Meet Dr. Tracy Brito

Dr. Tracy Brito - Vein specialist at Mercyhealth in Rockford, ILTracy Brito, MD, RVT, ABVLM

Dr. Tracy Brito has been a physician in the Rockford area for over 30 years. She has devoted the last 15 years of her practice life to the diagnosis and treatment of venous disease. She joined Mercy Health in December of 2015 to start the Mercyhealth Vein Clinic at the Perryville offices. Dr. Brito is one of the first physicians to achieve Diplomate status in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine, the study of vein disease, in the United States. She is also a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT), giving her a comprehensive knowledge of the diagnostic technologies required for proper treatment, making the Mercyhealth Vein Clinic one of the most advanced and well-equipped treatment facilities available. Dr. Brito is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine (ABVLM).

The focus of the clinic is the diagnosis and management of patient with symptomatic venous disease. The vast majority of the treatment is covered by medical insurance (some exceptions). Treatment for cosmetic spider veins is also provided (not covered by insurance).

Certifications:

  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Lymphatic and Venous Medicine (ABVLM)
  • Registered Vascular Technologist  (RVT)

Education:

Medical School

University of Cape Town Medical School, Cape Town, South Africa

Residency

North Shore University Hospital/Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York

Additional areas of special interest include:

  • Medical varicose veins
  • Vein disease
  • Minimally invasive treatment of varicose veins
  • Leg edema
  • Leg ulcers
  • Compression therapy
  • FDA-approved VenaSeal Closure System to treat patients with chronic venous insufficiency

What is vein disease?

Although often mistakenly referred to as a “cosmetic” issue, vein disease is a set of chronic, medically disabling disorders that are of far greater concern to the patient than their personal appearance. When the vein disease advances, it creates backflow of blood which leads to an increase in pressure on the vein wall, resulting in pooling of blood and the appearance of varicose veins.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are twisted and enlarged veins that bulge near the surface of the skin. While it is possible for them to occur anywhere in the body, they are most commonly found in the legs as the result of hereditary, prolonged standing, pregnancy, obesity, menopause and other indicators.

What are common symptoms of vein disease?

Vein disease will not get better if it is ignored; it will likely become worse. The symptoms of vein disease are many, indicating that this is a real disease and not just a cosmetic issue. Symptoms include the following, which may present together or alone:

    • Varicose veins
    • Spider veins – particularly in the ankles
    • Swelling of legs and/or ankles
    • Tired, achy legs, heaviness, fatigue, leg cramps
    • Scaly, itchy rashes and thickening of the skin
    • Slow or non-healing wounds on the legs
    • Darkening of the skin on the legs
    • Restless leg syndrome

Venous disease progression image

What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?

While varicose veins are often believed to be nothing more than a cosmetic concern and do not require medical attention, this information is inaccurate and can lead to venous ulcers, blood clots or deep vein thrombosis, and edema. Other issues could be pain, swelling, tired and achy legs which would only get worse if left untreated.

What are commons myths about vein disease?

There are many common myths about varicose and spider veins. Unfortunately, many of these myths stem from a number of factors including antiquated treatments as well as a lack of specialization. However, with recent technological advancements in the last decade and the adoption of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine (previously Phlebology) as a new specialty, the truth behind many of these common myths has come to light.

  • Myth #1: Varicose veins are purely cosmetic and do not need to be treated
    This is probably the most common myth, told by many doctors. Not only is this untrue, it is just bad advice to give when considering the potential side effects of leaving varicose veins untreated. While many are told that if their noticeable veins create no pain then there is no need to seek medical attention, this is not sound advice. Unfortunately, if you have varicose veins the pain resulting from this real disease can progressively increase causing serious damage to your body, like ulcers or deep vein thrombosis.
  • Myth #2: Men are not at risk for developing varicose veins
    Men often think that varicose veins are problems that women face, particularly when compression stockings get involved. Men tend to work through the pain and rarely seek professional advice as varicose veins are really not a big deal. Contrary to this myth, vein disease affects nearly 40% of men by age 60. The symptoms of vein disease manifest regardless of gender. In fact, for men with sports related injuries requiring surgery, treating varicose veins prior to surgery may very well increase the success of your recovery by delivering proper blood flow to the injured/treated area.
  • Myth #3: Women should wait until they have finished having all their children before treating their varicose veins
    Historically, this proved true as a result of inadequate and painful treatment methods such as ‘vein stripping’ which frequently led to recurrence. Modern technological advancements, however, have not only led to safer procedures, but have significantly reduced the recurrence rate to less than 2 percent by treating varicose veins at their source. In actuality, your obstetrician should recommend that you seek evaluation from a Board Certified Vein Specialist prior to getting pregnant, which would actually help prevent a lot of the unnecessary symptoms and pain associated with vein disease.
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