Dr. Peter Lawrence, UCLA's chief of vascular surgery, picks up size 7 crochet hooks from a fabric store not to make sweaters or scarves but to use in a new technique he has developed to treat varicose veins.
Early results of the new outpatient procedure, called light-assisted stab phlebectomy, or LASP, appear in a study in the October issue of the journal The American Surgeon.
More than 250 patients at UCLA have undergone Lawrence's procedure, which is designed to remove branch varicose veins from the thighs, calves and ankles. The technique combines two current varicose vein-removal methods powered phlebectomy and stab phlebectomy which excise veins through a small incision in the skin. Lawrence's method also employs transilllumination, in which a light source is placed beneath the skin to help highlight the veins during the procedure.
In addition, Lawrence has developed new, minimally invasive surgical instruments to remove the veins.
"This new, sutureless technique allows complete and rapid varicose branch vein removal with few missed varicose veins, little bruising and an excellent cosmetic result," said Lawrence, author of the study and a professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
Varicose veins affect over 40 percent of the adult population, mostly women. The inherited condition occurs frequently in the legs, where weakened valves in the veins lack the strength to push blood back to the heart, allowing it to pool in the lower extremities.
During the LASP procedure, in which the patient is sedated but remains conscious, Lawrence makes a tiny incision near the varicose veins and threads a slender tube with a light source at its tip underneath the vein cluster.A mixture of saline, lidocaine and epinephrine is infused into the area, providing a further anesthetic and "plumping up" the veins so that they are easily visible. The lights of the operating room are tur
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University of California - Los Angeles