U.P. Superior Vascular Interventional Specialists

Upper Peninsula Superior Vascular Interventional Specialists (UPSVIS) is a private practice that specializes in the field of vascular and interventional treatments.

Who We Are

Upper Peninsula Superior Vascular Interventional Specialists (UPSVIS)  is a private practice that specializes in the field of vascular and interventional treatments. UPSVIS is operated under the direction of both Dr. Christopher Mehall and Dr. Michael Ouimette, Vascular & Interventional Radiologists. Interventional radiologists have additional training and experience to specialize in minimally invasive, targeted treatments. They offer the most in-depth knowledge of the least invasive treatments available coupled with diagnostic and clinical experience across many specialties. Interventional Radiologists use X-rays, MRI and other imaging to advance a catheter in the body, usually in an artery, to treat at the source of the disease internally. As the inventors of angioplasty and the catheter-delivered stent, which were first used in the legs to treat peripheral arterial disease, interventional radiologists pioneered minimally invasive modern medicine. Today interventional radiologists treat many conditions that once required major surgery. Some conditions that Dr. Mehall and Dr. Ouimette treat include: vascular disease, cancer, varicose veins, and chronic neck and back pain.  Together they have over 50 years of medical experience. UPSVIS utilizes state-of-the-art treatment options, combined with initial consultation, dedicated imaging techniques, patient education and follow-up care, to provide simpler alternatives to traditional surgical therapies. This may allow patients to return to everyday activities with minimal recovery time and discomfort – so important to patients in today’s modern world. Of course, not all patients will be candidates for minimally invasive therapies and consultation with Dr. Mehall and Dr. Ouimette may provide patients with peace of mind, knowing that the treatment option they decide upon is best suited for them.


Signs & Symptoms

The Vein Clinic
Interventional Pain Center
Interventional & Vascular Institute

Vein Symptoms

Deep Vein Thrombosis
Pulmonary Embolism
Varicose Veins
Spider Veins

Deep Vein Thrombosis: Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, occurs when you form a blood clot in the deep vein of your leg. Typically due to inactivity, injury or dehydration, your blood will have a tendency to slow down its movement back to the heart and will sometimes form a clot.  This clot will slow down blood movement even more, causing itself to get bigger and bigger. DVT symptoms are subtle, things to watch out for are:

  • Leg fatigue or aching pain
  • Calf/thigh tenderness
  • Swelling/discoloration of the leg
  • Sudden new varicose veins

Complications of DVT can be life threatening, if you suspect you have DVT you should call and make an appointment with a doctor immediately. Other risk factors of DVT include obesity, smoking, and family history of the disease.

Pulmonary Embolism: Pulmonary Embolism, or PE, is the most dangerous and most feared complication of DVT when left untreated or treated improperly. PE occurs when a portion or the entire clot in your deep vein is broken off the vein wall and travels up towards the heart. This clot will eventually reach, and block, the vessels that supply your lungs with blood. Once these vessels are blocked to a significant degree, your lungs will not be able to provide your blood with enough oxygen. This will cause too much strain on your heart and may end in acute heart failure.  Similar to DVT, symptoms of PE are subtle, warning signs include:

  • Sharp chest pain (especially with deep breathing)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Rapid heart beat
  • Loss of consciousness

Pulmonary embolism occurs in about 600,000 new patients each year with about 1/3 of cases causing fatality. If treated correctly, your chance of survival will be much higher.

Varicose Veins: Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted. Usually occurring to superficial veins of the legs, varicose veins form when the valves of the vein no longer push the blood back up the leg against gravity. Once these valves are damaged, blood tends to pool in these veins forming blue bulging varicose veins. Often times varicose veins may seem like a cosmetic issue with no painful symptoms, however if varicose veins are left long enough, the leakage may start to cause more complications. Some of these complications include:

  • Heavy/Aching feeling
  • Restless legs/night cramping
  • Leg swelling
  • Possible ulcer near the ankles

Often time’s treatment for varicose veins will start with wearing compression hose stockings. If your veins are in need of more treatment you may need sclerotherapy, venous ablation, or microphlebectomy. It is important to see a doctor before your varicose veins cause too many more complications.

Spider Veins: Spider veins, referred to as such because of the similarity they often bear to a spider or a spider’s web, are a mild variant of varicose veins. These are very small or tiny blood vessels that lie very close to the skin. The walls of these very small veins become weak related to a variety of factors and begin to bulge at or through the skin's surface. Spider veins can be red, blue or purple in color. Spider veins are more common in women, but do occur in men, and are associated with a family history of varicose veins, hormonal changes and aging.

Discomfort associated with spider veins is usually less severe than with larger, bulging varicose veins, but associated itching can be very annoying. Rarely, slightly larger spider veins, called reticular or telangiectatic veins, may spontaneously bleed.

Pain Symptoms

Low Back Pain
Neck Pain

Low Back Pain: Low back pain is one of the most common causes of disability in the United States and can, again, result from a very large variety of causes. Most cases of low back pain are degenerative in nature and related to either disc degeneration or arthritic change. As disc material between vertebrae ages, it becomes dried out or dessicated. This lack of effective cushioning leaves vertebrae vulnerable to injury. Bone may grow along the edges of the vertebrae to stabilize the vertebrae. This bony overgrowth may cause stiffness and loss of flexibility, but more importantly, may cause narrowing of the spinal canal (spinal stenosis) or its openings that allow nerves to pass out of the canal (foraminal stenosis). The dessicated disc material may also bulge through its outermost fibrous covering and extend into the spinal canal. This disc material can be extremely irritating to spinal nerves as they pass through and leave the spinal canal. These changes may all result in pain that is localized to the low back and/or may extend into and shoot through the buttocks, thighs and calves.

