IAC Accreditation

Hamilton Vein Center Earns Vascular Testing Accreditations by the IAC

Hamilton Vein Center has been granted a three-year term of accreditation by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) in Vascular Testing in the area of Peripheral Venous Testing.

Accreditation by the IAC indicated that Hamilton Vein Center has undergone an intensive application and review process and is found to be in compliance with the published Standards thus demonstrating a commitment to quality patient care in vascular testing. Comprised of a detailed self-evaluation followed by a thorough review by a panel of medical experts, the IAC accreditation process enables both the critical operational and technical components of the applicant facility to be assessed, including representative case studies and their corresponding final reports.

About IAC

IAC provides accreditation programs for vascular testing, echocardiography, nuclear/PET, MRI, diagnostic CT, dental CT, carotid stenting, vein treatment and management and cardiac electrophysiology. The IAC programs for accreditation are dedicated to ensuring quality patient care and promoting health care and all support one common mission: Improving health care through accreditation®. IAC accreditation is widely respected in the medical community, as illustrated by the support of the national medical societies related to vascular testing, which include physicians, sonographers and technologists. To date, the IAC accrediting divisions have granted accreditation to more than 14,000 sites throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

IAC contact: Tamara Sloper (sloper@intersocietal.org)
Hamilton Vein Center contact: Stefanie Dunlap (Stefanie.dunlap@hamiltonvein.com)

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Sports-loving Educator Back in the Swing of Life After Vein Treatments

Suzanne W. is always on the move. Out on the golf course, tennis or pickle ball court is where she likes to be.

She’s also a life-long educator – so she has spent countless hours on her feet – and has coached many a team.

For a number of years, Suzanne noticed that when she stopped moving – she would experience excruciating pain in her calves and the tops of her feet.

Of course, she just thought it was muscle pain.

But the pain became so unbearable that she was unable to sleep. Her legs – from the knees down — became jumpy, restless, tired – and often swelled.

Luckily for Suzanne, her doctor noticed her symptoms as the signs of vein disease and referred her to the Hamilton Vein Center. Suzanne calls him her “puzzle doctor”.

Suzanne's Legs "Before" Her Vein Treatments
Suzanne’s Legs “Before” Her Vein Treatments

“My doctor just puts the pieces together. I came in with terrible knee pain, aching calves and tops of feet, and he was able to pinpoint the knee pain as a separate problem, but suspected the calves and feet issue were related to something else.”

At first, Suzanne was skeptical. She was certain all this pain was muscle-related. That school of thought changed after her initial consultation at Hamilton Vein Center where she discovered that her symptoms were caused by vein disease – a medical condition that can manifest in many ways – including aching legs and feet.

Turns out, Suzanne also suffers from lymphedema – swelling that occurs due to abnormalities in the lymphatic system. The good news is that this swelling often subsides substantially after vein treatment – a pleasant “side effect” Suzanne would experience after her treatment.

Knees Go First.

The first order of business for Suzanne was to complete and recover fully from her double knee surgeries. Once her knee problems were under control, the next step was to end her vein problems with a round of radiofrequency ablation and sclerotherapy in both legs.

Much Improved Look & Feel After Treatments

After treatment, Suzanne noticed her symptoms were gone. She was even surprised to see that the silver dollar size cluster of bulging veins on one of her legs had disappeared too.

Lessons Learned.

As an educator – Suzanne wants everyone to know that they don’t have to suffer with any kind of leg pain like she did for a number of years.

“When in doubt, get it checked out.”

No longer does she have to think, “Will I have to stand for a long time or walk a long way?” like she used to when pondering whether to go to places like the Houston rodeo.

If you are suffering from any type of leg pain, discomfort, discoloration or swelling, schedule a consultation and leg vein screening at a conveniently located Hamilton Vein Center clinic. As Suzanne says “There’s no need to suffer as long as I did.”

