Our FAQs are designed to help answer some questions you may have regarding how we diagnose and treat varicose veins. We want you to feel comfortable and informed about your treatment options. International Vein Clinics is committed to providing the best possible treatment for our patients.
Q. What are varicose & spider veins?
The normal anatomy of the legs includes millions of veins, which are blood vessels that return blood to the heart after the arteries have delivered blood from the heart to the leg. When the veins are not functioning normally, usually due to malfunctions of their regulatory valves, excessive pressure inside the vessels causes them to enlarge over time. Spider veins are simply dilated surface vessels. Varicose veins are larger vessels usually fed from an underlying incompetent source. Vein disorders are not always visible. The embarrassing twisting and bulging of the vein causes discomfort and results from faulty valves in the veins. If the veins are malfunctioning,the system fails to work efficiently, and problems can developwhich include varicose veins, leg swelling and pain.
Q. What causes varicose or spider veins?
There are three kinds of veins in your legs. Superficial veins, deep veins and perforating veins. The superficial veins, which are closest to the skin, are connected by perforating veins into the deep veins found at the level of the bones and muscles. All veins work together to pump the blood back to the heart against the downward force of gravity. To keep the blood moving in the right direction against the pull of gravity, veins contain valves which open to let the blood pass through and then close again. When these one-way valves are not working properly, the walls of the veins distend as blood pools inside them, causing them to bulge out. Because of the superficial location of the veins, the bulging, rope-like result can be seen through the surface of the skin.
Q. Is there anything I can do to prevent varicose or spider veins?
Although varicose veins are primarily a hereditary problem, there are a number of contributing factors.
Everything from pregnancy, obesity, prior blood clots and occupations that require long periods of standing or even sitting can be cited. What most people don’t realize is that the leg soreness and fatigue they experience can in many cases be attributed to varicose or spider veins. Phlebitis (inflammation of veins), thrombosis (blood clots within the veins) and skin ulcers may occur when large varicose veins go untreated. Smaller, untreated veins can become more severe. Because the development of varicose veins is usuallyprogressive, early treatment makes sense.
Q. How do you diagnose the medical problem of varicose veins?
We use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment, including duplex ultrasound, with the most current technology available for accurate diagnosis of underlying vein problems. Our ultrasound equipment uses high-resolution Doppler imaging, which allows us to examine the vein anatomy and determine if the patient has malfunctioning valves within the legs. Accurate and early detection of these insufficiencies allows us to diagnose our patients with a high level of precision.
Q. What is considered a medically necessary treatment?
A medically necessary treatment is one in which the large veins associated with symptoms like aching, tiredness, swelling and skin changes are treated. At International Vein Clinics, minimally invasive and minimally painful procedures like Sclerotherapy and Endovenous Ablation are utilized to treat these veins.
Q. How do I get started?
While venous disorders are not preventable, they areTREATABLE! We offer the most modern, state-of-the-art diagnostic options for our patients. An extensive history and physical exam along with a real-time venous Doppler ultrasound of the legs are standard for all of our patients prior to treatment. This painless procedure allows us to examine the vein anatomy, identify problem veins and give our medical staff a detailed road map of a patient’s veins, which is extremely important in formulating a treatment plan that is exclusively tailored for each patient. Accurate and early detection of these insufficiencies is key in formulating the most effective course of treatment for each individual patient.
Q. Can men develop varicose and spider veins?
It is a common misconception that men do not get varicose veins. Men are just as likely to develop painful varicose veins. Common causes such as heredity, weight gain and lifestyle issues such as jobs requiring standing on cement or other hard surfaces, are the same in both men and women. Men typically tend to be less symptomatic due to lower estrogen levels which seems to play a role in developing symptoms. Men also tendto not be concerned with the cosmetic aspect of treatment,therefore making them less likely to pursue treatment early. When men finally seek treatment, we typically see very large, bulging varicosities, which can or have lead to other issues such as phlebitis and ulcers. Seeking treatment before those conditions develop can eliminate added down time and further complications.
Q. What is Sclerotherapy?
Sclerotherapy involves a series of small injections into the target vein. Each session only takes about 20-30 minutes. By injecting a small amount of sclerosing agent into the target vein, the walls of the vein collapse and the vein is naturally absorbed by the body. The body will then re-route blood flow through healthy veins. With this procedure, veins can be dealt with at an early stage, helping to prevent further complications.
You may need anywhere from one to several sclerotherapy sessions for any vein region. Generally, normal activities can be resumed immediately after sclerotherapy. Medically prescribed support hose and/or bandages need to be worn for several days to assist in resolution of the veins. The procedure is performed in the office and is well tolerated. Bruising and pigmentation may occur after sclerotherapy. Bruising typically disappears within 1-2 weeks. Although pigmentation almost always fades, it can last for several months. Complications are very uncommon and are generally minor. The American College of Phlebology recognizes sclerotherapy as the gold standard in the treatment of small to moderate sized leg veins!
Q. What is Endovenous Ablation?
Endovenous Ablation is a 30-45 minute, minimally invasive procedure performed in the office. During this procedure, a catheter is inserted into the target vein. As the catheter is slowly withdrawn, the vein is permanently closed. This decreases the pressure on the surface veins making subsequent sclerotherapy more effective!
Q. How successful is Endovenous Ablation?
Published clinical studies show that Endovenous Ablation has a 98% initial success rate with excellent long-term results. Success rates in our practice are consistent with published results, and complications are extremely rare.
Q. Are the procedures affordable?
To get started, all you need to do is call 1-800-VEINS-90 to schedule your consultation. Your Patient Account Representative will determine what coverage you may have. While you may consider treatment to be cosmetic, the potential problems resulting from the damaged veins may make it a medically necessary. We offer several payment options. Our practice accepts Visa, MasterCard and Discover. We will also allow you to make payments over the course of your treatments. For larger balances, due we offer CareCredit. CareCredit works just like a credit card but better. It is exclusive to health care service providers.
Q. Is loss of this vein a problem?
NO! After treatment, the blood in faulty veins will be diverted to the healthy veins.
Q. What are the benefits of Endovenous Ablation performed at International Vein Clinics?
- Treatment performed in-office in less than an hour
- No general anesthesia or hospitalization
- Resume your activity immediately with minimal restrictions
Q. What can I expect with the Endovenous Ablation procedure and recovery?
- An ultrasound is used to map out your vein in the office prior to your procedure
- Treatments are performed using a local anesthetic
- Patients may experience some mild bruising
- Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged
- Normal daily activity can be resumed (just avoid rigorous activities such as gym workouts, jumping and high impact aerobics) within 1 week of Endovenous Ablation
- There may be minor soreness and bruising or a feeling or tightness at first. Veins sometimes feel firm and/or rubbery afterwards for 2-6 weeks post-procedure, which is normal. Any discomfort can be treated with over- the-counter, non-aspirin pain relievers as needed
- Stockings need to be worn to increase effectiveness of the procedure
- Follow-up with post-procedure ultrasound in 3-4 weeks