Health & Fitness

Innovative New Vein Disease Treatments

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Gilvydis Vein Clinic opens new location in Sycamore.

Amy Jenkins, a Registered Vascular Technologist with Gilvydis Vein Clinic, performs a Doppler venous ultrasound to map out varicose veins in a patient’s legs. In addition to his location in Rockford, Dr. Rimas Gilvydis has opened a second clinic in Sycamore, where patients can find relief from varicose veins, through minimally invasive procedures, without traveling out of the Sycamore/DeKalb area. (Gilvydis Vein Clinic photo)

Amy Jenkins, a Registered Vascular Technologist with Gilvydis Vein Clinic, performs a Doppler venous ultrasound to map out varicose veins in a patient’s legs. In addition to his location in Rockford, Dr. Rimas Gilvydis has opened a second clinic in Sycamore, where patients can find relief from varicose veins, through minimally invasive procedures, without traveling out of the Sycamore/DeKalb area. (Gilvydis Vein Clinic photo)

Sycamore and DeKalb residents suffering the adverse effects of varicose veins now have an innovative resource for treatment close to home.

The Gilvydis Vein Clinic, recently established at 2127 Midlands Court, Ste. 102, Sycamore, is the second clinic site where Dr. Rimas Gilvydis, along with Dr. Hyungman Kang, perform endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) surgery, a minimally invasive treatment for painful, disfiguring varicose veins with few side effects and a quick recovery.

“I’ve been interested in opening a second clinic for some time now,” Gilvydis says. “I decided on Sycamore and DeKalb because these areas didn’t have this resource available to patients, without the need to travel for treatment.” This new site features the very latest in state-of-the-art equipment. With more than 12 years of experience, and with more than 15,000 laser treatments performed, his experienced physicians and staff are dedicated to offering patients quality treatment and outcomes.

Gilvydis is a staff radiologist at Rockford’s SwedishAmerican Hospital, with specialties in neuroradiology and interventional radiology. In partnership with SwedishAmerican Hospital, Gilvydis also founded, and is currently the medical director of, Northern Illinois Vein Clinic (NIVC) in Rockford. Gilvydis has been treating vein disease using minimally invasive treatment techniques since its inception in 2001. His experience and expertise are considered to be unparalleled. He is a board-certified interventional radiologist, specializing in a large variety of minimally invasive modern medical treatments. He was one of the first physicians in the U.S. trained in the treatment of varicose veins using radiofrequency ablation. Gilvydis was also one of the first physicians in the U.S. to pass the American Board of Phlebology exam in 2008, becoming a Diplomate of the American Board of Phlebology. He is one of only 520 physicians nationwide certified by the American College of Phlebology to treat varicose veins.

A fascination with image-guided, minimally invasive medical procedures, coupled with a family history of varicose veins, motivated Gilvydis to found the NIVC in Rockford. There, patients of all ages, with all levels of varicose vein disease, find help. Now, his second location in Sycamore/DeKalb brings his skills and extensive experience to an area that lacked this service of comprehensive treatment of varicose veins.

Gilvydis grew up in Franklin Village, Mich., a northwest suburb of Detroit. He attended the University of Michigan, earning a bachelor’s in biochemistry, and then went on to Wayne State Medical School, Detroit, where he earned his medical degree.

“In medical school, I was introduced to the fairly new field of interventional radiology,” he says. “I was fascinated that we could perform minimally invasive treatments that could replace invasive traditional surgery. I was originally taught to treat diseased arteries and veins by performing angiograms, angioplasty and stenting.”

Gilvydis became interested in specialized treatments for varicose veins during his interventional radiology fellowship at Chicago’s Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center, now called Rush University Medical Center. His fellowship class was the first to learn the new minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins.

“At that time, the treatment included only radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins,” he says. “Since I had a significant amount of varicose veins myself, I instantly became very interested in learning this new treatment. I didn’t want to undergo surgical stripping. Both my mother and maternal grandfather had significant varicose vein disease, and I knew that I was genetically predisposed to more-advanced disease.”

Gilvydis says EVLA is a remarkable contemporary solution to an age-old health problem. Varicose veins have plagued humankind for thousands of years. These gnarled, enlarged veins can show as dark purple or blue and can cause achy or heavy feelings, burning, throbbing, cramping, itching and swelling. They are likely to get worse when the patient stands or sits for a long time. And at their worst, varicose veins can lead to skin ulcers, an indication of serious vascular disease that requires prompt medical attention.

Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in the legs and feet. That’s because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins on the lower body.

For others, varicose veins and spider veins are simply a cosmetic concern, says Gilvydis. Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but they’re smaller. They’re found closer to the skin’s surface and are often red or blue. Spider veins most often occur on the legs, but they can also be found on the face. Treatment options include sclerotherapy and broadband light therapy (BBL), which are offered at both locations.

For decades, surgeons performed vein stripping to alleviate varicose veins. This treatment involved cutting the top and bottom ends of the affected vein, then surgically stripping it out. The procedure, which is still in use, requires a hospital stay, results in scarring that is nearly as unsightly as the untreated varicose veins, causes a great deal of pain, and involves a substantially longer healing phase.
Conversely, EVLA is a minimally invasive surgical procedure, using the latest technology, performed on an outpatient basis, and resulting in minimal pain and bruising. Gilvydis explains that it is performed under local anesthesia, as opposed to general anesthesia, which is used for vein stripping. Better still, the outcomes are significantly improved over traditional treatments.

A small FDA-approved optic fiber is inserted through a small, low-profile catheter positioned in the diseased varicose vein. The laser is activated and the optic fiber is slowly withdrawn from the vein, heating and closing the vein. Once the vein is closed, it no longer allows venous blood from refluxing (recirculating) down the leg, relieving the pressure the vein branches and surrounding normal vein were exposed to. Upon closure of the varicose veins, the circulation of blood to and from your legs significantly improves, thus resolving the typical symptoms.

Treatment usually lasts less than an hour, with success rates greater than 98 percent and a very low rate of reocurrence. Patients can return to work immediately, but will need to wear compression stockings and perform only “light” duty at work (no strenuous lifting) for two weeks.

Of his new Sycamore/DeKalb clinic, Gilvydis says, “I’m very excited to be offering comprehensive vein treatment to a location that didn’t have it available. Residents will no longer have to travel long distances to receive expert treatment for varicose veins. And now that varicose veins have been designated a medical condition, as opposed to elective cosmetic surgery, insurance agencies and Medicare are willing to help pay for the treatment.”

Gilvydis looks forward to the possibility of opening additional locations, once Gilvydis Vein Clinic is well-established, bringing excellent vein care to those in need.

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