Since 2010, Hamilton Vein Center has been helping people feel better and look better by providing the most advanced, virtually pain-free approach to the diagnosis and treatment of vein disease. Through the use of minimally invasive procedures, board-certified interventional radiologists are able to treat patients in the clinic with little to no downtime needed. Hamilton Vein Center has conveniently located vein treatment centers in the Greater Houston area, Austin and San Antonio. 

Houston 281.565.0033 | Austin 512.551.1403 | San Antonio 210.504.4304

 

 

 

 

Vein Symptom Spotlight:  Is Your Profession Causing Leg Discomfort?

Quick question – do your legs ever feel

Tired

Achy

Heavy

Twitchy

Numb

After standing on your feet for a long period of time?

That’s because gravity is not your friend, friend. Especially if you have a job that requires you to stand for long periods at a time. We’re talking to you — hairstylists, retail and restaurant folks, healthcare professionals, assembly line workers, teachers and everyone else who has to be on his or her feet all day or all night long.

Pressure’s on.

Standing for long periods is a big pressure cooker situation for your legs. As blood flows down through the legs, your leg muscles must work against gravity to pump the blood back up towards the heart. This is no easy task —  as your leg muscles rely on movement and change of position to pump and squeeze the veins properly.  Legs that encounter fairly constant downward gravitational pull are very likely to feel — see the list above.

Over time, this pressure can cause veins to stretch. And once veins begin to stretch and lose elasticity, circulation through the legs becomes sluggish. Lax vein walls mean vein valves do not open and close tightly. So blood begins to flow backwards (known as venvein valves, venous insufficiency, damaged vein, vein disease, refluxous reflux) – and the symptoms of vein disease begin to be felt and seen.

To magnify the problem further, if you’re pre-disposed to vein troubles due to genetics, hormonal changes (pregnancy & menopause), are overweight, and lead a sedentary lifestyle, you’re even more susceptible to experiencing leg vein issues and, if left unchecked and untreated, to possibly developing advanced forms of vein disease, such as venous stasis dermatitis or leg ulcers.

Stand up to leg pain.

We applaud industries who recognize the hazards of working on your feet, like the salon professional industry. In a recent issue of Modern Salon, this article — It’s Not Vain to Mind Veins — does a great job informing hairdressers about the hazards associated with standing for long periods and educating them about the symptoms and causes of vein disease. Good on you, Modern Salon!

Temporary solutions for relief right now.

Temporary relief can come in the form of a nice soak in an Epsom salt-infused tub, putting the feet up and watching a show, or even a swim or mild walk around the neighborhood can bring relief and get your circulation moving again. It’s also a great idea to wear medical-grade compression tights and/or socks during those long shifts on your feet. Take it from the Hamilton Vein Center nurses – they swear by their compression socks!

HVC Staff Sporting Compression Socks

Permanent solutions for everlasting relief.

If your leg pain or discomfort becomes routine, make an appointment to come in for a comprehensive vein screening and ultrasound. Let’s rule out — or rule in – vein disease as a factor (What is vein disease). If vein disease is found to be the culprit, today’s advanced, minimally invasive vein treatments will shut down the diseased vein and put you on the road to peppy, energized legs as quick as you can take a lunch break. Yes, all treatments are performed on an outpatient basis and most take less than an hour!

Hamilton Vein Center Houston Area

281-565-0033 

Hamilton Vein Center San Antonio

 210-504-4304

Hamilton Vein Center Austin

512-551-1403

Resource used in this post — Modern Salon, May 2016 

Prevention Magazine Article Spotlight on Varicose Veins: A Review

We’ve been helping people with vein issues look and feel better since 2010, and it’s always been our mission to educate folks about vein disease and how, left untreated, it can lead to painful and often debilitating conditions. Needless to say, we love it when we get some help getting this message out – like the article we came across in the August 2016 issue of Prevention magazine.Prevention mag cover
Titled “Problem Solved. Varicose Veins” — this article hits on some common causes of varicose veins for women – like the hormonal changes of menopause and aging, plus information about some tried-and-true treatments, “surprising solutions” (natural & unconventional remedies), and “what’s next” – new and noteworthy treatments. All good things.

