Chicago Kung-Fu Master Knocks Out Pain With State-of-the-Art Varicose Vein Procedure


Chicago Kung-Fu Master Knocks Out Pain With State-of-the-Art Varicose Vein Procedure

As an active Kung-Fu Master and crime investigator, Lee Lera had no time to deal with the painful varicose veins that were impacting his daily life. Thanks to a Varithena procedure performed by Dr. Michael Shao, he’s pain free and looking forward to continuing his active lifestyle for years to come.


Working as a county sheriff’s Investigator and part time Kung-Fu Master kept Lee on his feet all day, which meant dealing with the pain of varicose veins for decades. Lee had a vein procedure at age 18, but the results were not what he’d hoped for. He still suffered with sharp pains in his left leg that were so severe that he thought they could indicate a life-threatening condition and extreme heaviness when walking. 

Lee knew he wanted an expert and not a one-size-fits-all clinic. His primary care physician suggested Dr. Michael Shao, a board-certified vascular surgeon and an expert in varicose veins who customizes treatments based on his patient’s needs. 

“A common misconception is that varicose veins are only a cosmetic concern, but Lee experienced physical symptoms such as pain, aching, cramping, leg heaviness and leg fatigue,” said Dr. Shao. “He is quite active and the physical symptoms bothered him significantly at work and in his daily life.”

Chicago Kung-Fu Master Knocks Out Pain With State-of-the-Art Varicose Vein Procedure (2)Dr. Shao ordered a vascular ultrasound which enabled him to completely analyze the veins and determine the appropriate procedure for Lee.

Dr. Shao recommended the Varithena procedure. Varithena is a newer FDA-approved treatment that is performed by injecting a microfoam into the varicose veins which causes them to clot off and disappear. Blood flow is redirected to competent veins, improving blood return to the heart. Recovery is immediate and patients are up and walking right after the procedure. Most patients can return to normal activities right away. 

“Lee had immediate improvement in physical symptoms (from 9 out of 10 on a pain scale initially) and in the appearance of visible varicose veins,” added Dr. Shao. “Like most patients, he reported that his leg felt lighter, less tired and less painful.”

Lee is very pleased with the outcome. “The procedures went great,” he said. “I was surprised and happy that there was no pain. I was walking around right after the procedure and quickly returned to my vigorous Kung-Fu activities. I’m looking forward to remaining active thanks to being pain free.”

Swedish Covenant Health is one of the highest volume users of Varithena in Chicago. Dr. Shao regularly gives presentations across the country to train other physicians on how to perform this treatment. 

“I’m happy to report that the technology has come a long way since I had the initial procedure years ago and I’m thankful that Dr. Shao is leading the way,” said Lee. “The procedure was simple, pain-free and solved my long-term pain issues.”

Swedish Covenant Hospital offers a comprehensive selection of newer innovative treatments such as Venaseal and ClariVein that offer advantages over older treatments such as laser ablation. These options can be tailored to fit the patient’s clinical scenario and anatomy.

Michael Shao, M.D., is a board-certified vascular surgeon with Swedish Covenant Medical Group. His specialties include vascular surgery and wound care. 


To schedule an appointment with Dr. Shao, please call 773-989-3957




By Bill Ligas | Published November 11, 2019

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