Jodi Improves Health and Self-Confidence 
Following Varicose Treatment


Specialized Varicose Vein Treatment

Jodi K.’s bubbly and light-hearted personality is the first thing one notices when visiting her at the historic Barnaby’s Pizza near Chicago, where she has worked for the past three years. “I am very lucky,” she said of her workplace. “My mom is my boss.” But Jodi never thought she would experience problems associated with varicose veins at the age of 37. As she learned, there are many factors which can cause varicose veins and the discomfort they bring, such as the type of prolonged standing required in restaurant work.

In February 2015, Jodi began experiencing pain in her left leg. She initially ignored it, thinking it wasn’t anything serious. For several months her legs felt heavy, achy and sore. It was only after she noticed a scab on top of one of her veins was bleeding that she really began to worry.    

Jodi experienced approximately 10 bleeding episodes during the first part of 2015, and once the scab in question bled continuously for nearly seven minutes. “It scared the daylights out of me,” she said. “With all the blood I knew I had to take action.”
She immediately scheduled an appointment with her primary care physician. During the visit, her leg began bleeding again. Her physician recommended that Jodi see Dr. Michael Shao, a board-certified vascular surgeon at Swedish Hospital. When she confirmed that he accepted her insurance plan, she saw him right away. 

Dr. Shao is an expert in a number of treatments and he works with the patient during the consultation to determine which specific, cutting-edge procedure will benefit the patient most.

“I like to have a toolbox of options to consider and based on the patient’s symptoms and ultrasound results I can determine which procedure will work best,” Dr. Shao said. “Sometimes you need more than one way to do things and I like to be able to customize the treatment to fit the patient’s specific needs.” 

Another important component of the consultation is patient education. Dr. Shao wants the patient to understand the science behind each procedure he selects before he begins. 

After the consultation, Jodi decided to proceed with the necessary surgery: a radiofrequency ablation of the left great saphenous vein. It was her first experience in a hospital operating room.

“Thank goodness for the nurses, they kept my mind at ease,” she said. “The staff was great and I was able to get the surgery scheduled sooner than I expected.”

The procedure was completed as an outpatient, under local anesthetic and light sedation and Jodi was able to go home within a couple of hours of the surgery.

“The recovery is immediate,” said Dr. Shao. “Patients are up and walking immediately after the procedure the same day.”  

Eager to return to her routine, Jodi took only a single day off at work. “It was easier to return to work than stay at home,” she said. “I am sure my mom would have given me another day off if I wanted it,” she said, laughing. 

Feeling immediately better following her experience with Dr. Shao, she returned to Swedish Hospital the following month to have a procedure on her right leg.

“Now it feels like I am walking on air,” she said. “I no longer have any problems.”

Jodi’s self-confidence and overall body image have also improved along with her health. “I can now bare my legs in public,” she said. “The scab is no longer there and my legs feel great!” She is doing everything she can to maintain a healthy lifestyle and is looking forward to getting married in 2016.

Michael Shao, M.D., is a board-certified vascular surgeon with Endeavor Health Medical Group. His specialties include vascular surgery and wound care. 

To learn more about Endeavor Health Medical Group's Vascular Team, or to schedule your vascular services, please call 773-878-6888.

By David Modica | Published October 20, 2015
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