Dr. Hamilton reviewed the article, and we would like to share his thoughts on what was reported about this all-too-often misdiagnosed and under-treated medical condition that affects nearly 50% of the population over 50 and, when left untreated, can often lead to debilitating conditions like leg ulcers and skin changes.

vein disease, vein treatment, venous reflux, venous insufficiency

Tried and True Treatments

When it comes to treating conditions brought on by vein disease – like varicose and spider veins, the go-to methods are sclerotherapy, compression therapy and endovenous thermal ablation. This article gives accurate information on all three ‘tried-and-true’ remedies.

Readers are informed about the benefits of sclerotherapy treatment – that it is an outpatient procedure that eliminates spider veins and small varicose veins. At Hamilton Vein Center, we perform two types of sclerotherapy – foam and liquid. Compression socks and stockings (compression therapy) are great pain and swelling relievers. How Compression Hose WorkWe recommend compression therapy for all patients who need relief while waiting for insurance approvals and/or a vein treatment. Compression therapy is also an important part of post-treatment recovery – speeding the healing process.

And, finally, long-gone are the days of painful vein stripping. Today’s gold standard for treating larger surface veins is endovenous thermal ablation – or as we call it at HVC, radiofrequency ablation (RFA). HVC vein specialists use image-guidance to insert a very small catheter into the vein and pinpoint the exact location of the diseased area. Heat is then delivered to that area, collapsing the vein. Blood that has given off its oxygen is rerouted to the deep veins, which are very effective in getting blood out of the legs and up to the heart and lungs – where blood receives a nice, fresh blast of oxygen. Closing the vein and re-routing the blood keeps it from pooling in the veins that don’t work. This is what brings relief — and improves skin color and texture, leg ulcers and other conditions.  Near-immediate relief and a high-efficacy rate make this treatment a favorite amongst vein specialists and patients alike.

 

Surprising Solutions

The main thing Dr. Hamilton wanted to point out in this section is that the only true solution for bad veins is to have them treated with a minimally invasive procedure that’s designed to tackle your specific vein issue. The Prevention article is correct in saying that exercise, bioflavonoids and horse chestnut are terrific ways to improve blood flow, relieve swelling and strengthen vein walls – but most of the time, if you have diagnosed vein disease, it will progress and you will need minimally invasive intervention to stop it!

 

What’s Next? New & Noteworthy Options

As leaders in today’s vein treatments, HVC embraces the latest technologies and is often asked to participate in clinical trials. The Prevention article mentions three notable, new treatments – VenaSeal, MOCA and TIPP. (You can see that vein treatment folks like their acronyms!)

Dr. Hamilton had positive things to say about all three of these treatments as far as patient comfort and overall success rates – with the most noteworthy drawback being that, because they are so new and studies are still being performed (for efficacy, etc), they are either not covered by most insurance and/or take time to get insurance approval. Basically, they just need to prove themselves and gain some traction and acceptance by more vein treatment doctors and insurance companies. That said, as new treatments become available – it opens up a greater range of treatment options for patients. Which is, of course, great news.

VenaSeal – This is the only approved method of closing veins that doesn’t entail using heat or sclerosants. Instead, vein specialists use an adhesive (think superglue) and apply pressure to close the vein. Best part – you don’t have to wear compression stockings afterwards! Worst part – not covered by insurance yet.

MOCA – Despite sounding like a latte-inspired treatment, MOCA actually stands for “mechanochemical ablation” where via a special infusion catheter the vein’s lining is agitated with a rotating wire tip and sealed with a liquid sclerosant. Dr. Hamilton gives a big thumbs up to this procedure. It’s fast, effective but takes time to get approval. He was even asked to be a part of a treatment study made up of a multi-center group of vein specialists. Study the study here (and impress your friends with your MOCA vein treatment knowledge).

