“Gravity is the culprit,” says Susan Hancock, M.D. of Hancock Vein Center. Veins carry blood “uphill,” back to the heart. Over time and with aging, the veins weaken and circulatory flow is compromised. Valves in the affected veins no longer work properly and blood pools in the legs, causing congestion (venous hypertension).
“Venous problems are probably as bad in men as in women,” says Hancock, “but women are more likely to get treatment.” Hancock is a vascular surgeon and solo practitioner, specializing in problems such as venous reflux disease (compromised blood flow) and venous hypertension.
If untreated, venous conditions can cause leg swelling, bulging veins, changes to the skin’s color and texture, ulcers, feeling of heaviness and fatigue in the limbs, pain and varicose (“spider”) veins. However, without other underlying vascular problems, varicose veins are not covered by insurance. “This is considered cosmetic surgery, which is not covered,” says Hancock.
Hancock works with patients to design a treatment plan. She does a full vascular screening on them. If additional medical problems are discovered, or a patient needs hospital-based vascular procedures, she refers her patients to the appropriate specialist.
Hancock has the only private medical practice specializing in venous disease in Hampton Roads. “I believe that personal attention to the patient is important,” she says. Minimally invasive treatments allow a patient to return to normal activity as early as possible. “I can usually promise a rejuvenated lifestyle,” says Hancock. “At the same time expectations must be realistic,” she adds.
Fifty percent of people over 50 years old suffer some type of vascular problem. Risks include obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes and genetic disposition. Symptoms include aching, swelling, redness of skin and ulcerations. Some ways to get relief (but not a cure) are exercising, elevating and resting legs, weight reduction and wearing compression hose.
Hancock has been in a group practice but prefers “going solo.” “I can set my own standards and spend more time with my patients,” she says. This is her ninth year in private practice. Her office has a part-time vascular technologist (ultrasound), Shamir Johnson.
Hancock was born in Clearwater, Florida, and received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering from Auburn University. “I’m an Auburn Tiger,” she proudly says. “My father was an engineer and I always liked math and science.” She spent two years as a health care consultant. “That redirected me,” she says.
Hancock started medical school at age 26 and obtained her medical degree from the University of Southern Florida in Tampa. Her general surgery residency was earned at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta. She then obtained a vascular surgery fellowship from the Atlanta Medical Center, and she has been in Newport News since 2008.
Hancock’s husband works at Newport News Shipbuilding. When the practice opened he served as the manager. “Now he is my ‘IT rock,’” she says. They have a son, who just completed first grade.
When asked about hobbies, Hancock quickly replies, “motherhood.” She works to maintain a balance in her personal and professional lives. When there is time, she enjoys reading, golfing and swimming. “I go to Auburn football games when possible,” she adds. Travel usually consists of visiting relatives. “When my son is older, I look forward to traveling with him.”
Working with patients each day is rewarding, she says. “It is a privilege to help others,” Hancock says. “The trust of my patients is important to me.”
TO THE POINT:
Hancock Vein Center
Contact: Susan M. Hancock, M.D.
Address: 603 Pilot House Dr., Ste. 240, Newport News VA 23606