Low back pain may also result from arthritic change involving the bony facet joints. These facet joints can be affected by rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, just like any larger joint in the body. This degenerative change may, again, greatly impact mobility while the resultant inflammation greatly irritates the nerves that supply these joint spaces, as in any similar arthritic joint.

Neck Pain: Almost all individuals will experience some neck pain at some point in their lives. Most episodes of neck pain will be mild and not particularly limiting and are likely to resolve with rest. However, if pain persists for more than a week or two, or is severely limiting to everyday activities, further evaluation may be needed. Neck pain may vary and may involve sharp or dull pain, may be associated with stiffness or inability to rotate the neck, and may present as pain shooting to the shoulders, arms or hands, perhaps even without perceived pain in the neck region itself.

Neck pain may occur secondary to many factors. Muscle strain from poor positioning or posture or, perhaps, athletic injury may give a sensation of pain. The joints between vertebrae in the neck may experience arthritic change just as any other joint in the body, limiting range of motion and causing stiffness. Disc disease occurs commonly with aging as the gelatinous disc material between vertebrae becomes dry and brittle, possibly limiting flexibility. This weakened disc material may push or protrude into the spinal canal in the neck and push on or irritate nerves or the spinal cord itself, resulting in sharp pain or altered sensations in the arms or legs (radiculopathy). More acute trauma, as in a car accident, may severely damage vertebrae, discs, or the surrounding muscles and ligaments and result in rapid onset of these same symptoms.

Vascular Symptoms

Abdominal Aortic Aneurism
Carotid Artery Disease and Stroke

Abdominal Aortic Aneurism: Your aorta is the main vessel that pumps blood to the rest of your body. If the walls of your aorta are weakened there is a chance for the blood to be pumped against the walls and create them to bulge, similar to a balloon, causing an Abdominal Aortic Aneurism or AAA. It is important to look out for symptoms of an AAA because if the aneurism becomes too big and ruptures, your chance of survival is low. Symptoms of AAA to look out for include:

  • Abdominal pain that may be consistent or come and go
  • The feeling of a second heartbeat in your stomach
  • Lower back pain radiating to your groin/legs/buttocks

You may be more at risk for an AAA if you have family history, are a smoker, or have high blood pressure.

Carotid Artery Disease and Stroke: Carotid Artery Disease occurs when the cholesterol (plaque) builds up in your arteries. This build up will narrow and harden your artery, sometimes blocking the artery completely. These blockages will slow down the blood flow to your brain and can become a serious risk, especially a high risk of a stroke. Because there are real no signs or symptoms of this disease, you need to watch out for the following risk factors:

  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Family history

We Are Here To Help

Meet the team who makes it all happen.

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Christopher J. Mehall

MD


Christopher J. Mehall

MD

Dr. Christopher Mehall is a fellowship-trained and board-certified Vascular and Interventional radiologist who has been practicing for 19 years and in the U.P. for 17 years.  He founded U.P. Superior Vascular Interventional Specialists in 2001 and was the first trained Interventional Radiologist in the U.P. Dr. Mehall has also attained certification in the specialty of Phlebology by the American Board of Phlebology (ABPh).

Undergraduate: University of Detroit, Detroit, MI
Medical School: Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, MI – MD
Residency: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI – Radiology
Fellowship: Wayne State University, Detroit, MI – Interventional Radiology and Neuroradiology
Board Certified: Radiology, Interventional Radiology, Phlebology

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Michael V. Ouimette

MD


Michael V. Ouimette

MD

Dr. Michael Ouimette has been diagnosing and treating vein disorders since 1996 and joined UPSVIS in the summer of 2008. Dr. Ouimette has been a practicing interventional radiologist for over 20 years.

Undergraduate: University of Minnesota/Duluth, Duluth, MN
Medical School: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN – MD
Residency: William Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak, MI – Diagnostic Radiology
Residency: Bronson & Borgess Hospitals, Kalamazoo, MI – Internal Medicine
Board Certified: Radiology

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Melissa Hendrickson

PA-C


Melissa Hendrickson

PA-C

Physician Assistant

Melissa brings a wealth of experience to UPSVIS, having been a physician assistant in primary care, neurosurgery and emergency medicine settings before joining UPSVIS in 2003. She sees UPSVIS patients for follow-up, using ultrasound, a medical imaging technique to visualize veins to ensure there are no post-procedure problems.

Undergraduate: B.S. Biology 1998, Northern Michigan University
PA-C: University of South Alabama, 2000

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Nathan Aho

R.R.A


Nathan Aho

R.R.A

Registered Radiologist Assistant

Nathan earned an advanced degree in radiology which he puts to use for UPSVIS patients when seeing them for post-procedure follow-up. He has been with UPSVIS since 2008. Nathan uses ultrasound imaging to view veins after a patient’s procedure to ensure there are no problems.

Undergraduate/Graduate: Midwestern State University, Wichita Falls, TX – Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences.
Board Certified: Registered Radiology Assistant, Radiology RT(R), Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MR), Vascular Interventional (VI)

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Contact U.P. Superior Vascular Interventional Specialists

Do you have questions about our services? Send us an email and we can help find the right treatment for you.