TIPP – the best “tip” Dr. Hamilton can give you about ‘transilluminated powered phlebectomy’ – is to understand that this is a very new procedure, utilizing fiber-optic light to illuminate vessels and extract them with a special surgical tool. This procedure allows doctors to remove larger clusters of varicose veins without harming circulation. Again, it’s the new-treatment-on-the-block, so not widely available yet. But another “one to watch.”

The August issue of Prevention is on newsstands now. This monthly publication is a great healthy lifestyle magazine – and is also available online at prevention.com. We highly recommend it! Thank you, Prevention, for helping to spread the news about vein issues and the number of ways to keep them healthy and in check!

If you have any leg pain, discoloration, swollen, texture changes, or noticeable varicose veins, come in so we can take a look and see if vein disease is to blame.

Houston 281.565.0033 | San Antonio 210.504.4304 | Austin 512.551.1403

How To Keep (Your Legs) Calm. And Summer On.

Hamilton Vein Center physician liaisons are our vein disease education ambassadors, meeting with doctors and health care providers to educate them about vein disease, the symptoms of vein disease, and how Hamilton Vein Center can help their patients with suspected vein problems live healthier lives.

One thing our liaisons are hearing from doctors right now is that many Texans are experiencing — swollen legs! Turns out TEXAS HEAT + WEAKENED / DILATED VEINS = SWELLING

Has the Texas heat caused your legs to resemble a puffer fish too? Well, at least without the prickles (we hope).

puffer fish

The Summertime Flyer our liaisons are leaving behind with providers has some great tips on how to keep legs less puffer-fishish. We want to pass along this Summer Swelling Survival Guide on to you too! Click here Summertime Flyer to read how to keep your legs cool and summer on in comfort.

It’s important to remember that leg swelling is often a sign of a potential vein problem. Veins that become dilated by heat can weaken, which can lead to irregular blood flow through the veins. That’s when problems can take shape — like swelling.

If you are experiencing leg issues of any kind, schedule a vein consultation at a conveniently located Hamilton Vein Center — and see if your veins are up to something that will last longer than the Texas heat.

Houston 281.565.0033 | San Antonio 210.504.4304 |  Austin 512.551.1403

(Content in the HVC Summertime Flyer is adapted from Varicose Veins in Summertime from varicoseveins.org)

 

 

What Restless Legs Feel Like

Crawling spiders, creeping, jumpy and electrical shock are just a few of the unsavory feelings millions of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) sufferers experience on a regular basis.

The cause(s) of Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is an ongoing study with plenty of theories but no hvc-funfacts-10pinpointed reason, but it is interesting to note that a whopping 91% of RLS sufferers also suffer from underlying vein disease. Of course vein disease isn’t considered – most of the time — by doctors when a patient presents RLS symptoms. As vein specialists we know that undetected vein disease is behind the exacerbation or is the cause of many conditions – from RLS to leg ulcers and edema.

The bright spot in all this is that 89% of sufferers with detected vein disease who undergo a minimally invasive vein treatment note significant reduction or complete relief from symptoms afterwards!

We came across a recent article on Prevention.com (What Restless Legs Syndrome Feels Like) that describes the various feelings RLS sufferers experience. Take a look and if you are suffering with any symptoms of Restless Legs Syndrome, make an appointment to come in for a comprehensive vein consultation and ultrasound today. If vein disease is detected, relief is in your future!

Houston 281.565.0033 | Austin 512.551.1403 | San Antonio 210.504.4304

Symptom Spotlight: Leg Swelling

People suffering with edema know all to well the pain and discomfort associated with swollen calves, ankles and feet. But what they may not know is that today’s advanced vein treatments can stem or end the pain and discomfort all together!swelling, leg swelling, edema, lymphedema

What causes leg swelling?

