Frequently Asked Questions

What are varicose veins?

  • Varicose veins are large purple or blue “rope-like” veins that bulge out on your legs. They will neither disappear nor regress without treatment. It is estimated that 60 percent of Americans have some form of venous disease, women slightly more than men. Treatment can typically be performed in the office.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins?

  • Symptoms associated with venous disease are pain, burning and/or itching. Many patients describe aching in their legs at the end of the day or at night while sleeping. More advanced symptoms include discoloration near the ankles, swelling or skin breakdown in extreme cases.

What causes varicose veins?

  • Veins are supposed to carry blood back from the leg and foot to the heart. They work in an anti-gravity fashion through a system of valves. By a variety of mechanisms, those valves can become incompetent causing blood to pool in those veins. Over time, that leads to dilated and tortuous veins, namely, varicose veins. This process of the valves failing in the superficial veins is called venous reflux or venous insufficiency.

What are spider veins?

  • Spider veins are very small red or purple veins that lie just under the surface of the skin. They often take on a web-like appearance and appear in clusters usually around the knee or ankle. In most cases, patients will not experience any symptoms. Out-patient treatment is performed with minimal discomfort using sclerotherapy.

Is venous disease dangerous if left untreated?

  • There is a spectrum of venous disease ranging from asymptomatic spider veins to the development of recurrent venous ulceration (open sores). Most patients have only mild venous disease, such as varicose veins, which is rarely dangerous if left untreated. More severe disease should be treated, however. We will advise you on options for and urgency of treatment.

What can I do to prevent venous disease?

  • There are no “quick fixes” for venous disease, but there are things you can do to slow the process. First, compression stockings work to exert compression from the outside on the troublesome veins. This keeps the veins from dilating, hopefully alleviating symptoms. Unfortunately, many find stockings to be uncomfortable, especially in warm weather. Second, exercise and walking help exert compression on varicose veins from the inside. The muscles in your legs are the best method to keep the symptoms of venous disease at bay. Finally, elevating your legs helps minimize blood from pooling in varicose veins, though most people cannot keep their legs elevated at all times. Although we encourage the above conservative measures, they are impractical for the majority of patients in the long term.

Can I have treatment during pregnancy?

  • The hormonal and physical changes of pregnancy can certainly exacerbate venous disease, making varicose veins more prominent and painful. We advise against treatment during pregnancy.

Is there a relationship between varicose veins and a blood clot?

  • In short, no. Dangerous blood clots involve the deep venous system. Varicose veins occur in the superficial venous system. Very rarely do the two overlap.

How is venous disease diagnosed?

  • One of our physicians will review your medical history and provide a thorough examination. A duplex ultrasound (utilizing conventional imaging with Doppler flow information) provides the best treatment strategy by looking at the structure and function of your veins. The ultrasound is performed in our office and is covered by most insurance plans.

Who is affected by venous disease?

  • Venous disease affects young and old, male and female. Females suffer from venous disease most often due to the hormonal changes that take place with pregnancy.

Will my varicose veins come back?

  • The treated veins very rarely recur, but it is a possibility. It’s more likely for veins in other areas to become affected. Venous disease is a disease process that can affect you over a lifetime. Our goal is to provide you with the best treatment and most durable solution.

Does insurance cover the cost of treatment?

  • Insurance generally covers symptomatic therapy for venous disease, including surgery. Insurance plans usually do not cover procedures considered cosmetic, including sclerotherapy. Our insurance coordinator will assist you in determining which procedures are covered under your plan and receiving the appropriate treatment pre-authorizations.

Is my age a factor in determining my candidacy for the procedure?

  • Age alone is not a factor. The most important step in determining if the procedure is right for you is a complete ultrasound examination.

Does the procedure require anesthesia?

  • No general anesthesia is required. In some cases, your physician will give you a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area.