By JENNIFER GLATT (Wilmington Magazine)
Summer is almost always cause for celebration, especially here in Wilmington. Countless activities beckon for us to enjoy the beach, the ocean and shore alike. The temperature rises, the sun shines on longer days, and people are eager to trade cold-weather clothing for more revealing summer attire—except, perhaps, for those who struggle with a common condition: varicose veins.
When one-way valves in your veins do not properly keep blood flowing from your legs up toward your heart, blood collects in the leg veins and pressure builds. The pressure prevents normal blood flow from the larger deep veins into the smaller superficial veins, causing the veins to become weak, large, and twisted. Although treatment is often necessary, it is much less invasive than it used to be, thanks to innovative work led by a most accomplished local physician.
Dr. Kamran Goudarzi showed remarkable aptitude for medical science from an early age. He graduated with MB, BS, and MD degrees from the prestigious University of London. After graduation from medical school, he began preparation for his boards in general surgery for the Royal College of Surgeons in England, then moved to the United States for an additional five years of residency training.
He began his residency at New Hanover Hospital in the early 1980s, then left North Carolina for a few years to pursue additional training at some of the foremost medical facilities in the world, including MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas. After completing his residency in general surgery in Syracuse, he came back to Wilmington in 1987 to settle down with his family and open his own practice. He and his wife Tonia have three children, Tala (18), Caspian (15) and Laila (12).
In sum, Dr. Kamran, as he is affectionately known, now has more than 35 years of post-medical school experience in the art of general, thoracic, vascular, laparoscopic, and endoscopic surgeries. He has been awarded a plethora of accolades on this side of the Pond, including becoming a Diplomate on the American Board of Phlebology (and one of the first surgeons in the United States to become certified in Phlebology, the branch of medicine that deals with veins and venous disease). He is also a Fellow on both the American College of Surgeons and the International College of Surgeons, and a member of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery, among many other accomplishments.
Dr. Kamran has long been at the forefront of medical technology, adapting new options as they become available. In 2000, he was thrilled to learn of a new treatment for varicose veins and venous insufficiency. This general surgeon, who admits to always having an interest in vascular anatomy, felt it was no less than a “major breakthrough.”
People are typically genetically predisposed to developing varicose veins. According to Dr. Kamran, approximately 40 percent of men and 45 percent of women will develop them at some point. Age, inactivity for long periods of time (particularly on the job), obesity and pregnancy can also exacerbate the development of varicose veins. Exercising and maintaining a healthy weight are helpful, but for those patients who suffer from venous insufficiency, compression stockings or surgery were really the only two viable treatment options until 2000.
“I was never happy with the way veins were treated,” Dr. Kamran states. “I felt that the treatment lagged behind,” he says. This was not impatience on his part for a somewhat newer treatment—indeed, the most recent approach to surgically handling varicose veins was developed in 1917. The age-old approach, he says, was to “strip” (remove) the weakened veins via a cut in the leg or ankle, which he feels was simply “barbaric.” Dr. Kamran welcomed the contemporary method to treat a most common occurrence.
Using highly specialized ultrasound technology to map the vein system and pinpoint the root cause of the weakened vein, Dr. Kamran employs a procedure called intravascular laser ablation to treat the problem area. He places a small laser fiber inside the affected vein, which is designed to destroy it from within. The body then simply reabsorbs the tissue. He lists the benefits of the new technique, which are many: “There is no need to go to the operating room or cut the patient, there is no scarring, there is minimal blood loss, patients experience little to no pain after surgery, and it costs less.” All of these reasons are encouraging not only to Dr. Kamran, but also to the patients themselves.
As one of the first physicians in North Carolina to open a vein clinic, Dr. Kamran has met with incredible success. He says he has performed more than 10,000 cases in the last 13 years, and that patients come from as far away as New York, Virginia, and the Carolinas for treatment. In fact, demand was so high that he opened a second Wilmington office, as well as satellite offices in Shallotte and Wallace. On a national level, Dr. Kamran’s practice is in the top two percent in terms of total case volume, and his expertise is leading the way to refine innovative, cutting-edge products waiting to be introduced all across the United States.
“Working with Dr. Kamran has proven to be a long road to success,” says Laura Risi, Territory Manager for AngioDynamics, the company that produces the laser technology used in the ablation treatments. “We have been working closely together to provide him with the best technology available. Many people from the corporate office have been involved with the development of the latest laser fiber and the implementation of this technology into Dr. Kamran's hands. Together we have gathered feedback and expertise to improve the product and eventually launch it around the country. Dr. Kamran has such a deep understanding of the treatment of venous disease, and his experience has been educational and crucial to the nationwide release of the newest technology from AngioDynamics.”
A fellow colleague concurs. “Dr. Kamran is a pioneer within the vascular community and is always on the forefront of healthcare,” says Josh Kaplan, who works with Zonare Medical Systems, the company that provides Dr. Kamran’s ultrasound equipment. “We decided in 2012 to make Dr. Kamran a “Center of Excellence” site due to his strong commitment of enhancing patient outcomes within healthcare communities around the globe.” Accolades continue to flood in, especially from his clients.
“I cannot say enough about Dr. Kamran and his staff – empathy, kindness, and above all, expertise second to none. Thank you all! Virtually painless – everything explained, all my questions were answered clearly and patiently. It was such a positive experience to feel I was treated and cared for by fellow human beings, not just technicians! No pain,” noted K.G.
Similar sentiments from easily 100 patients or more are listed on Dr. Kamran’s website. Post-procedure, Dr. Kamran invites his patients to complete a patient satisfaction survey, and he shares that he receives a great deal of satisfaction from reading the remarks. “In medical school you’re not taught that patients will get much relief,” from some procedures, he shares. And for a long time, this was certainly the case with the antiquated treatment for varicose veins, but no longer. With the laser treatment, “the results are nothing short of amazing,” he enthuses. Night cramps and restless leg syndrome can be completely alleviated, as can the associated swelling, heaviness and tenderness that varicose veins can sometimes cause.
“It is such a thorough procedure and patients feel so much better afterward,” he remarks. “I can see the difference I make to their life. To see you’ve made a difference in someone’s life is very satisfying.”
To learn more about Dr. Kamran’s state-of-the-art approach to vein care, visit his website at scarlessveincare.com.