Frequently Asked Questions...and Answers
Varicose veins are large, swollen, rope-like veins that are visible on the surface of the skin. These veins are most commonly on the legs and can be very sensitive, painful, and swollen, but they can occur with no symptoms at all. If varicose veins appear on your legs, the one-way valves inside of your veins have failed and blood is traveling the wrong direction and “pooling” in the leg veins.
Aching in the lower legs without relief. Muscle cramps or pain in lower legs. Feeling of heaviness in the lower legs after standing or sitting for long periods of time. Mild to severe swelling of the ankles, or legs in general. These symptoms are not present in each case, but having one symptom can potentially lead to the rest.
YES. Most insurance covers treatment of the veins that are considered medically necessary. Patient co-pays and deductibles vary, but most insurance covers our treatments when we validate that veins are medically incompetent/bad.
Each patient will be scheduled for an initial evaluation. If it’s determined you have signs or symptoms of underlying vein problems or varicose veins, a follow-up appointment will be scheduled to conduct a thorough ultrasound of your legs, at which time we will map your veins and identify those that need treating. This ultrasound session will take about an hour. Patients need to refrain from drinking caffeine before the ultrasound procedures as caffeine makes the veins constrict.Most insurance companies require that patients complete a 12-week conservative therapy period, wearing compression stockings to see if that temporarily improves the varicose vein symptoms. After 12 weeks, patients will return to the clinic for a follow-up exam. At that time, we will submit to your insurance company for approval to treat or close the bad veins. Once the insurance company approves the procedures, we will schedule your treatments.
Usually it takes multiple, short visits to the clinic during a one-week period to treat your veins. We use a numbing medicine called lidocaine during procedures. For your safety, we can only administer a limited amount of lidocaine each day. Most treatments take just a few minutes on one to four days, depending on the number of bad veins in each leg.
Each treatment session lasts about 10 to 15 minutes. You will be in the clinic a total of about one hour from start to finish of your visit.
No, there is no need to miss work following each treatment. You can go back to work that day, but you need to walk 10 or 15 minutes every hour while you are awake. Patients can resume normal activity; however, no excessive exercise or lifting over 25 pounds.
No, you can continue on your blood thinners during your treatment period.
Patients are wide-awake during their procedures. We simply use a little numbing medicine around the veins while treating them.
Yes, you can, as long as you take breaks after driving 20 minutes or so, and get out and walk.
Patients generally say they don’t consider it painful. You will feel the initial injection of the numbing medicine, followed by the coolness of the fluid injected around the vein.
The bandages will need to stay on for 48 to 72 hours. Afterwards, patients will wear compression stockings for three weeks following their procedures to ensure successful closure of the bad veins.
Important recent research has shown that, left untreated, people with varicose veins have five times the risk for developing DVT *(deep vein thrombosis) or blood clots. These can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. Varicose veins or venous insufficiency will progress throughout one’s lifetime, although it’s hard to say how fast. Progression includes semi-permanent dark skin stains on the lower part of the legs, more varicose veins, skin scarring, and open wound ulcerations which can lead to serious infections. Additionally, the underlying symptoms of itching, burning, pain, swelling, heaviness, tiredness, and restless leg syndrome will increase over time when varicose veins are left untreated. * Journal of American Medical Association, Feb. 27, 2018
They will probably feel a little heavier because of the numbing fluid and bandages used on the legs following the procedure. While you may feel a little numbness to touch for an hour or two, the muscles will work just fine.
Varicose veins are one of the most common venous disease symptoms affecting the world today. This issue is very prevalent, affecting one out of two people over 50, and 20% of all adults.
When blood is not returned properly from the legs to the heart, varicose veins can appear. Leg veins have valves that open allowing blood to flow upward toward the heart and close to prevent back flow or venous reflux. If valves are not closing correctly, blood falls in the wrong direction and pools inside the vein making it difficult for muscles to push the blood up to the heart. The blood going the wrong direction (reflux) overfills and expands the superficial veins close to the skin, making them appear as varicose veins.
If you are experiencing one or any of the following you may be suffering from venous insufficiency. Redness of the legs and ankles. Skin discoloration around lower legs and ankles. Swelling of the legs and ankles. Ulcers on the legs and ankles. Restless leg syndrome. Pain in the legs after standing or sitting for an extended time. Heaviness in the legs, especially later in the day. Aching in the legs, especially later in the day. Venous insufficiency causes these symptoms, as well as others, because of the abnormal circulation it creates in the legs, so get treated today!
Yes, you can have insufficiency in deep and superficial veins. Varicose veins are the large, rope like veins that bulge out near the surface of the skin. Varicose veins grow over time and can result in significant pain and complication if left untreated. Deep vein insufficiency occurs in the deep veins and can be more difficult to diagnose. Our trained staff can perform diagnostic tests that can help determine which type of insufficiency you are at risk for. Depending on the type and stage of venous condition, there are many different treatment options. Your physician can explain all options in detail.
Varicose veins worsen over time and can result in signs and symptoms in the effected leg. If left untreated, these signs and symptoms can worsen, limiting your walking and even prevent you from sleeping due to cramping at night or restless legs. A recent study shows that 25% of patients progress in venous disease within 6 months without treatment. Eventually, varicose veins can lead to open sores on the foot, blood clots, and tissue loss.
Our legs have many veins in them, so the blood that would have flowed through the closed vein simply flows through other healthy veins post-procedure. Losing the affected vein is not a problem, getting rid of the bad vein helps the circulatory system.
Fortunately, the procedures our physicians perform have rarely been associated with any serious complications when performed properly. Minor complications often seen include bruising, mild itching, tenderness, and tightness in the treated leg for up to two weeks following the procedure.
These are medical grade, knee-high and thigh-high socks or stockings that apply a high degree of pressure to your leg. Compression is the most commonly prescribed treatment for venous disease issues. Compression treatment works, but only temporarily. The compression is applied to the venous system from the ankle and then moving upward, compressing the veins at that point, and transferring the compression up the leg, hoping to keep the valves in your leg closer in proximity to each other. Compression certainly has a place in helping you achieve a level of comfort as well as reduce pain and slow the disease progression. However, as said before, compression is not a cure for the cause of your problems. You will achieve a far more lasting and beneficial solution to venous problems by having them treated in any of the ablation and surgical manners described on our “vein procedures” page.
- Select a clinic that is dedicated exclusively to vein treatments (phlebology).
- Select an active member of the American College of Phlebology.
- Select a Board Certified physician.
- Select a physician and clinic that puts your health and interest first.
- Select a clinic with physicians there every day, not traveling in and out.
- Avoid a multipurpose clinic that happens to include vein treatments.
- Avoid multipurpose physicians doing part-time vein treatments. (Would you want a general practice physician to do your brain surgery?)