Vein problems can manifest anywhere in the body where veins are located, but are usually located in the legs and feet. Varicose veins have a telltale look: knotted veins that can be seen on the surface of the skin. Often, people who develop vein disease feel that they have no choice but to live a life of embarrassment and pain.
But Dr. Ian Katz, founder and director of the DeKalb Vein Center, urges his patients to seek help, because there is hope.
“The vein system is like a highway. Veins have very thin walls. The inside of a vein has a mini-valve, just like a heart. When these valves become defective, blood backs up. This is called reflux, and that’s when the problems start,” Katz explained.
For decades, Katz has used the most innovative practices to save his patients from a lifetime of painful vein ailments. He has been a general surgeon his entire career. In 1975, he received his medical degree from the University of Miami and completed his residency at Georgia Baptist Hospital in 1981. It was during the ’90s that Katz’s patients started complaining to him about their legs.
“Many of my patients really started complaining about tired, heavy legs and leg ulcers,” Katz recalled.
For over 100 years, the only way to treat diseased veins was to do venous stripping, high ligation, or phlebectomy.
“For example, venous stripping required surgery and involved pulling out the main saphenous vein and tributary veins,” Katz told the AJT.
The big problem with venous stripping and older methods is that the veins frequently grew back, so people still suffered and exercising did little for advanced cases. Then, in the early 2000s, dermatologist Robert Weiss helped pioneer a procedure called venous closure, which cured 90 percent of vein issues.
“Today we perform the venous closures. This method can be done using a gentle laser or gentle radiofrequency energy, ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy, or glue,” Katz says.
When people come to Katz’s office, they never see the assistant, only the doctor. After a consultation, Katz and his team quickly determine the best way to treat patients. He not only treats varicose veins, but also addresses restless leg syndrome, venous edema, venous ulcers and spider veins.
Women, Katz says, are the most frequently affected by vein issues, but a lot of men in their late 40s suffer from venous ulcers as well.
“I do all procedures in the office with ultrasound technology, which offers less bruising, quicker healing and many times little to no sedation,” he says.
Katz’s patients are happy with the quick healing time and their return to a much higher quality of life. He advises that the best way to maintain their vein health is to lose weight, wear compression socks and exercise. Katz sees his patients as his extended family. But what most people don’t know is that the doctor also offers his services at a free clinic in DeKalb County.
“In the Jewish tradition, the best charity is one that nobody knows you do. It’s in my heart to serve. My sister is a pulmonologist and my father was a dentist. My father lost his entire family to the Holocaust,” Katz said.
Katz and his wife, Sheri, a retired dentist, have been married for 48 years. They have three grown children and seven grandchildren and attended Congregation Shearith Israel.
For more information, visit dekalbveincenter.com.
- Health and Wellness
- Tiffany Parks
- Vein problems
- Dr. Ian Katz
- DeKalb Vein Center
- University of Miami
- Georgia Baptist Hospital
- venous stripping
- high ligation
- Robert Weiss
- restless leg syndrome
- venous edema
- venous ulcers and spider veins
- Congregation Shearith Israel