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Allison Sandbeck

Easing the pain of varicose veins

Being on her feet "all the time" is a way of life for Allison Sandbeck. The busy mom of four works as a chef in Viroqua and enjoys working out. But over the past few years, being on her feet started getting more difficult as the varicose veins Allison developed during pregnancy began causing problems.

"By the end of the day, my legs were painful and felt very heavy. It was pretty bad," she says.

She thought about surgery but was concerned about what that would mean for her lifestyle. "If someone says I need to sit still I think, 'I can't do that! I have a lot of stuff to do!'" she says with a laugh.

But in the fall of 2013, the 39-year-old suffered an injury that made her realize she needed help. "I broke a blood vessel in my leg during a workout. It wouldn't heal and I developed a staph infection," she remembers.

"With varicose veins, instead of pushing blood up and out of the legs, the blood flows back down and pools. In Allison's case, her varicose veins had gotten so bad they weren't moving fluid away from the wound so it wouldn't heal," explains Alexander Wade, MD, a general surgeon at the Gundersen Viroqua Clinic. Allison made an appointment to talk with Dr. Wade about treatment options. He told her about a new laser procedure that requires virtually no down time.

"I thread the laser into the damaged vein. The energy from the laser seals the vein shut. The entire procedure takes about an hour, and most patients have little to no pain," Dr. Wade explains.

"I kept waiting for the pain to kick in," Allison says, "but it never did. I noticed right away the heavy feeling, pain and swelling in my legs were gone."

One of the best parts of the recovery for Allison—she was encouraged to walk. "For someone who is active, it was nice knowing walking was part of my recovery," she says.

Overall Allison couldn't be any happier with her experience and the results and says, "I was happy to be able to have the procedure done right here in Viroqua."

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