As a firefighter for the South Shore Fire Department in Mount Pleasant and a veteran of the U.S. Navy, Gage Mott, 27, is no stranger to pushing his body to the limit. But he had no idea the aching and fatigue in his legs were symptoms of an underlying issue.

“I felt pain and heaviness after running a mile,” Gage said. “I thought it was just something I had to push through.”

Gage could see varicose veins in his right calf and chest. In August 2019, he made an appointment at FORME™ Aesthetic and Vein Center, part of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network, to discuss options to remove the varicose veins. But he learned the problem was more complex. He had a blockage in his inferior vena cava and iliac veins, the body’s main pathways for blood returning from the abdomen, pelvis and legs.

After being seen at FORME, the team escalated Gage’s case to physicians at Froedtert Hospital, Parag Patel, MD, MS, and Matthew Scheidt, MD, vascular and interventional radiologists and MCW faculty members. When more advanced care is needed, FORME patients are supported by the expertise of board-certified vascular and interventional radiologists and vascular surgeons at Froedtert Hospital, eastern Wisconsin’s only academic medical center.

“Vein issues can be extremely lifestyle limiting,” Dr. Patel said. “For a patient as young as Gage, removing the blockage is critical to prevent progression to an advanced stage of disease.”

Together, Dr. Patel and Dr. Scheidt performed a minimally invasive procedure to dilate the veins and place permanent stents to keep them open.

“Our team has the unique expertise in complex venous disease to be able to successfully reopen the vessels and monitor these patients long term,” Dr. Scheidt said.

Gage was home from the hospital the same day with three tiny incisions, one on his neck and two on his groin. Two weeks later, he was running pain free. “I feel like I could run forever now,” Gage said.