ONE PATIENT, ONE DOCTOR, ONE NURSE; SOUTH BAY VASCULAR CENTER’S COMMITMENT TO PERSONALIZED CARE

Unlike so many big box medical centers (Kaiser, Sutter, PAMF, Stanford) where patients are often “overwhelmed” as soon as they get to the parking lot, South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institue offers world class, cutting edge vascular surgical care in a kinder, gentler environment.  Individualized patient care, although talked about and marketed heavily by these corporate health systems,  more often than not falls far short of patient expectations as higher order operational efficiencies and profitability concerns impact the kind of care patients actually experience in these larger health care systems.

ONE PATIENT; ONE DOCTOR; ONE NURSE. 

Putting patients at the center of everything that a physician does is a philosophy that sounds obvious…but is that always the case? At South Bay Vascular Center we are honored by the chance to earn your trust and to serve as your physicians; BUT, we also know that we must EARN the trust of every patient that we see.  That’s why our CREDENTIALS are NOT Enough…That’s why our REPUTATION is NOT enough. That’s why unmatched patient care is at the center of everything that we do. That’s why when patients come to our facility for a procedure each patient has their own nurse from start to finish to ensure the greatest patient care experience from start to finish. 

We know patients have options for their vascular care and that’s why we work hard to ensure that any patient referred to us by another doctor or that comes to us on their own has the confidence to know they’ve made the right choice of doctor to help them with their vascular related illnesses. ONE PATIENT; ONE DOCTOR; ONE NURSE is just one of the many ways that South Bay Vascular Center demonstrates our commitment to our patients in our efforts to provide the most advanced vascular care options offered anywhere in the world.

OUR TEAM

Together with her full time, highly skilled team of critical care and surgical nurses, radiological technicians, RVT certified Ultrasound Technologists and scrub assistants, Dr Kokinos provides unmatched peripheral vascular surgical care in her Nationally Accredited Surgical Facility. As diverse as Silicon Valley is, our staff reflects this same diversity as we have native speaking staff fluent in over 10 different languages. Be it Vietnamese, Mandarin, Korean, Russian, Tagalog, Hindi, Spanish, French, Greek or English, we have staff to make our patients comfortable in their native tongue.

OUR FACILITY

The South Bay Vascular Ambulatory Surgery facility is one dedicated entirely to the practice of Vascular Surgery and houses a specialized inventory of vascular medical devices and imaging equipment that surpasses the number of vascular medical devices and imaging equipment at Good Samaritan and O’Connor Hospitals combined. Together with her highly trained and specialized team,  Dr Kokinos brings over 30 years of surgical experience and 7 years of specialized surgical experience operating in a specially built vascular surgery outpatient facility to her patients.  Other physicians may claim to have the kind of training and experience that Dr Kokinos has in the outpatient environment, but NO other Vascular Surgeon in Silicon Valley comes anywhere close to having the kind of experience and outcomes Dr Kokinos does when it comes to providing care to the patients who come to her for the treatments and care of their vascular disease.

Put another way, for 25 years Dr Kokinos and her team at South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute have provided unmatched,  compassionate and individualized vascular surgical care to South Bay communities. It is why more independent physicians refer their vascular patients to Dr Kokinos than to all the other silicon valley vascular surgeons combined. When it comes to your health, we know that it’s not just our credentials and our experience that count.  It’s not about just having an accredited facility or a staff of travelling specialists to help when needed…   It’s about the RIGHT KIND OF EXPERIENCE EVERY TIME YOU NEED IT.

RESULTS matter when it comes to your health because sometimes you don’t get a second chance.

South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute: We Offer Hope When Others Say there Is None.

Call us at 408-376-3626. We Can Help

FOOT PAIN AT NIGHT: IT MIGHT BE MORE SERIOUS THAN YOU THINK

Many patients over the age of 65 who have a history of smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, and/or high cholesterol wake up at night with pain in their foot or toes. Some believe this is arthritis or gout; others think it is the result of just spending too much time on their feet during the day.  Patients often self-adapt to this problem, as it usually develops slowly over time, but when questioned about their sleep habits, they will sometimes tell you that they sleep in a recliner or they sleep with their leg hanging over the side of the bed to make their pain go away.

It is very common for elderly patients to get up at night to go to the bathroom. Sometimes, however, it’s actually foot pain that wakes them up.  Once up, they get out of bed because that makes their feet feel better (again due to gravity) and after walking to the bathroom they can go back to sleep, pain -free for a couple of hours.  Even that small amount of walking helps to get their blood flowing again and makes it easier for them to go back to sleep.

Sometimes, foot pain at night is the sign of a more serious condition.

  • Foot pain at night may be related to having poor circulation in the foot. The name for this in medical terms is “rest pain”. This is not “pain at rest” but rather pain that happens because the circulation cannot support the tissues even when they are at rest.

Foot pain at night may be an early warning sign of critical limb ischemia.

