What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that can be blue, red, or flesh-colored. They are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted, bulging cords because of a defect with the leaflet valves inside the vein. Normally, blood in the veins travels back to the heart in the direction (towards the heart) supported with the pump action of the calf muscles and one-way valves. These valves, when working normally, prevent blood from flowing backward. But sometimes the leaflets of the valves fail to meet properly, allowing blood to flow downward and pool causing the vein to expand. They can also be associated with pain, aches, heaviness, restless legs or night leg cramps, or burning and itching of the skin.

Can I prevent getting varicose veins?

It is uncertain if varicose veins can be prevented, but certain lifestyle changes may help limit the disease’s progression and reduce symptoms. Getting regular exercise, if you smoke, start a smoking cession program and stop smoking, avoiding excessively long periods of standing or sitting, maintain a healthy weight, and wearing compression stockings on a consistent basis may all help alleviate symptoms and prevent the progression of the disease.

What happens if I don’t treat the vein?

If the disease is left untreated, varicose veins can progress to become chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) with symptoms that worsen over time. Fortunately, diagnosing and treating this disease early can halt its progression.

Will my spider veins or varicose veins reoccur, even with treatment?

While it is true that there is no ‘cure’ for varicose veins, current varicose vein treatments are more effective than ever. If a specific vein is properly treated, it usually does not reopen, but it is possible that other veins may become diseased. After treatment, it is important to practice good vein health for life; exercise 30 minutes a day 3-5 times per week, wear compression stocking consistently, don’t stand or sit for long periods of time and maintain a healthy weight to avoid other veins from refluxing.

Will the loss of this vein cause a problem?

No. The faulty vein being closed does not work properly and is allowing blood to flow backwards and pool, so leaving it untreated only makes things worse. The body contains numerous other healthy veins that are functional and can easily take up the additional flow.

Many times a patient’s veins are used for arterial bypass procedures. Veins that are refluxing and dilated are not good choices for conduits for bypass surgery.

Will I be asleep for the procedure?

Typically, a patient is not put to sleep for the procedure. The procedure is minimally invasive, requiring just a slight skin nick, and only local anesthesia is needed at the site of entry. Our physicians take great care to ensure you are comfortable throughout the procedure. Many patients are surprised by how little discomfort they experience during the procedure. You will be offered medicine that you can take just prior to the procedure to reduce any anxiety.

How much time will I need to take off from my job?

Most people can go back to their regular activities and jobs after the procedure. Walking, low-impact exercises and stretching are encouraged starting the day of treatment. Strenuous activities should be avoided for two weeks. Afterward, that you may resume your regular activities with no restrictions.

We do have some weekend hours for your convenience so that you don’t have to take time away from work.

Is the cost of my vein treatment covered by insurance?

Most insurance policies do cover varicose vein treatments, but it does depend on the patient (severity of the disease) and the insurance company. During the initial visit, your varicose vein history will be documented and a physical exam relevant to your varicose veins will be performed. To ensure you have significant venous reflux, we will obtain an ultrasound exam of your legs to identify veins that are not functioning correctly and confirm our diagnosis. We then contact your insurance company to obtain pre-authorization for any planned treatment. We have extensive experience and are familiar with the most common insurance companies. Before receiving any treatment, you will know what is covered by your insurance.

Sclerotherapy for spider veins is generally considered a cosmetic procedure and usually not covered by your insurance.