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Could I have varicose veins?

February 20th, 2018

More Than Cosmetic
Bulging, unsightly veins in your legs are something no one wants to experience - but more than just being embarrassing, varicose veins can signal a more serious health condition. More than 30 million Americans suffer from varicose veins, or the more serious form of venous disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), yet the majority remain undiagnosed and untreated.

"If left untreated, varicose veins can progress to CVI, which can cause pain, swelling and fatigue of the legs, as well as skin damage and ulcers in more severe cases," says Michael Greer, MD , vascular surgeon with the Vein Center at University Surgical Associates. "With varicose veins, the valves that push blood from the legs back to the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs."

What Puts Me at Risk?
There are several factors that may contribute to varicose and spider veins including puberty, pregnancy, menopause, use of birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy. Aging, standing or working on your feet, obesity and leg injury may also lead to the condition.

Most varicose and spider veins appear because of pressure on the body, making the job of carrying blood from the bottom of the body to the heart more difficult. The veins in the leg endure the most pressure. It's very common for women to develop varicose veins during pregnancy. Changes in hormones and blood volume can cause veins to enlarge, in addition to the extra weight. Some women see improvement after delivery, but women who have multiple pregnancies may have veins that don't go back to normal.

Fast, Effective Treatment
The Vein Center at University Surgical Associates specializes in treating all aspects of vein disease - from tiny spider veins to large bulging varicose veins and pelvic vein insufficiency. Our innovative, nonsurgical approaches include radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser therapy to effectively treat varicose veins and pelvic vein insufficiency. Sclerotherapy is often utilized in treatment of spider veins. 

"Because the valves in the legs can't be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route the blood flow from the disease veins to healthy veins. Using ultra-sound guidance, a catheter delivers consistent and uniform heat that causes the vein wall to collapse and close," says Dr. Greer. "The treated vein then gradually is absorbed into the surrounding tissue. Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks."

What's more, we can effectively pinpoint and diagnose vein problems using ultrasound technology in the Vein Center's onsite vascular lab. It is important to know that not everyone with an abnormal test needs a procedure. Experience and training are necessary to determine who will benefit from a vein procedure.

A Comfortable Experience
At the Vein Center at USA, highly trained and experienced vein specialists conduct all procedures. Most procedures take approximately 60 minutes and are generally offered with the option of conscious sedation, a combination of a sedative and pain blocking medication administered through an IV. Conscious sedation is designed to help patients relax - many even sleep throughout the procedure - yet it wears off quickly and doesn't leave patients feeling groggy. Many patients also experience a quick return to normal activities following a vein procedure, typically within a few days. 

First step - vein evaluation.  

Come to our free vein screening on Tuesday, 2/27 from 5-7pm and we'll evaluate your legs for varicose and spider veins. It only takes a few minutes and it's completely free! All we ask is that you reserve your spot. 

Click here to complete the reservation form or call us during business hours at 423-267-0466.

Posted by University Surgical | Topic: Ask a Doc

Finding Exercise Inspiration

January 31st, 2018

It’s the last day of January! Can you believe the first month of the year is almost over? As quickly as January has come and gone, so have many people’s resolutions to lose weight and get in shape. We get it. It’s not easy to find time to fit in exercise, especially when the skies are gray and the days are short. But exercise – even in small doses – can have a huge impact on your mental, physical and emotional health. 

If you need a pick me up or motivation to head to the gym or go for a walk after work, here are some great reasons to find time for exercise today!

Boosts Your Energy.

Exercise has been known to increase energy levels, and moving regularly can change your perspective on the day. You don’t have to go for a 30-minute run to feel this natural lift in your energy. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, go for a walk on your lunch break, or play tag with your kids in the yard for 15 minutes when you get home. These little bursts of exercise will help get your blood pumping! 

Improves your posture and confidence.

When you exercise regularly, your core gets stronger. And a strong core helps you stand and sit up straighter. People with good posture are perceived as more competent and outgoing. If you’re standing up straight, you’re also likely feel more confident, too. Another added benefit? Strengthening your core has been shown to reduce lower back pain. Yes!


Stress and anxiety are a normal part of life. But when your mind is stressed, it can wreak havoc on your body, too. Although you can’t avoid it completely, exercise has been shown to keep stress in check. Studies show that regular exercise decreases tension levels and can stabilize or even elevate your mood. Check out these ways to use exercise to control stress and anxiety. 