  • Chronic Limb Ischemia is another term for lack of blood flow;  if you experience this rest pain at night and it goes away after hanging your foot over the side of the bed or chair you are sleeping in, immediately call and speak with your doctor to set up an appointment for them to evaluate your symptoms. Although it may come on slowly, the arteries in your feet may be so blocked that they cannot even deliver the minimal amount of oxygen the tissues in the foot and toes need to keep them nourished. Left untreated, this blockage can lead to a more serious problem, amputation or even death.

What’s important for the patient to realize is that chronic limb ischemia causes the foot and leg to get swollen, so the patient is often MIS-DIAGNOSED with a vein problem, not an arterial problem

If this sounds like something you or someone you love is experiencing, it is important to tell your primary care doctor OR schedule an appointment DIRECTLY with a vascular surgeon. These symptoms are a sign that your body is giving you that you may need immediate help. This truly is a sign that your foot is starving for oxygen and blood and that if left untreated, might lead to an unnecessary amputation. Help is possible, however and if treated early enough, those suffering from these symptoms can be helped significantly.

If you suffer from painful feet in the middle of the night, WE CAN HELP

contact us today  at 408-376-3626 to learn more about PAD and how Dr. Kokinos can help, click here.

South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute: We Offer Hope When Others Say There Is None.

 

 

DR. KOKINOS SELECTED TO PRESENT AT THE AMERICAN VENOUS FORUM

Dr. Kokinos will be presenting an abstract on her clinical research regarding iliac vein compression at the national American Venous Forum in New Orleans early next year. This meeting is the largest venous meeting of the year, and is sponsored by the Society for Vascular Surgery.

Dr. Kokinos has been recognized nationally as an expert on May-Thurner’s Syndrome, or iliac vein compession. This problem can cause symptoms of (predominantly) left leg swelling, heaviness, aching, deep venous clots, and non-healing ankle or leg wounds. She has performed more intravascular ultrasound exams and stents of the deep venous system than any other doctor on the West Coast in the last year. She will be presenting her clinical research on using regular ultrasound, done by the specially trained registered vascular technologists in the ICAVL accredited Institute for Vascular Testing to diagnose this fairly common but widely underdiagnosed issue. Previously, patients needed to get CT scans which used significant amounts of radiation and contrast for the diagnosis. This problem is not only seen because of a common anatomic situation, but also often as a result of an undiagnosed blood clot (DVT) in the iliac or femoral vein after orthopedic, back, or gynecologic surgery.

If you have one leg that is more swollen or painful than then other, or have had a leg blood clot in the past, please call us at 408-376-3626 or visit us at www.southbayvascular.com.

TEN MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT VARICOSE VEINS

Last weekend, during my daughter’s water polo game, I noticed the coach for the opposing team was limping and had a very swollen left leg. With a closer look I realized he had the hyperpigmentation (skin darkening) of chronic venous disease and ugly bulging varicose veins easily the size of my thumb all over the inside of his calves. I decided to go ask him about them, as they looked awful, the man was clearly in pain, and I was concerned. After a brief conversation with the coach, where he told me various “old wives’ tales” it dawned on me that he probably wasn’t alone thinking the way he did so I thought I should post this blog in an attempt to clear up these ten common misconceptions about varicose veins. Here goes:

“Varicose veins are simply a cosmetic problem”

About half of the patients we see in our practice for varicose veins complain about the pain they experience because of their veins. Because these patients are experiencing pain and suffering, many times varicose veins are categorized as a Medical condition and not just a cosmetic issue. This is especially true if they are accompanied by leg aching, throbbing, swelling, or discoloration. Venous disease affects about 40 million people in the United States and about 1 million end up with ulcers that are painful and difficult to heal. As a medical condition, depending on the severity of a patients condition, insurance often covers for the procedure to be done. That way, patients are not forced to pay out of pocket to rid themselves of their painful and ugly veins.

“Varicose veins can cause strokes, heart attacks, or gangrene”

Although varicose veins are a circulatory problem, the blood vessels causing strokes, heart attacks, and gangrene are arteries not veins. The patient profile of patients suffering from vein issues (women, multiple pregnancies, family history, standing occupation) is very different from those that get arterial problems (smokers, diabetics, patients with high blood pressure or cholesterol). Because of this, patients suffering from varicose veins should consult with their physicians to determine if this problem is accompanied by any underlying,and potentially more serious, circulatory issues

“Only women get varicose veins”

Although venous disease is more common in women, about 40% of our patients are men. Unfortunately, men tend to present with more advanced disease or longer standing symptoms.

“I have had my veins just like this for twenty years”

Venous disease does progress if not treated and currently there are several outpatient office procedures that can be done with excellent results and low risks

“It is not worth treating varicose veins because they just come back”

The treatment of venous insufficiency is one of the more successful treatments in medicine, as long as the underlying cause is treated- ie. the underlying veins that have the leaky valves. In the old days, patients were treated simply with removal of the bulgy veins. Because the underlying saphenous veins that had leaky valves were not treated, the bulgy veins come back. Now that we do ultrasound to “map out” the diseased veins, the recurrence rate should only be about 10% at 10 years.

