Mary Says Goodbye to Pesky Varicose Veins With State-of-the-Art Procedure

For Mary W., varicose veins were an unavoidable genetic condition. When they developed, she was more than prepared to seek treatment. What she was not prepared for was the caring attention she received from Dr. Michael Shao. 

Mary is no stranger to Swedish Hospital. Over the years, she and her husband have utilized services ranging from primary and well-women care to pain management and physical therapy.
“I basically live here and it’s a really fantastic place,” she said. “I was especially impressed with the Women’s Health Center. When I walked in there I thought, ‘It’s heaven!’ They gave me a robe, and they even had coffee and tea and small snacks for patients waiting to be seen.”

Eventually, it came time to find a varicose vein specialist. She began looking at big vein clinics downtown, but her primary care physician, Ronnie Mandal, D.O., recommended that she visit Michael Shao, M.D., a board-certified vascular surgeon with Endeavor Health Medical Group.

She took his advice, and was glad she did. He made a positive impression immediately upon meeting her. “Right away you feel comfortable with him,” she said. “His whole bedside manner is excellent, and the staff couldn’t have been nicer.”

In addition to traditional methods of treating varicose veins, such as RF ablation, laser ablation, sclerotherapy and phlebectomy, Dr. Shao performs a number of procedures not commonly offered by other vein centers, such as ClariVein® and Varithena®, which can help patients experience less post-procedural pain with fewer of the risks associated with traditional procedures.

Dr. Shao’s advanced work in the field has earned Swedish Hospital the distinction and title of “ClariVein Ambassador Training Center,” one of only five training centers in the United States and the only one in the Midwest. This allows him the unique opportunity to teach other physicians how to perform advanced procedures such as the ClariVein procedure.

Mary’s insurance company told her she needed to wear compression stockings for a total of six weeks before scheduling the procedure. Disappointed with having to wait, she called Dr. Shao to see if there was a better solution. 

She was surprised how easy it was to get a hold of him. They talked on the phone and discussed the situation at length. His concern left an extremely positive impression. “He even gave me the number to his cell phone in case I needed anything,” she said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

Ultimately, they both agreed that waiting the allotted time was the best route. On the return visit, he re-examined her legs, and they scheduled dates for the procedures.

Over a set of just two procedures—one in each leg—Dr. Shao corrected the condition that Mary had found bothersome and unsightly for years. She did not require any sedation, and went home without additional assistance. She was told to not take anything stronger than Tylenol, and only if she felt she needed it. 

The night after the final procedure, Dr. Shao called Mary to follow up and see if she had any questions. She was touched by the extra care and personal attention that he displayed through this simple act of compassion. 

“What he did for me was quite amazing,” she said. “He’s incredible. What kind of doctor will give you that much time and attention?”
Michael Shao, M.D., is a board-certified vascular surgeon with Endeavor Health Medical Group. His specialties include vascular surgery and wound care. 

To learn more about the Vascular Services offered at Swedish Hospital, please call

By David Modica | Published June 16, 2016

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