Radio frequency relieves varicose veins, saves leg

Unsightly and uncomfortable varicose veins affect about half of people over the age of fifty. For a retired Lake Charles principal and football coach, the severe problem almost cost him a leg.

Solomon Cannon spent most of his career on his feet.

"That was my life. That's what I did. You know? When I was coaching and an administrator you know that's what I did you know you move around," said Cannon.

Last year Cannon found a small wound on his left leg that just would not go away. In fact, it kept getting worse. What started at the size of a pencil eraser "was almost completely around my leg," said Cannon.

A painful problem that brought him to Dr. Carl Fastabend, cardiologist at the Vein Center of Southwest Louisiana.

"He could barely walk in fact he was on crutches when I first met him," recalled Dr. Fastabend.

"You cannot believe how painful it was," described Cannon.

Cannon did not have a heart problem. The issue was in his veins.

"The valves in the veins that are responsible for carrying blood back to the heart wear out," explained Dr. Fastabend.

The condition is called venous degeneration and causes severe varicose veins, swelling and even ulcers.

"It is five times more common than heart disease," said Dr. Fastabend.

In Cannon's case, his wound could not heal without healthy blood flow.

"Without appropriate treatment of the veins, it could've led to loss of his leg," warned Dr. Fastabend.

The old treatment, vein stripping, helped restore blood flow, but came with a cost.

"Disfiguring in and of itself... recuperation time is long," said Dr. Fastabend about vein stripping.

The new treatment uses radio frequency to literally make the diseased veins disappear.

"We use radio frequency to heat the vein, ablate the vein, ablate which means to go away," explained Dr. Fastabend.

The treated veins are absorbed back into the body, and the healthy veins can do their job properly. After Cannon had the outpatient procedure, he says his wound is 75 percent healed.

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