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Varicose veins respond to infrared

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August 2, 2006
Nesita Kwan, NBC news

Glenview, IL -- At night, in America's war against terrorism, infrared vision is part of a soldier's arsenal.

But for hairdresser Linda Rinella, who wields nothing more dangerous than a blow dryer, the same infrared technology is helping her battle the varicose veins caused by her job, and two pregnancies. "My concern is this vein that I have on my upper leg. I'm also concerned with my spider veins."

Linda's about to try something called the Vein Viewer. Modeled after the military's night-vision goggles, this heat sensitive technology sees veins you can't see with the naked eye. Dr. Steve Rivard, Emergency Physician, says, "Then recreates a map-like image onto the skin."

Doctor Rivard says these 'hidden' veins are the best ones to treat, because they're the ones that actually cause the unsightly bulges higher in the leg.  "Within 1/4000th of an inch accuracy can place that vein where I need my needle."

That needle then delivers the vein shriveling agents. Look closely as it collapses the offending vein, and it disappears.  "That cluster of veins is gone."

Linda will have to come back at least three to four times, at $250 per session. And she may need more, because the injections don't keep veins from bulging, they only fix the ones that do. But doctors who use it say it's a more accurate fix.  

"Far fewer needle pokes for the patient, much less pain for the patient and more smiles and more accurate treatment," says Dr. Rivard.

And for a lady who works to make others beautiful, this is something Linda's doing for herself.

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