Oh oh. Swimsuit season is upon us. Some of us shy away or absolutely refuse to go out in public wearing shorts, short skirts or the dreaded sunbathing attire.

Among other body parts, legs play a major role in this dilemma. And it is a dilemma — it gets hot in San Antonio. So what steps can you take to get to the it’s-OK-tobare- my-legs stage?

Exercise is important, of course, if your lower extremities need some toning. Then there’s that pushing-away-from-the table move if there’s more than toning involved.

Next, you might want to address the purple road maps on your legs caused by problem veins — most commonly, varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins are those large, twisty veins that develop in the leg or ankle because of malfunctioning valves in the vein, causing the blood to pool.

You may be prone to these because of heredity or the aging process. Other causes include pressure from being overweight or pregnant, smoking or standing or sitting for long periods of time. Symptoms include visible veins, heavy or painful legs and, sometimes, changes in skin color or texture.

Self-treatments include wearing compression stockings, elevating your legs, exercising, controlling your weight and avoiding sitting or standing for long periods of time. Sometimes anti-coagulant medicines are prescribed to treat deep-vein blood clots. There are a variety of ways to treat varicose veins, including some new, non-surgical methods. These include:

Sclerotherapy. A solution is injected into your affected veins. This is usually repeated in three or four 30-minute appointments, depending upon the condition of your veins.

Miniphlebectomy. Used in small and large veins — tiny pinpoint holes are made with a needle, and specialized instruments are then used to remove segments of the vein through these openings.

Laser. Laser therapy can be used instead of injecting chemicals on spider and larger veins. Some lasers have both long- and shortwave- length capacities. This treatment is not too uncomfortable and is less expensive than more invasive procedures.

Endovenus. This fairly new procedure can be used to treat larger varicose veins. Using radio frequency waves through a catheter, the procedure destroys the saphenous vein (the major source of varicose veins). It can be done under local anesthesia on an outpatient basis.

Laser-Assisted Saphenous Endoablation. Just as in endovenus treatment, this procedure uses a catheter to deliver laser energy instead of radio frequency waves to destroy the saphenous vein. The procedure is performed in a clinic or outpatient facility under local anesthesia, which keeps pain and downtime to a minimum.

Ligation. Used for large, problematic varicose veins, this procedure involves tying off veins to break connections. Ligation is performed under local anesthesia as an outpatient procedure and is sometimes combined with another procedure.

WHAT ABOUT SPIDER VEINS?

These little spider-webby-looking veins can usually be treated by nonsurgical means. Locally, there are several places specializing in the treatment of veins. One of them, Veintec, was started right here in San Antonio by vascular surgeons David J. Mozersky and Alfred L. Laborde.

At Veintec, you’ll find all the services and procedures mentioned above. The goal is to guarantee patients with varicose and spider veins that treatment will be administered by trained vascular surgeons, using the most advanced technology available. There are now Veintec clinics in major Texas cities, Oklahoma City and Santiago, Chile, with more in development for other cities and countries.

The Texas Vein Clinic is operated by the South Texas Radiology Group. In addition to the full range of techniques mentioned, they use EndoVenous Laser Treatment, a process using a catheter to deliver the impulse. Patients usually experience immediate relief with limited pain. Recovery time is minimal, so patients can normally go back to work the next day.

HOW ABOUT THAT UNSIGHTLY HAIR?

It’s true; here in the United States we don’t get our groove on seeing hairy legs. Or underarms. Or hair on a woman’s face. So another step towards legendary legs involves smooth skin. Here are places offering both hair removal and some vein removal procedures locally:

Skin Concepts uses dual-wave lasers to remove hair from the legs and body and to remove spider veins. These dualwave lasers provide coverage of a larger area and can be used on all skin types. Skin Concepts also makes available slight sedation administered by a board-certified anesthesiologist for an additional minimal fee. As with most lasers, theirs has an intrinsic mechanism to cool the skin. If you need several treatments, they are half-price after the sixth visit. And they can remove tattoos with lasers.

Genesis Med Spa is a new facility on I-10 that treats spider veins and cellulite, removes hair with laser treatments and provides Lipodissolve for fatty areas. You may have seen Philip Czekaj, M.D., the physician at Genesis, on the San Antonio Living television show or as a resident expert on the WOAI Web site.

The Skin Renewal Center in New Braunfels uses the Cutera Cool Glide Laser, which can also be used on tanned or dark skin tones. It can be used to treat spider veins and some larger veins.

The Well-Power Center also uses the Cutera Cool Glide Laser. As mentioned previously, the unique design with the longer wave lengths and cooling system can be used to remove hair from all skin types and tones. The laser services also include treatment for veins. Well-Power provides many other approaches to the overall health of the whole person.

The Skin Institute uses the specialized MeDioStarXT laser to get to the root of hair. This laser can also treat larger skin areas or can selectively remove hair from the face, underarms and bikini areas. Here they use sclerotherapy (injections) to treat varicose and spider veins. At your request, they will discuss your procedure with your physician. Dr. Robert Bertoldo has completed several specialty residences and has gained experience studying and treating a myriad of skin problems as a retired chief flight surgeon and as a participant in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Desire Laser and Medical Spa uses the Lightsheer Diode Laser for removal of unwanted hair. To treat spider and varicose veins, they offer two lasers and foam sclerotherapy, whereby the veins are injected with medication to make the veins collapse and fade. For treatment of varicose veins, ultrasound is used first to determine the severity. (There is a charge for the ultrasound.) Then, a Dornier Laser is used to destroy the saphenous vein. According to Dr. Alberto Belacazar, over 25 million people suffer from varicose veins. Endovenous and microphlebectomy are procedures used at Desire.

If you seek professional care, treatments are determined at the first medical appointment, where a physician addresses your history and lifestyle and physically examines the problematic area(s). You will be presented with treatment options, risks, possible complications or side effects, an estimate of costs and, of course, the benefits you’ll derive. Many times, insurance will cover these procedures, so be sure to check with your insurance carrier.

WHAT CAN BE DONE
ABOUT PALE SKIN?

Tan is beautiful. And slimming. But the smart tan is a sprayed-on tan or the tan acquired from the lotions or creams you apply at home. NOT the tan from the harmful rays of the sun or from a lightsourced tanning booth.

So beautiful summer legs are toned, tanned, hairless and veinless. Time to get busy.

Author: Anne Moore