Catherine Ohsiek, M.D. Joins Prescott Varicose Vein Treatment Center

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Prescott Vein Specialties welcomes Dr. Catherine Ohsiek to the staff. She will be joining Dr. Robin Fleck as a vein specialist. This varicose vein center offers duplex ultrasound diagnosis and state of the art therapies for varicose and spider veins including endovenous laser ablation, phlebectomy, and foam sclerotherapy.

Robin Fleck, M.D., board-certified dermatologist, founder and medical director of Vein Specialties in Prescott, Arizona, is pleased to announce that Dr. Catherine Ohsiek has joined her successful varicose vein treatment center. Dr. Ohsiek is retired from the US Air Force with twenty years of service. A graduate of Vanderbilt University Medical School in 1984, Dr. Ohsiek then started her general surgery residency with the Air Force. Dedicating twenty years to active duty and five years to reserve, she is now practicing and providing relief to patients with venous reflux disease and varicose veins.

"We are thrilled to have Dr. Ohsiek on board," states Dr. Robin Fleck. "She is an
outstanding physician and patients really have faith in her calm judgment. Her general surgery training offers added expertise that will help us serve our patients in Prescott, Sedona and Flagstaff to the greatest extent possible. I'm confident that her personality and competence will be a great benefit to our varicose vein practice.”

Varicose vein disease is a common problem, affecting over half the population. Both men and women may be affected, and the likelihood increases with increasing age, obesity, pregnancies, and occupations that require a lot of standing. A history of varicose veins in family members also increases the likelihood of developing venous reflux disease.

The problem in venous reflux disease is that blood flows the wrong way in the affected veins, under the influence of gravity. Blood pools in the legs, increasing the pressure in the veins. This can manifest in several different ways. Bulging varicose veins are perhaps the most well known. Spider veins are also common, and may signal the presence of more extensive disease in larger veins that are not yet visible.

After years of increased pressure, advanced disease in the veins leads to blood leaking into surrounding tissues, causing brown discoloration and thickening of the skin of the lower legs from deposition of iron in the tissues, and at its worst can cause leg ulcers or blood clots.

Even before there are visible changes, symptoms such as aching, cramping, itching, heaviness, swelling, tired and restless legs can indicate disease in the leg veins, which is progressive over time.

In the past, vein stripping, a surgical operation was used to remove varicose veins. Now there is a new nonsurgical technique that takes less than 30 minutes to perform called EVLA or endovenous laser ablation. This laser treatment for varicose veins is a minimally invasive procedure performed in a physician’s office or varicose vein clinic, for the treatment of dilated veins.

During EVLA, a laser fiber is inserted through the skin and directly into the vein that is causing the bulging, unattractive, and often painful varicose veins. The laser heats the lining of the vein, damaging it and causing it to collapse, shrink, and eventually disappear. By delivering just the right wavelength of laser energy to the vein tissue, the vein closes while the body automatically routes the blood to other healthy veins. Vein ablation is proven to achieve excellent results; the treatment has minimal risks and patients can return to work the same day.

Another form of varicose vein treatment usually performed in conjunction with EVLA is foam sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a medical procedure used to treat varicose veins and spider veins. It is often done under ultrasound guidance. Sclerotherapy has been shown to be effective in controlling venous reflux. During sclerotherapy, the physician injects a solution directly into the affected vein. The solution irritates the lining of the vessel, causing it to swell and stick together. Over time, the vessel fades from view. Sclerotherapy is a well-tolerated procedure and has been used since the 1930s.

“While many consider varicose veins to be a cosmetic nuisance, associated medical complications such as leg pain, blood clots and leg ulcers are frequent developments which require treatment,” notes Dr. Robin Fleck. “This isn’t something that occurs overnight, it takes years to develop. Early diagnosis is key and we will do our part to diagnose and treat patients to prevent future complications such as blood clots and leg ulcers. The public needs to understand that we are living in the midst of a major revolution in the treatment of vein disease.”

Ultrasound has changed the treatment of vein disease more than anything in the past 20 years because we can diagnose and treat the cause of venous insufficiency with nonsurgical methods. Now there are more options, which can address the problem veins in the office,” explains Dr. Ohsiek. “EVLA and VNUS, cauterizes the vein from inside, causing it to close down. Foam sclerotherapy is the injection of a chemical, which also causes the vein to collapse, and can be used in veins which are too twisted to pass a laser through.”

Both treatments are done in the vein treatment clinic, in less than an hour, under local anesthetic. They are virtually painless, and patients can return to work the same day. Patients must wear prescription compression hose for three weeks after these procedures, and by that time the symptoms have usually resolved. Even skin changes from advanced disease can improve, and ulcers heal much more quickly after the pressure from venous reflux is removed. Anyone with a family history of varicose veins or who works in a standing occupation like nurses, teachers, hairdressers, chefs and many sales jobs, is at risk of developing venous reflux disease.

At Vein Specialties, ultrasound is used to look beneath the skin and evaluate the veins, to identify the areas requiring treatment. Then Dr. Fleck and Dr. Ohsiek will determine the best method to relieve symptoms. Treatment is usually covered by insurance. The initial consultation at Vein Specialties is free!

Vein Specialist and cosmetic dermatologist, Robin Fleck, M.D. is a double-board
certified dermatologist and internist, recognized by the American Board of Dermatology and the American Board of Internal Medicine. She is founder and Medical Director of Vein Specialties and Southwest Skin and Cancer Institute in Prescott, Arizona and is a fellow of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery and the American Venous Forum. Dr. Fleck is also the founder of Body Oasis Laser Aesthetics in Prescott, Arizona.

More information is available at To schedule a free consultation, or to request ultrasound evaluation of your leg veins, contact Vein Specialties at 928-778-7000.

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Maureen Brogan