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Varicose Veins

How did I get Varicose Veins or Spider Veins?

Older age, family history, and female gender are uncontrollable risk factors associated with venous insufficiency. Pregnancy can put stress on normally functioning veins and damage the valves, resulting in reflux. Conditions such as deep venous thrombosis (DVT) and phlebitis are associated conditions, that can be a cause or the result of venous insufficiency.  A standing occupation where most time is spent standing during the day can accelerate the process, and is best managed with compression stockings before significant venous insufficiency develops.   Obesity also contributes to venous insufficiency.  Weight loss and exercise can help improve symptoms. 

Am I too old to have my veins treated?

Treatment for chronic venous insufficiency can be performed at any age.  This is not a contraindication for treatment and there are several treatment options covered by Medicare.  

Does the closure of the saphenous vein pose any problems with circulation in my legs or future heart bypass procedures I might one day need?

No.  Most of the blood return from the legs occurs via an entirely different system that is deeper within your legs (femoral vein).  While the saphenous vein does also carry blood returning from the legs, the blood that would normally flow in this vein will now be redirected into other normal veins.   Additionally, only abnormally enlarged saphenous veins with improper flow are treated in our office.  These veins would not be suitable for a bypass procedure, whether they be for the heart or the legs should you need this type of procedure in the future.  Additionally, there are other veins in the body that can be used for bypass surgery as well as prosthetic grafts.

What is the recovery process after Endovenous Thermal Ablation and will I have to take time off from work?

You should be able to return to your normal daily activities right away, including work.  There is no reason to anticipate that you will miss any work time.  Discomfort is generally controlled with Ibuprofen.  You should, however, refrain from strenuous exercise, particularly high impact activities such as aerobics for 2 weeks following the procedure.  You should also avoid saunas and hot baths during this period.  Excessive exposure to the sun should also be avoided for 1 month as well as prolonged airline travel.  You will need to wear properly fitted compression stockings for 2 weeks (during the day only) to help ensure the treated vein remains closed.  We stock all sizes and many styles of stockings in our office.  You will be encouraged to go for daily walks following the procedure.

How do I know if I am a candidate for Endovenous Thermal Ablation?

This can only be determined after a comprehensive ultrasound examination that will be performed at the time of your initial evaluation by one of our board certified physicians.  Generally, if your only complaint is unsightly spider veins, you will not require this form of treatment.  These procedures can be done at any age, and procedures for symptomatic venous insufficiency are often covered by insurance.

What are the advantages of Endovenous Thermal Ablation over surgical vein stripping and how well does it work?

Vein stripping is generally performed in an operating room at a hospital under general anesthesia.   The incisions are sizeable and there can be a painful and prolonged recovery period.  EVLT is performed through a small (less than a eight of an inch) incision without the need for anesthesia.  There is no scarring and virtually no recovery period.  Long  term data now show that the recurrence rate of varicose veins is less with Endovenous thermal ablation than it is with surgical vein stripping.

Will my insurance cover my treatment?

Most insurance companies will cover treatment of varicose veins that are associated with symptoms (aching pain, swelling, ulcers, etc).  Our office manager will work with you and your insurance carrier to help ensure that your procedure is covered.  However, treatment of spider veins is generally deemed cosmetic and thus, is usually not covered by most insurance companies.

If I don’t have bulging varicose veins but instead only unsightly “spider veins”, how many treatments should I expect to need?

We will treat as many veins as possible in each 30 min-treatment session.  The number of sessions that you will require is dependent of the number of spider veins you have and how well they respond to our sclerosing solutions.   Generally, more than one session is required to obtain the best cosmetic results.