Looking at a swollen and reddened leg, a Suffolk attorney wondered if his slight pain would worsen and stand in the way of his regular workouts. Fortunately for him, his vascular surgeon friend at The Vein Center of Virginia could help.

A leg up at the gym

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Whitney Saunders, a 65-year-old Suffolk attorney and Sentara Healthcare Board of Directors member, knew where to go when his right leg became swollen and discolored.

“I used to play tennis with Dr. Siddharth Bhende,” he shares, “and felt comfortable reaching out to him at the Vein Center of Virginia. I only had a little pain, but saw that something wasn’t right with my leg.”

Whitney had a superficial venous thrombophlebitis, a superficial blood clot.

“We see this when stagnant blood pulls up in the vein,” explains Dr. Bhende, who practices at the Suffolk location of The Vein Center of Virginia, one of four centers. “It’s a known complication of having longstanding varicose veins.”

He treated Whitney with laser vein ablation and a phlebectomy, shutting down the blood flow through the great saphenous vein and removing the diseased segments of the vein in minimally invasive, outpatient procedures. A patient’s body compensates for the missing section by using other veins to circulate blood.

“We can do multiple procedures to help people with varicose veins,” Dr. Bhende notes. “We customize each patient’s treatment plan. About 80 percent of the patients we help have medical concerns, with pain and swelling, and 20 percent are purely cosmetic.”

As a vascular surgeon, Dr. Bhende, along with his colleagues, can offer assistance to both types of patients.

“The fact that we’re vascular surgeons separates us from other vein centers,” he says. “We can assess if patients are also experiencing vein concerns higher in their body that complicate their condition and treat them. We offer the whole package.”

Whitney’s procedures were completed in about an hour.

“It was a great experience overall,” he says. “Everyone was friendly and helpful. I could walk around and go to work the next day if I wanted, and in two weeks, I was back at the gym working out.”

In spring 2018, shortly after Whitney’s visit, The Vein Center of Virginia started routinely using VenaSeal, a recently FDA-approved, glue-based closure device that further eases and speeds recovery. They are the only local center to do so.

Patients benefit through reduced pain and swelling and not needing to wear support hose during their recovery. They are even able to return the work the same day with no downtime.

All vein repair procedures are available at The Vein Center of Virginia’s four locations, and the Virginia Beach center additionally provides laser and cosmetic services such as laser hair removal, tattoo removal, Intense Pulsed Light to treat sun damage and facial veins, and fractional laser resurfacing to reduce wrinkles and acne scars.

“We want to always offer what’s best for patients,” says Dr. Bhende, “and what helps them feel better.”

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