Leesa Richardson, M.D. will never forget the woman who came to her Vein Treatment and Aesthetic Center, 201 Fairfax Ave., with some of the worst varicose veins she has ever seen.
“True varicose veins are a medical issue – they’re painful and can cause cramping, leg fatigue, swelling and other problems,” she said. “They can make people self-conscious, too. That woman got up before dawn to workout at the gym, before other people arrived. She was hiding herself.”
Such problems are at the heart of Leesa’s phlebology practice, although she began her career as an anesthesiologist.
“I loved doing the procedures; but since my patients were unconscious, I couldn’t develop a relationship with them,” she said. “So I went into emergency medicine. I loved the work and patient contact, but the swing shift – bouncing back and forth between nights and days –wore pretty thin.”
For years she worked in an urgent care center, which had “much more livable hours,” and later took extensive training in venous disorders through the American College of Phlebology. In 2007, she bought a 1920s-vintage house on Fairfax Avenue, remodeled it, and moved her practice there during 2008.
“I like the concept of having a doctor’s office in a cozy, warm environment, and what I can do here in a small office setting is pretty comprehensive,” she said. “We do a lot of cosmetic work on ‘spider’ veins, and are busiest from January through May. Patients wear compression hose before the procedure, and they want to wear them under long pants, before summer.”
In addition to more patient contact, Leesa likes treating medical complications from venous disorders with minimally invasive techniques. Instead of the traditional method of surgically stripping a major vessel in order to collapse it, she can thread in a laser fiber that is thinner than a guitar string – no major surgery, no long weeks of recuperation.
Many problems are treated with injections through tiny needles, accompanied by only a little stinging or itching that usually ends by the time the patient leaves the office. Some procedures require several treatments, although in other cases, results may be seen almost instantly.
Leesa, assisted by Colleen Hepfinger and Ann Stewart, provides additional services such as hair removal, skin rejuvenation, photo facials (light therapy that decreases unwanted red or brown pigment), and reduction of age spots. They also help patients select medical-grade skin care products by brands such as SkinCeuticals, Obagi and GloMinerals.
But was Leesa able to help the woman who hid in pre-dawn workouts?
“The procedures we did made her not only look better, but also feel better,” she said. “Six months later, when she returned for a checkup, we saw that she had lost 60 pounds, had a beautiful new haircut, and was wearing a skirt above the knee. Her husband said, ‘This is the best thing she has ever done for herself.’ ”
For information about the Vein Treatment and Aesthetic Center, 201 Fairfax Ave., visit www.veintreatments.com or call 502.895.6600.