There are many reasons why our legs swell from time to time. You may notice some swelling after a long car drive, sitting at a desk all day, or living in Texas during the summer. But for people suffering with chronic swelling (edema), the causes are more often brought on by lymphatic dysfunction and/or a more progressive stage of vein disease – a medical condition caused by poor functioning vein valves. If vein disease is left unchecked, venous hypertension builds, forcing fluid to pool in the lymphatic system and tissues beneath the skin.

What’s the connection?

Because the body’s lymphatic and venous systems are intricately connected systems, both are affected when one or the other – or in some cases – both systems are diseased or compromised. Lymphedema and vein disease even share similar symptoms, including skin changes that can lead to leg ulcers and venous dermatitis – both of which are advanced conditions of vein disease.

Get your veins checked.

The bright spot in all this is that today’s minimally invasive vein treatments can bring immediate relief and reduce or eradicate leg swelling symptoms in lymphedema sufferers and vein disease sufferers. Relief starts with a visit to a Hamilton Vein Center clinic to have a comprehensive ultrasound of your leg veins by one of our highly skilled vein specialists. As vein specialists who are expertly skilled in image-guided diagnostics, we can determine right away if vein disease is present and its severity. Many lymphedema sufferers have compromised veins and getting these veins treated can be an integral part of their recovery. And for people with edema that is caused solely by vein disease, it should resolve after vein treatment is completed.

If you’d like to end your leg swelling and end or reduce your symptoms of lymphedema, contact Hamilton Vein Center today. Our vein specialists have the knowledge and the tools to help you feel better!

Houston 281.565.0033 | Austin 512.551.1403 | San Antonio 210.504.4304

Show Your Veins Some Love!

love

 

The secret to a longer, better quality, happier life with your legs starts by paying attention to the hard-working leg veins pumping and defying gravity 24/7/365 for you. And as it’s Valentine’s Day today and love is in the air — we give to you these 5 easy tips on how to show your veins some love!

  1. Make a date for a comprehensive ultrasound.

Ultrasound is the secret weapon in the fight against vein disease – helping our vein specialists see what’s going on with blood flow in your legs. Ultrasound gauges the severity of vein disease – if it is present.

As part of our treatment protocol, our vein specialists always perform a leg vein ultrasound. During the ultrasound, a simple squeeze of the calf shows red for backward flow and blue for blood traveling upwards towards the heart – the way it’s meant to flow.

It’s important to have ultrasound done correctly and by someone highly trained in detecting vein disease. A staggering 94% of vein disease is missed by regular ultrasounds.  This stat primarily represents ultrasounds performed in hospitals and by doctors, heath techs and surgeons looking for deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the deep leg veins. Vein disease affects the superficial leg veins, which are closer to the skin’s surface.

What’s ironic about this 94% stat, though, is that the venous reflux that results from weakened and engorged vein walls and dysfunctioning vein valves, should be obvious during an ultrasound, whether looking for DVT or any other vein problem. Continue reading “Show Your Veins Some Love!”

Do You Have “Mom Legs?”

map of dallas
Spider veins are a red flag for vein disease.

Hey, all you moms out there. We’re talking to you today — about “mom legs” — the scourge of many a mother. We promise you, “mom legs” are not just one more thing you have to put up with as a mom. You are not alone. And today’s vein treatments can help.

Case in point:  We have a “mom” patient who underwent a VNUS Closure on her right leg about four years ago. This gal had first noticed vein problems during her second pregnancy. The problems really ramped up during her third pregnancy – she had to wear compression hose pretty much for nine months. Her mom has vein disease — complete with restless legs and lots of spider veins and achiness, so our patient was predisposed to develop vein disease down the road. Which it did. Well, our patient was back in recently because she felt a twinge of “something going on” with her left leg and just wanted to get it checked out. (That’s the thing once you have a vein treatment – you know the signs and get it checked out if you feel anything! Turns out no vein disease was present for this mom – so that’s good news).

