UNC Vascular Specialties
UNC Comprehensive Vein Clinic
There are a number of ways venous pathology presents itself in patients. Some of the most common diagnoses are deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and varicose and spider veins in the legs.
The UNC Comprehensive Vein Clinic takes an individualized approach to patient care. Because optimal therapeutic results depend on the accuracy of the initial diagnosis, our board-certified vascular and interventional radiology (IR) specialists use state-of-the-art procedures in our Peripheral Vascular Laboratory such as ultrasound imaging and other non-invasive diagnostic modalities.
Our specialists take a conservative, non-operative approach to the initial management and treatment of most patients with venous pathology. Vascular and IR specialists at UNC recognize the advantages of non-operative strategies as a first line of treatment and are happy to discuss the pros and cons of conservative therapies such as medical treatment or minimally invasive endovenous procedures instead of surgery when such options exist.
Some of the minimally invasive procedures offered at the UNC Comprehensive Vein Clinic are:
Injection sclerotherapy for treatment of “spider” veins, which obliterates dilated veins visible beneath the skin surface. In this procedure, certain types of fluid or foam are injected into the unsightly veins, which improves the cosmetic appearance of the leg.
Laser ablation of bulging veins with valvular incompetence. Bulging varicose veins can now be treated with minimally invasive procedures, which involve temporarily inserting a flexible laser into the non-functioning vein to obliterate the lumen, thus preventing the transmission of pressure and fluid into the varicose vein. Blood flow continues through the remaining deeper veins. Laser ablation involves less trauma to the patient than the old practice of vein stripping, which involved physically pulling the veins from the body.
Powered phlebectomy for removal of varicose veins. Bulging or visible varicose veins in the thigh, knee, and lower leg can now be removed with a metal rotating-tip device that’s inserted through small surgical stab incisions close to the varicose vein. The device loosens the vein, which is then suctioned out underneath the skin surface through surgical tubing.
Minimally invasive treatment of acute deep vein thrombosis (DVT). While many patients with recent clots in the deep veins can be treated appropriately with blood thinners, some patients with acute DVT may also be candidates for delivery of “clot-busting” medication directly into the area of the clot. Our vascular and interventional radiology specialists are also trained in the use of minimally invasive devices inserted directly into the venous system to facilitate rapid dissolution of the clot.
Minimally invasive treatment of chronic deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Blood clots in the deep veins that have been present for more prolonged periods can result in obstruction of the venous flow channel that creates limb swelling. UNC Vein Clinic vascular and IR specialists utilize a variety of minimally invasive techniques to treat these blockages, including balloon angioplasty and venous stents.
Integration with the UNC Wound Healing Clinic
Severe dysfunction of the venous system in the lower extremities may result in long-standing limb swelling, build-up of pigment in the skin, and areas of skin breakdown called venous stasis ulcers. Vascular and interventional radiology specialists in the UNC Comprehensive Vein Clinic are experienced in treating patients with these dysfunctions, and work together with the UNC Wound Healing Clinic to allow seamless integration of care between the two clinics.