Frequently Asked Questions

You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers. Get information on some of the most frequently asked questions about vein procedures and general surgical information here. 

General Questions

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What Services Do You Provide?

We offer a comprehensive range of ambulatory surgical procedures at our clinic in Lockport. The full list includes:

  • Appendectomy (appendix removal)
  • Biliary Surgery (bile duct exploration)
  • Breast Surgery (biopsy, breast cancer)
  • Carotid Endarterectomy
  • Cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal)
  • Colon Surgery (large intestine removal for cancer or diverticulitis)
  • Cosmetic Services – Sclerotherapy, Dermal Fillers, Botox
  • Diagnostic Upper and Lower Scopes
    • Bronchoscopy
    • Colonoscopy
    • Sigmoidoscopy
  • Diagnostic Laparoscopy (for chronic pain or scar tissue)
  • Emergency Surgery (for perforation, small bowel obstruction)
  • Gastric Surgery (stomach resection)
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hernia Surgery
    • Inguinal
    • Femoral
    • Ventral
    • Umbilical
  • Oncology Surgery (for cancer)
  • Pacemaker Insertion and Follow-up Care (Remote Access Pacemaker Monitoring)
  • Paraesophageal Hernia
  • Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • Pilondial Cystectomy (Pilondial disease)
  • Placement of Catheters
    • Mediport
    • Groshing
  • Screening Colonoscopy
  • Skin Lesions/Biopsy (lumps and bumps)
  • Small Bowel Surgery (small intestine removal)
  • Splenectomy (spleen removal)
  • Thyroidectomy
  • Treatment for Varicose Veins
  • Upper and Lower Scopes (Sigmoidoscopy, Colonoscopy)
  • Ventral/Incisional Hernia (abdominal wall)
  • Wound Care
    • Dressing Changes
    • Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT)
    • Profore
    • Unna Boots
What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins – which afflict 10% to 20% of all adults – are swollen, twisted, blue veins that are close to the surface of the skin. Because valves in them are damaged, they hold more blood at higher pressure than normal. That forces fluid into the surrounding tissue, making the affected leg swell and feel heavy.

Unsightly and uncomfortable, varicose leg veins can promote swelling in the ankles and feet and itching of the skin. They may occur in almost any part of the leg but are most often seen in the back of the calf or on the inside of the leg between the groin and the ankle. Left untreated, patient symptoms are likely to worsen with some possibly leading to venous ulceration.

What Causes Varicose Veins?

The normal function of leg veins – both the deep veins in the leg and the superficial veins – is to carry blood back to the heart. During walking, for instance, the calf muscle acts as a pump, contracting veins and forcing blood back to the heart. To prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction, veins have numerous valves. If the valves fail (a cause of venous reflux), blood flows back into superficial veins and back down the leg. This results in veins enlarging and becoming varicose. The process is like blowing air into a balloon without letting the air flow out again – the balloon swells.  

Treatment must stop this reverse flow at the highest site or sites of valve failure.  In the legs, veins close to the surface of the skin drain into larger veins, such as the saphenous vein, which run up to the groin.  Damaged varicose veins may ache and feet and ankles may swell towards the end of the day, especially in hot weather. Varicose veins can get sore and inflamed, causing redness of the skin around them. In some cases, patients may develop venous ulcerations.

Why Does it Occur More in the Legs?

Gravity is the culprit.  The distance from the feet to the heart is the furthest blood has to travel in the body. Consequently, those vessels experience a great deal of pressure. If vein valves can’t handle it, the back flow of blood can cause the surface veins to become swollen and distorted.

Who Is at Risk for Varicose Veins?

Conditions contributing to varicose veins include genetics, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes at menopause, work or hobbies requiring extended standing, and past vein diseases such as thrombus phlebitis (i.e., inflammation of a vein as a blood clot forms.) Women suffer from varicose veins more than men, and the incidence increases to 50% of people over age 50.

What Are Venous Leg Ulcers?

