vascular specialist or visit an advanced vein center. Varicose veins affect approximately 35% of the American population, are you considering a vein removal treatment for your varicose veins? Visit us at vispdocs.com, or call 928.771.8477 for more information.
Just the Facts: Peripheral Angiograms and How They Help With Vascular Disease
Just the Facts: Peripheral Angiograms and How They Help With Vascular Disease If you have been diagnosed with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), your doctor may recommend a peripheral angiogram. In the medical field, “peripheral” is used to denote conditions or procedures that are not centrally located near the “core” (heart, lungs, etc) of your body. With PAD, one or more arteries that bring the blood away from your heart, toward your legs are either blocked or at risk of becoming blocked. The blockage often causes pain and discomfort. A peripheral angiogram helps your doctor to further understand the extent of the disease in order to provide the most effective treatment plan designed for your specific needs. Peripheral angiograms can be used to see the arteries in the arms, hands, legs, and feet. Your treatment plan will be based on the outcome of the peripheral angiogram and will take into account your age, lifestyle, and other factors. Although it is an exploratory procedure, a peripheral angiogram can be both diagnostic and therapeutic. WHAT IS A PERIPHERAL ANGIOGRAM? Performed as an outpatient procedure at a medical or surgical center, you can expect to be moderately sedated during the procedure (also known as twilight sedation). This allows you to relax during the process. Usually, you are still breathing on your own and able to answer questions, but many people do not remember the procedure. Your medical team will insert a catheter into a peripheral artery, usually the femoral artery near the groin, to inject a small amount of contrast dye. As the dye flows through the artery, an X-ray video will produce a visual to see how well the blood flows and pinpoint any blockages. This procedure is also referred to as an angiography. An angiogram is the gold standard for evaluating arterial blockages If an artery is indeed blocked, the doctor will be able to perform peripheral angioplasty, which places a balloon catheter into the artery to open the blocked artery from the inside. To help keep the artery open to allow the blood flow, a stent may be inserted. This is a tube that will stay in the artery for a period of time to keep the artery open. Regardless of whether you receive a peripheral angiogram or an angiogram with stent placement, the entire procedure typically takes just one to two hours. Also, because it’s generally performed in an outpatient setting, you’ll spend just a few hours recovering at the surgery center or hospital, before heading home to heal. IS A PERIPHERAL ANGIOGRAM CONSIDERED SURGERY? A peripheral angiogram does require a small incision to be made in the skin using surgical tools without having to be admitted at a medical center. It is an outpatient procedure, not requiring an overnight stay at a hospital nor to be put under general anesthesia. It is considered an exploratory procedure to get a better understanding of what is going on internally in order for your clinical team to make the best treatment plan for your health. HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO HEAL FROM AN ANGIOGRAM? After the catheter has been removed, pressure will be applied to the site to decrease the bleeding. You will be moved to a recovery room to make sure the bleeding stops efficiently, then released to go home. It may be advised that you do little activity if any for 2-8 hours to allow for proper healing. The recovery time depends on the blood vessel involved in the procedure, and also the extent of the procedure itself. After the procedure, it is advised to drink plenty of water, at least 6 glasses, to flush out the dye from your kidneys. This process usually takes about 48 hours. Bruising at the site where the catheter was inserted is normal and should take about a week to heal. While you are healing, be mindful of any swelling, bleeding or increased pain of the leg or insertion site. It is recommended to avoid any added pressure from strenuous activity, squatting, bending or lifting items over 20 pounds while recovering, though taking short 10 minute walks throughout the day is beneficial for blood flow. As the wound is healing avoid immersion into hot water, such as a tub or pool, as the site can become more vulnerable to bleeding or infection and impede the healing process. A full set of instructions will be given to you by the doctor and will be able to go over any questions you have for post-op recovery and care. If a stent was inserted it may take up to 8 weeks to completely heal. THE BENEFITS RECEIVED FROM A PERIPHERAL ANGIOGRAM Peripheral angiograms come with a number of benefits. An accurate and detailed diagnostic outcome In many cases, a balloon angioplasty itself may be enough to relieve blockages in the legs or arms Treatments, like stent placement, can sometimes be done during a peripheral angiogram Diagnostic X-rays leave no radiation behind and rarely cause side effects Get a better understanding of the source of pain experienced in the legs The procedure itself is generally painless, though some feel a hot sensation when the contrast dye is administered, like a hot flash The recovery time is relatively short as the procedure is considered minimally-invasive with only a small incision required The procedure only requires hours at a medical center, and usually, you are released the same day YOUR HEALTH IS OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO OUR VASCULAR SPECIALISTS Our doctors here at Vascular & Interventional Specialists of Prescott have your health in their best interest. This medical team truly cares for your best health and loves to provide information and education to support healthy habits. If you are at risk of peripheral artery disease or have been diagnosed with it, or just want to increase the health of your legs and veins, take a look at these great tips for healthy veins. If you have any concerns about the procedure or questions about why your doctor thinks it’s necessary, talk with your medical team. Or, for more information on peripheral angiograms, visit our website, and call to speak to our knowledgeable staff at (928) 771-8477