“Insurance will not cover any varicose vein treatment”

Although insurance companies have absolutely made the criteria for coverage for venous disease much more difficult over the last ten years, most patients who do have leaky valves in their underlying valves are covered. Sclerotherapy for spider veins and the simple removal of bulgy veins for appearance are almost never covered today.

“Varicose veins are “surplus parts” that I might need someday”

They are abnormal blood vessels that develop usually because there is an underlying medical problem- vein valve failure or “leakiness”. The underlying greater saphenous vein, that usually is the one that has the leaky valves, is sometimes used in open-heart surgery or arterial vascular bypass surgery. However, today, it is not commonly used as those operations have been replaced to a large extent by less invasive procedures using balloons and stents.

“ Varicose veins are just part of getting old as is my leg pain”

Although it is true that there is an increase in the incidence of varicose veins as one gets older (one study found that 75% of women over the age of 65 had venous issues), it is NOT a normal part of aging to feel heaviness, aching, or throbbing in the legs. It is important to go have those symptoms evaluated by a vascular surgeon as often it can be easily treated.

“Treatment of my varicose veins will lay me up for weeks”

Until about 15 years ago, the main treatment for varicose veins was a difficult procedure called vein stripping. This was generally done under general anesthesia, in a hospital where one was admitted, with two moderate sized incisions in the groin and at the ankle. It generally took patients several weeks to recover. The field was revolutionized by the introduction of endovenous ablation, which currently is an office procedure, done under local anesthesia where the patient usually has NO post-operative pain. Most patients return to all of their normal activities with 24-48 hours.

“You have to have bulging veins to have a vein problem”

Many patients who present with heavy, aching or swollen legs actually do not have bulging varicose veins but are found to have a problem on evaluation. In order to diagnose venous disease, it is important to have a VENOUS REFLUX ULTRASOUND. This is not the same as a vein ultrasound to look for blood clots that primary care doctors often order at hospitals. It is critical to have this test done at an ICAVL accredited laboratory as it is extremely technologist dependent. A good exam will take about 30 minutes per leg and will examine veins with the patient in a standing or head slanted up position from the groin to the ankle.

BLOOD CLOTS (DEEP VENOUS THROMBOSIS‐DVT) A SILENT KILLER

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but may occur without any symptoms. DVT is a very feared complication of venous disease because it can lead to a pulmonary embolus, a clot in the lung that can be deadly.

There are several symptoms to DVT but the most common are the sudden onset of pain and swelling in your leg. This does not happen in your foot, but happens, most commonly in the back of your calf or your entire thigh. Usually, the painful part of your leg is also swollen. This comes on abruptly and generally does not go away even after a few days. It is very important to go to your regular doctor and get an ultrasound of your leg. If this is “normal” but the swelling or pain persists, then you should go see a vascular surgeon as more testing (such as CT scan or specialized ultrasound) may need to be done. This is quite important to do quickly as some treatments only work if they are done within a week of the development of symptoms.

If you are diagnosed with a DVT, you should be treated with blood thinners immediately. The role of blood thinners is not to actually “dissolve” the clot in your leg, but rather to prevent it from travelling to your lung and causing a Pulmonary Embolus. The blood thinners also work to prevent the clot from becoming more extensive. If this is your first blood clot, you should be treated for 6 weeks to 3 months with blood thinners depending on why the blood clot occurred. The risk factors for developing blood clots include long plane or car rides, immobility (after an operation or injury), obesity, being very sedentary, pregnancy, having had an orthopedic or gynecologic procedure, some genetic factors (hypercoagulable syndromes), dehydration, and cancer. It is important if there if there is not a clear reason for the blood clot, that a search for a hidden cause be done.

Dr. Kokinos and the staff at South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute are experts in the identification of and treatment of blood clots. If you or anyone you know suffers from the rapid onset of pain and or swelling following a medical procedure and or long trip (most common on long airplane flights) please contact your primary physician immediately or call us at 408-376-3626 to discuss your treatment options.

WHAT IS RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION OF VARICOSE VEINS?

Radiofrequency ablation – the Closure Procedure – is similar to endovenous laser therapy. A radiofrequency probe is placed in the vein under ultrasound guidance. Then the vein is anesthetized using local anesthesia. Next, the vein is heated along its entire length by slowly withdrawing the probe from the vein. This causes the vein to clot and close, stopping the reflux (Leaking valves). Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure, can be performed under local anesthesia, and takes about 45 minutes. Possible complications are continued leg swelling, numbness, tingling, and blood clots in the legs. Patients may have bruising and mild pain for up to 4 weeks.

To date, Dr. Kokinos has successfully performed over 10,000 cosmetic vein procedures and is regarded as one of the premier Vascular Surgeons in the area to provide this service. If you suffer from painful varicose or unsightly legs, please call our office today to discuss your treatment options.

If you have already undergone a cosmetic vascular procedure and continue to experience pain and leg swelling, Dr. Kokinos is one of the few physicians in the area offering an FDA approved treatment to address this complication. We are happy to meet to evaluate your leg swelling, especially if it is left leg swelling and to discuss available treatment options for this unfortunate complication of cosmetic vein procedures.