Venous ulcers are areas of the lower leg where the skin has died and exposed the flesh beneath. Ulcers can range from the size of a penny to completely encircling the leg. They are painful, odorous open wounds which weep fluid and can last for months or even years. Most leg ulcers occur when vein disease is left untreated. They are most common among older people but can also affect individuals as young as 18.

What Is the Short-Term Treatment for Varicose Veins?

ESES (pronounced SS) is an easy way to remember the conservative approach.  It stands for Exercise Stockings Elevation and Still. Exercising, wearing compression hose, elevating and resting the legs will not make the veins go away or necessarily prevent them from worsening because the underlying disease (venous reflux) has not been addressed. However, it may provide some symptomatic relief. Weight reduction is also helpful.

If there are inflamed areas or an infection, topical antibiotics may be prescribed. If ulcers develop, medication and dressings should be changed regularly.

There are also potentially longer-term treatment alternatives for visible varicose veins, such as sclerotherapy and phlebectomy.

What Are Spider Veins?

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins but are smaller and are much closer to the skin surface. Spider veins are red or blue lines or web-like networks that you can see through the skin. They can appear anywhere on the body but the legs and face are the most common areas.  

Read more in this downloadable report

What Is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure done by your health care provider to treat uncomplicated spider veins and uncomplicated reticular veins. The treatment involves a chemical injected, such as a saline or detergent solution, into a vein causing it to “spasm” or close up. Other veins then take over its work. This may bring only temporary success and varicose veins frequently recur. It is most effective on smaller surface veins, less than 1-2mm in diameter.

What Is Ambulatory Phlebectomy?

As with sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure for treating surface veins in which multiple small incisions are made along a varicose vein and it is “fished out” of the leg using surgical hooks or forceps. The procedure is done under local or regional anesthesia, in an operating room or an office “procedure room.”

What Is Vein Stripping?

If the source of the reverse blood flow is due to damaged valves in the saphenous vein, the vein may be removed by a surgical procedure known as vein stripping. Under general anesthesia, all or part of the vein is tied off and pulled out. The legs are bandaged after the surgery but swelling and bruising may last for weeks.

When Is Closure Used?

Closure is used, like vein stripping, to eliminate reverse blood flow in the saphenous vein, but without physically 
removing the vein, and can be performed without general anesthesia. Like other venous procedures, the closure procedure involves risks and potential complications. Each patient should consult their doctor to determine whether or not they are a candidate for this procedure and if their condition presents any special risks. Complications reported in medical literature include numbness or tingling (paresthesia) skin burns, blood clots, temporary tenderness in the treated limb.

What Is the Main Difference Between Arteries and Veins?

In the simplest terms, arteries pump oxygen-rich blood from the heart, while veins return oxygen-depleted blood to the heart.

What Are the Three Main Categories of Veins?

Deep leg veins return blood directly to the heart and are in the center of the leg, near the bones.

Superficial leg veins are just beneath the skin. They have less support from surrounding muscles and bones than the deep veins and may thus develop an area of weakness in the wall. When ballooning of the vein occurs, the vein becomes varicose.

Perforator veins serve as connections between the superficial system and the deep system of leg veins.

What Is a Colonoscopy?

Colonoscopy enables the doctor to examine the lining of your colon (large intestine) for abnormalities by inserting a flexible tube as thick as your finger into your anus and slowly advancing it into your rectum and colon. After your medical history is reviewed, an intravenous (IV) line will be inserted. You will receive a sedative that will allow you to be unaware of the events during the test. The procedure itself usually takes 20 to 30 minutes, although you should plan on two to three hours for waiting, preparation, and recovery.

Why Is a Colonoscopy Done?

There are many indications for a colonoscopy. It is currently the standard of care for colorectal cancer screening. It can also be helpful in the evaluation of gastrointestinal bleeding, anemia, diarrhea, constipation, diverticular disease and abdominal pain.

What If a Polyp Is Found?

