No one should have to deal with chronic pain, but that was the potential reality Judy M. faced as she approached her 50th wedding anniversary.
The Alabama resident and her husband had planned a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Costa Rica to celebrate this milestone. However, Judy was experiencing constant leg cramping, swelling, and pain from severe varicose veins on the back of her legs and near her ankle that would have prevented her from enjoying their vacation.
Judy initially visited a doctor who said she’d have to live with chronic leg pain. Not willing to give up, she sought a second opinion at a local Center for Vein Restoration (CVR), a specialty clinic that provides treatment for varicose and spider vein care.
CVR said they could help. Judy underwent two minimally invasive procedures, including ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to inject medication into her damaged vein to restore proper blood flow and ease pain. With no downtime needed after the procedure, Judy headed to Costa Rica just two weeks later with her husband to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
CVR can deliver successful outcomes like these thanks in part to Versana Ultrasound. The Versana Ultrasound family, GE HealthCare’s advanced ultrasound technology, gives CVR’s highly skilled doctors and clinicians access to the high-quality imagery they need to diagnose and effectively treat venous disorders and deliver the care that helps many patients live pain-free.
Transforming Vein Care
Veins are critical to the body’s circulatory system, transporting blood from vital organs and tissues back to the heart.
But when valves inside the veins are damaged — either through direct trauma or unintentional injury — it can lead to chronic pain, bruising, swelling, slower blood flow, and the formation of potentially dangerous blood clots.
More than 30 million Americans have some form of venous disease. Varicose veins, most common in the leg, can range from cosmetic annoyances to a serious condition causing chronic pain, as Judy was experiencing. It’s caused by veins that get swollen or twisted due to certain conditions, family history, and other risk factors. Veins have one-way valves that keep the blood flowing from the heart throughout the body. If these valves are weak or damaged, the blood can pool or back up, causing swelling, which leads to varicose veins.
Traditional vein treatments are often invasive. The standard treatment for varicose veins involves a stripping procedure, in which a vascular surgeon makes multiple cuts along the damaged vein and removes the vein through the incision. The procedure is often painful and has a relatively long recovery time.
However, modern technologies like Versana are transforming this process. Zayed Meadows, a registered vascular technologist and clinical director of the Vascular Lab at CVR, says Versana ultrasound solutions allow patients to receive care in an office-based setting.
CVR, which has more than 100 locations and 60 vein doctors across 21 states in the U.S., leverages Versana in two ways. First, clinicians use it to gather images of veins in real time and examine the direction of blood flow through the veins. Versana also improves clinical efficiency. Doctors receive reports relatively quickly after patients’ ultrasound exams, allowing them to meet for a consultation right away. During the consultation, the doctor reviews their test results and decides the best course of treatment.
“It really helps improve our workflow in our clinics,” Meadows says. “That’s one of the big, key things the Versana system has afforded us.”
CVR also uses Versana technologies in its procedures. It helps doctors visualize the surgical field more effectively and safely insert a needle into the vein. This technology, which has been on the market for five years, offers powerful imaging capabilities for providers, including real-time 3D image rendering and display and 4D capabilities that add movement to 3D images. Whizz image tuning optimizes images as a clinician scans different organs or structures within the body. Versana also has needle recognition capabilities that allow clinicians to perform biopsies and determine the precise location of the needle point.
With this advanced ultrasound technology, CVR can perform minimally invasive vein treatments. Some of these treatments include radiofrequency ablation, which uses heat energy to seal the damaged vein. CVR also performs endovenous laser ablation, a procedure that involves inserting a tube directly into the vein and using heat to collapse it. Through the use of local anesthesia for both procedures, patients typically experience only minimal bruising, discoloration, and tenderness afterward, which clears up within weeks.
Meadows says patients can visit one of CVR’s clinics, receive treatment, and walk out in a mere 30 to 60 minutes.
“It’s nearly pain-free for them,” she says.
CVR uses both the Versana Premier™ and Versana Active™ ultrasound systems. Versana Active is a more portable solution that clinicians can easily transport from room to room within each clinic or between CVR’s local clinics in each state.
These technologies have allowed CVR not only to deliver better vein care, but to uncover other potential conditions that affect the arteries. CVR clinicians also use it to visualize pathologies in the tissues and around the knee area that other ultrasound systems can’t capture.
“[Versana] gives us the opportunity to identify certain pathologies that we may not be necessarily focused on and looking for, but we're able to really see with the system,” Meadows says.
Whether it’s treating venous disorders or identifying underlying causes of other diseases, CVR is harnessing GEHC’s Versana technology to transform people’s lives.
Everyone deserves to live as pain-free as possible. CVR makes this a reality for the more than 200,000 patients it serves every year, allowing people like Judy to get quality treatment without significant postoperative pain or recovery time — and even enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime tropical vacation.
For the past five years, the Versana Ultrasound family has provided reliable, affordable, easy-to-use, and versatile ultrasound solutions that enable healthcare professionals to confidently deliver quality care, and now touches nearly 500,000 patients every day in more than 128 countries.