Dr. Johann C. Ragg Foto: angioclinic® Venenzentrum Berlin GmbH
„It‘s one of the most beautiful squares in West Berlin,“ says Johann C. Ragg pointing to the huge window and its panorama view. On the bottom is the Tauentzienstraße, to the left the KaDeWe, then the imposing Waldorf Astoria and, at the center of everything, the Gedächtniskirche Memorial Church. It doesn‘t get more Berlin-West than this. For the past twelve years, Johann C. Ragg has had his practice here in a private clinic on Bayreuther Straße. The huge glass facade is no accident, explains the physician. „I found the architecture inspiring for a new era of vein care.“
Ragg‘s patients, however, don‘t come for the view. They come because he can do what others can‘t. He treats vein problems without invasive operations. That is, his techniques do without any anesthesia, incisions, pain or lengthy healing processes. His patients travel to Berlin from all over the world, including as far away as Australia. And their efforts are always worth it. „So far, I‘ve never had a patient whose vein-related problems couldn‘t be treated successfully,“ says Ragg, who was already specializing in non-surgical vascular medicine in the early 1990s.
When a vein becomes damaged, it affects the direction of the flow of blood. This can occur, for example, if the vein has widened. Next, the muscle-vein-pumps stop functioning properly. This results in blood accumulating in the legs, at which point they begin to swell up. Until now, damaged veins were surgically removed. „Although, it might be more accurate to say they were ‚torn out,‘“ explains Ragg. Unfortunately, operations such as these inevitably leave even bigger wounds, because veins are firmly attached to tissue and nerve pathways rather than being simply open. In the worst case scenario, patients struggle with lengthy side effects after surgery. For example, they might lose any feeling in the leg if the surrounding nerves were damaged in any way. „This might last six months or longer,“ says Ragg, who performs all treatments in his practice himself. And yet, the doctor knows from his own experience, in the majority of cases, it never should have come that far, because vein problems are often caused by patients themselves.
„Many people think vein problems are inherited or chronic in nature, as if they can‘t do anything about it. And that‘s why they don‘t do anything.“ But this is precisely the wrong attitude to have, the doctor argues. Many vein-related issues are the result of overburdening the legs and insufficient movement. And much can be done to counteract this, including special exercise. If such an approach doesn‘t help, adds the doctor, „then it‘s time to seek treatment, because all vein problems are basically treatable – painlessly and without any surgery.“
The 58-year-old physician is a man of gentle methods. Indeed, Ragg‘s treatments make use of ultrasound and radio waves, laser, special micro-foams and adhesive techniques, some of which he developed himself. Damaged parts of the vein are closed up in a painless procedure. He also uses hyaluronic acid in his treatments: this acid surrounds overextended veins with an invisible cloak, a kind of support corset. „Since 2005, we‘ve been able to treat every condition without any surgical intervention,“ explains the vascular medicine expert, who treats up to 20 people a day. His latest coup is a special clear film he‘s been researching and developing for thirty years. It functions like a compression stocking, and patients don‘t feel a thing. They can use it to do sports, go swimming and take showers. Varicose veins disappear as if by magic and never return.
Every now and then – between his medical practice and the lab – Ragg steals a moment to enjoy the panorama.