Polyps are abnormal growths in the colon lining that are usually benign (noncancerous). They vary in size from a tiny dot to several inches and are fairly common. The doctor cannot always tell a benign polyp from a malignant (cancerous) polyp by its outer appearance, so he might send removed polyps for analysis. Removal of adenomatous polyps dramatically reduces the risk of developing cancer.

Are There Risks Associated with a Colonoscopy?

Bleeding and creating a hole in the colon wall (perforation) are the main potential complications associated with colonoscopy. Bleeding occurs in fewer than 3% of patients who undergo colonoscopy. When bleeding occurs, it usually stops spontaneously. Occasionally, it is necessary to repeat the procedure to stop the bleeding by cauterizing the bleeding site or injecting it with a substance to stop the hemorrhage. Perforation is a serious complication. Urgent surgery is almost always required to repair the colon. Fortunately, perforation occurs in less than 1 in 1000 patients (0.1%) who undergo colonoscopy.

What Training/Experience Do Our Doctors Have in Colonoscopies?

In addition to training in general and vascular surgery, our physicians have completed five or more years of subspecialty training in the evaluation and management of gastrointestinal disorders and gastrointestinal endoscopy. Each of our physicians performs more than 500 colonoscopies every year.

What Do I Need to Do to Prepare for a Colonoscopy?

It is essential that the colon be completely cleared of fecal material to perform the procedure. You will receive detailed instructions concerning the preparation. Please follow those instructions to the letter.

Can I Continue Current Medications While Preparing for a Colonoscopy?

Most medications can be continued as usual, but some medications can interfere with the preparation of the examination. Inform the doctor about medications you’re taking, particularly aspirin products, arthritis medications, anticoagulants (blood thinners), insulin or iron products. Also, be sure to mention allergies you have to medications.

About Our Services

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General Surgery

General surgery is a surgical specialty that can encompass a wide range of procedures that can include abdominal contents, esophagus, stomach, small bowel, colon, liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts, and often the thyroid gland. Common procedures include:

  • Appendix removal
  • Breast surgery
  • Gallbladder and biliary tract surgery
  • Gastrointestinal surgery (including stomach, small intestine, pancreas, colon and rectum)
  • Hemorrhoid surgery
  • Hernia repair
  • Skin surgery for removal of cancers, moles, cysts, tumors and other abnormalities
  • Thyroid and parathyroid surgery
  • Ulcer treatment
Advanced Laparoscopic Surgery

This minimally invasive technique involves placing a small lighted scope into the abdomen to examine the internal organs. This allows surgeons to examine the extent of disease or confirm a diagnosis, and then perform the actual surgery via this technique. Common laparoscopic 
procedures we perform are:

  • Biopsy of solid organs or tissues
  • Cancer surgery
  • Gallbladder and biliary tract surgery
  • Gastrointestinal surgery (including stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum)
  • Hernia repair
  • Reflux surgery
Vein Treatments

We understand how uncomfortable living in pain can be, but we also understand how stressful it is to be off work for weeks at a time when recovering from major surgery. We do our best to help diagnose and solve your vein problems in a minimally invasive way. We offer everything from spider vein treatment to effective vein closure. We can even provide effective venous insufficiency treatment.

  • Vein closure
  • VenaSeal™
  • Spider veins/sclerotherapy
  • Venous insufficiency
Robotic Surgery

Robotic surgery, computer-assisted surgery, and robotically-assisted surgery are terms for technological developments that use robotic systems to aid in surgical procedures. Robotically-assisted surgery was developed to overcome the limitations of minimally-invasive surgery and to enhance the capabilities of surgeons performing open surgery. We offer robotic surgery for the following:

  • Gallbladder problems
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Hernias

 

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Phone:

716-434-6141

Fax:

716-434-0594

Email:

GreatLakesSurgery@Yahoo.com

Lockport Address:

160 East Ave.
Lockport, NY 14094

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Kenmore Address:

2914 Elmwood Ave.
Kenmore, NY 14217

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Appointments in Kenmore Office available by request