Helps You Get Better Sleep.

Looking for a way to get better sleep without sleep aids? Exercise could be part of the answer. A study reported on by the National Sleep Foundation identifies that people sleep better and feel more alert during the day if they get at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. If you’re lying awake at night, upping your weekly exercise might lead to longer and more restful sleep.

Improves Cardiovascular Health.

Not only does exercise help you lose weight, it also helps improve your cardiovascular fitness. Exercise has been shown to improve circulation and keep blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, two risk factors for heart disease. Maintaining a healthy weight also helps protect you from developing diabetes or complications from uncontrolled blood sugar. 

Keeps Your Mind Sharp.

If it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your brain, too. Exercise improves brain function, and it helps protect memory and thinking skills. A study published in the journal Neurology showed that physical activity – the kind that gets your heart pumping and sweat flowing – can slow brain aging by as much as 10 years! The study also showed that people who exercised less showed a greater cognitive decline than those who exercised regularly. 

So there you have it! The next time you’re dreading a sweat session, think about all the ways ways exercise can work for you and help you live a longer, happier and healthier life. 

Surgeon Spotlight

January 24th, 2018

Robert Jean, MD, FACS

For Dr. Robert Jean, becoming a physician was something he was interested in from a very young age. Although he came from a family of engineers, it was his friends’ parents who were physicians that piqued his interest in medicine. After waffling over choosing a career, Dr. Jean settled on medicine and then general surgery and knew he had found the right profession to keep himself stimulated and fulfilled.  

“I can’t remember if I had an ‘aha’ moment about medicine, but I did have a lot of strong influences in my life that urged me in that direction. Medicine was always more interesting to me than anything that meant sitting in one place all day long,” says Dr. Jean. “One of my mentors growing up was a general surgeon in Huntsville that took me under his wing, not to push me towards surgery, but to provide that first-hand experience in high school and early college. It helped me realize that medicine was for me, and more specifically, that surgery was for me. I knew I wouldn’t become complacent with that kind of challenge every day.” 

Dr. Jean considers the unpredictability of surgery to be both exciting and challenging – not knowing what tomorrow will hold does makes it harder to plan, but it also keeps him on his toes and wanting to know what’s coming next. It’s one of the things he especially enjoys about his area of focus.  

In his practice, Dr. Jean specializes in general surgery and minimally invasive robotic surgery. Minimally invasive robotic surgery was originally marketed to urologists, but it also has uses in other areas like colorectal, gynecologic, and head and neck surgery. Dr. Jean has honed his skills and is excited to push the boundaries of general surgery with minimally invasive robotic surgery. He currently uses robotic surgery technology to perform all types of hernia repairs, colon surgery and single site cholecystectomy, which is removal of the gallbladder through one incision. 

One of the reasons Dr. Jean believes robotic surgery will continue to expand in general surgery is due to the benefits for patients – and surgeons. In addition to offering an advanced minimally invasive option for patients that can lead to faster recovery, robotic surgery offers greater visibility in small spaces and enhanced fine motor control. 

“More so than other specialties, general surgery seems to be very set in tradition with a cautious approach to adapting to new technologies. This was true during the transition from open surgical techniques to laparoscopic surgery, which has been proven safe and effective,” says Dr. Jean. “It takes time for the research and literature to support the benefits, and I believe that in certain situations robotic surgery does improve patient outcomes. It’s exciting to be part of an advancing field and offer this minimally invasive option to my patients.” 

Robert Jean, M.D., earned his medical degree from the University of South Alabama COM in Mobile, Alabama. He completed a general surgery internship and residency at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine, Chattanooga, Tennessee. He also went on to complete fellowship training in surgical critical care at this same institution. Dr. Jean is a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in general and advanced minimally invasive surgery. He began practicing medicine in Memphis, Tennessee, before joining University Surgical Associates in November 2017. 

Dr. Jean and his wife, Lindsey, have three children – an 8-year-old boy, a 7-year-old girl, and an 18-month-old girl. When they’re not doing things together as a family and spending time outdoors, they enjoy being ‘amateur foodies’ and trying out the newest spots in Chattanooga’s growing restaurant scene. 

Dr. Jean sees patients at USA's Hixson office located at 2051 Hamill Road, Suite 108 on the campus of CHI Memorial Hixson. To schedule an appointment, please call (423) 267-0466.