John Evarts, Vascular Surgery

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As a busy professional engineer, John Evarts of Vergennes, regularly travels throughout New England, cross-country, and internationally. On longer trips, the healthy, active 48-year-old started noticing a distinct burning sensation in his ankle, along with swelling and heaviness in his legs.

Back at home, the circulation problem continued to cause fluid build-up in his left leg during normal work days in his office. He also had moderate pain that only went away while walking or by elevating his leg.

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John sought treatment and went to see Julie Adams, M.D., Fletcher Allen vascular surgeon and associate professor of surgery at the University of Vermont College of Medicine.

After completing a few painless tests that used ultrasound to observe blood flow in his legs, Dr. Adams diagnosed John with greater saphenous vein insufficiency, a relatively common condition resulting from decreased blood flow through the leg veins up to the heart. The greater saphenous vein is a large vein that runs through the leg and thigh. 

Dr. Adams recommended a procedure called radiofrequency ablation to restore proper circulation in his left leg and resolve the pain.  The minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a catheter through a small incision in the calf and up through the greater saphenous vein, then using thermal energy to close the vein at its origin.  She also performed a procedure called stab-ligations to treat the varicose veins in John’s leg.

The outpatient procedure offered immediate relief, John said. “All the fluid issues, all the pain issues went away.” 

Prior to the surgery, John had to wear compression socks at all times to control fluid build-up and minimize pain. After the surgery, the socks weren’t necessary, allowing John to dress comfortably in shorts and enjoy his favorite activities,  including boating, camping, riding his motorcycle and working in the yard.

John said he’s glad to have access to the specialized, state-of-the-art care Fletcher Allen offers. “It is truly an amazing resource for all of us."