By Joe Southern
Although the results may appear to be cosmetic, the work Dr. Tonie Reincke does at Metro Vein Centers in Sugar Land is focused on treatment of disease, not the beautification of a patient’s legs.
Any beautification is just a pleasant side effect.
Reincke primarily treats people suffering from chronic venous insufficiency. Classifications include spider veins, varicose veins, and swelling, skin changes and ulcers of the legs. Some of the more common symptoms are aching legs, swelling, night cramps, restless legs, itching and burning, and pain while standing.
“Not all vein disease is visible,” she said.
Treating vein disease is quick with almost no downtime for the patient and is covered by insurance.
“It takes about an hour time total here,” she said.
From the time the patient walks into the office until they leave after treatment, the process takes no more than an hour with no recovery time.
“They can resume their normal activities. There is no downtime,” Reincke said.
The procedure is not surgical and is done in-house. There are no narcotics of prescriptions.
“I do all the procedures from start to finish,” she said.
Reincke wants people to understand that Metro Vein Centers is a medical facility and not a place for cosmetic surgery. She said less than 1 percent of the work she does is cosmetic. Most of the time she refers cosmetic cases to other doctors. Many of the cases she sees are referred from primary care physicians (PCP).
“Other than cosmetics, my work is covered by insurance because it’s considered medically necessary,” she said.
She said some insurances require a referral from a PCP, but others will cover self-referring patients.
According to Reincke, about one in three people will have chronic venous disease, although most won’t know it. It happens slowly and the accompanying pain comes in the form of an ache that the patient has learned to live with.
“You don’t have to live with it,” she said.
Patients come for an initial consultation and screening. Reincke said a registered vascular technician uses an ultrasound device to locate the extent of the diseased veins. Once that is determined, she does a heat treatment to close the veins using a laser in a process known as endovenous laser treatment. The procedure is done under a local anesthetic.
“It’s not pain-free,” she said. “There is some discomfort but it’s not painful.”
Once a procedure is complete, the patient puts on a pair of compression hose and starts walking. Once they leave the office, they can resume all normal activity except for heavy lifting.
She said the disease occurs as the valves in the veins stretch and quit working properly. That causes blood to pool, stretching the veins and causing swelling and pain. The majority of cases she sees are from people with a genetic predisposition to it. Other cases are caused by people who are on their feet a lot and those with significant weight gain.
She tells her patients that what she does is a treatment, not a cure. The disease can recur and patients should be checked annually. She said her patients are both men and women because the disease is not gender specific.
Reincke’s office is spacious and her staff numbers about five. She prides herself that when you call or visit, you will speak with her and not an answering service. She co-owns the business with a group of doctors who have other Metro Vein Centers in Michigan and New Jersey.
Reincke is originally from Indiana. She graduated from Indiana University as a registered nurse, completed the physician assistant program at St. Francis University and graduated from Wayne State University School of Medicine, where she was the recipient of the Academic Achievement Award.
She is a board certified interventional radiologist, having completed her radiology residency and an accredited interventional radiology fellowship at the Detroit Medical Center. Her memberships include the Society of Interventional Radiology and the American College of Phlebology.
She moved to Texas in 2013 and opened her own practice on Sept. 8, 2015. She and her husband Doug have two children.
Metro Vein Centers
1111 Hwy. 6 No. 250, Sugar Land, TX 77478
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.