Anyway, while “our mom” was in, she mentioned how she has lots of mom friends who sometimes talk about their “mom legs.” Mostly referring to the spider veins running up the backs of thighs, behind the knees and a few bulges here and there. Our patient told us that when she hears this from other moms, she tells them about her vein treatment – and that it, in her case, it was vein disease that was causing the spider veins, plus the feelings of heaviness and achiness. When her friends hear about the discomfort part – they almost always say – “Yeah, I get that too.”

It’s not surprising that a good number of moms are battling mom legs. The vein disease stats are stacked against women versus men (of course) and when you add pregnancy to the equation, the odds are even worse.

Why Vein Disease Loves Women.

Genetics – You really can blame mom in this case. Girl, if your mama has mom legs, chances are you’re going to get/have already developed mom legs. If your mom has vein disease, you have a 50% chance of developing it. If both your mom and dad have it, your unlucky chances increase to 90% of developing vein disease – and mom legs.

Gender – women are more prone to developing vein disease than men due to the release of female hormones during ovulation and pregnancy and diminishing hormones during menopause. These hormonal fluctuations cause the vein walls to relax, leading to insufficient flow of blood through the veins and backward flow of blood (venus reflux).

Fact: 1 out 3 women versus 1 out of 5 men develop vein disease during her/his lifetime

Pregnancy — nine months of hormonal changes, increased blood volume, weight gain and your growing baby pushing down on the pelvic area take their toll on your veins. Many women develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Luckily most of these vein issues recede or go away entirely after the birth. However, if you are predisposed and/or already have vein disease, the veins are weakened even further and you have a good chance of developing bulges, spider veins, and other vein disease conditions quicker.

During pregnancy, your bod and your veins are dealing with:

1. Increased Blood Volume – during pregnancy, blood volume increases 25-40%, making the body work harder to pump. Pumping more blood through veins can weaken them and make already weak veins enlarge and engorge even more. Many women experience bulging varicose veins during pregnancy, which usually go away after the birth.

2. Increased Pressure – due to increased blood volume; gravity from the growing belly pushing on organs and veins; and weight gain

3. Family History – a genetic predisposition to vein disease increases your chances of developing varicose veins and related vein disorders whether you experience pregnancy or not. Pregnancy exacerbates the situation – even kick-starting it for some.

4. Hormonal Changes – increased levels of progestin cause veins to dilate, plus fluctuations. After nine months of being stretched and enlarged, they sometimes don’t bounce back to their pre-pregnancy selves.

Fact: 30% of women will develop varicose veins during the first pregnancy, and 55% will during their second and subsequent pregnancies)

Mom Legs are Easily Treatable.
Today’s vein treatments let you say “bye, bye” to spider veins, bulging veins and other discomforting signs of vein disease – without taking time out of your busy schedule. And while moms are notorious for putting others ahead of themselves, it’s important to remember that vein disease is a progressive medical condition that will worsen over time if left untreated. So mom legs can get to “I gotta cover up my legs all the time legs” as the symptoms intensify and conditions worsen.

Mom legs aren’t just “part of getting older.” Get your legs back to being just “your name here’s legs” At Hamilton Vein Center we offer an array of vein treatments that go to the source of your vein problem – from sclerotherapy for the treatment of cosmetic spider veins to closing the diseased vein via VNUS Closure and VenaSeal — a breakthrough image-guided treatment, which uses an adhesive agent or glue delivered to a patient’s vein through a catheter — now FDA approved and offered at Hamilton Vein Center to specialty vein treatments like ambulatory phlebectomy.

If you’re not liking the look of your mom legs and/or are experiencing any discomfort – and we mean, any discomfort, make an appointment at a conveniently located Hamilton Vein Center and let us help you look and feel better in no time.

Houston 281.565.0033 | San Antonio 210.504.4304 | Austin 512.551.1403