The Body is a Team Player 1

Dr. Stephen Rivard Puts the Spring Back in Patients’ Steps

It almost sounds like an urban legend when Dr. Stephen Rivard casually mentions a 96-year-old woman who had repeatedly driven 40 miles several times a year over a 13-year quest to heal a painful, open leg wound. Upon being referred to him, Rivard, who runs Illinois Vein Specialists in Lake Barrington, treated the patient, completely healing her leg wound in a mere three months. She didn’t require surgery. She was completely healed.

Whereas some wound healing clinics focus on treating a painful wound at a surface level, Rivard focused on the underlying condition that caused the wound: venous insufficiency.

Lest you think Rivard is a braggart or throwing wound clinics (which help millions of people annually) under the bus, he’s not. He’s merely trying to explain the benefits that vein treatment can provide to those who may not know that venous insufficiency can be easily treated without surgery, and is often covered by insurance.

According to Rivard, when the circulatory system is not working well, the entire body can suffer.

When veins go rogue

Veins rely on leg muscles to defy gravity and pull blood up to the heart. When valves in the veins are damaged or not working properly, symptoms will often occur in the legs: swelling, pain, bulging varicose veins, discoloration, a feeling of heaviness or skin ulcers.

Many patients ignore the symptoms of venous insufficiency and don’t seek treatment because they may think it merely a nuisance or not a serious condition. Many endure the pain and swelling without knowing what to do.

What can be done?

Illinois Vein Specialists assess venous insufficiency with a few simple tests that are covered by most insurance policies. One of the ways they treat venous insufficiency is by injecting a chemical that dissolves problematic veins. The body then re-routes blood flow to stronger veins that will carry blood to the heart. When venous insufficiency is resolved, the accompanying symptoms go away.

Once free of painful or embarrassing symptoms, many of Rivard’s patients wonder why they didn’t get treated sooner. “I would love for our potential patients to have a chat with our past patients,” Rivard says. “They would know that we’re committed to medical excellence and we treat our patients with kindness, compassion and joy.”

Medical excellence is a commitment Rivard takes seriously. All physicians at Illinois Vein Specialists are Board Certified in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. Rivard, additionally, was board certified in Emergency Medicine and is a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians (FACEP) – an impressive credential that not all Emergency Physicians hold, and one rarely found among vein specialists. When asked about the credential, Rivard is surprisingly humble. He spent many years as an Emergency Medicine physician at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital. Emergency Medicine taught Rivard an important lesson: the body is a team player.

“By necessity, while I now specialize, emergency medicine trained me to look at the body as a whole,” says Rivard about his work at Advocate Good Shepherd. He founded Illinois Vein Specialists in 2009 and has since trained several physicians to treat venous insufficiency, all of whom are now board certified in Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.

Illinois Vein Specialists can be reached at 847.277.9100 or by visiting