Common Questions - Varicose Veins Treatment and Spider Vein Treatment | Vascare

Common Questions

Browse F.A.Q. Topics

Conditions

  • What about cosmetic treatments?
    An ultrasound is performed to determine if you have underlying venous insufficiency. If the underlying veins and valves are normal, then we can proceed to treat the spider veins with sclerotherapy, a microinjection procedure that involves the injection of a sterile solution (sclerosing solution) into the small veins using a very fine, thin needle. This solution irritates the vein lining causing it to undergo fibrosis and close. The closed vein eventually fades into surrounding tissues. Multiple veins can be injected at each session. Most spider veins will require more than one treatment session to achieve the best results.
  • What is sclerotherapy?
    Sclerotherapy treatment is a minimally invasive procedure for treating spider veins, reticular veins and smaller varicose veins. A chemical agent (sclerosant) is injected into the vein, which damages the vein wall and causes it to close down. As a result, blood that had been pooling in the diseased vein is re-routed back to the heart through healthy veins.
  • I had vein stripping in my leg years ago and my symptoms are back. What do I do now?
    In the past, vein stripping of the saphenous vein was a common procedure for treating varicose veins. It is typical to see varicose veins return after the procedure. An ultrasound examination can show exactly what has been done in the past and can determine which veins are now causing problems. In these situations, the Venefit radiofrequency thermal ablation procedure works well for treating varicose veins that have returned.
  • What are venous leg ulcers?
    Venous ulcers are open, non-healing sores that occur most frequently on the ankle and shin area. These painful sores, which can range from small to large and may drain or ooze fluid, represent the most severe stage of venous disease. Venous ulcers require immediate medical attention.
  • What are spider veins?
    Spider veins (telangiectasias) are a mesh of tiny, dilated veins near the surface of the skin that are less than one millimeter in diameter. They typically look like a spider web, which is how they get their name. Spider veins are often, but not always, considered to be a cosmetic problem.
  • What are varicose veins?
    Venous disease can cause dilated, or enlarged, varicose veins that look like blue or purple twisted ropes and bulge on the surface of the skin. Varicose veins are equal to or greater than three millimeters in diameter and can be associated with serious chronic venous disease.
  • What are the signs and symptoms of venous disease?
    Venous disease may result in a variety of symptoms, or signs, including skin irritation (itching or burning), leg swelling, pain and aching, fatigue, heavy or restless legs, and leg cramps. Signs may or may not include abnormal-looking veins, such as varicose veins that bulge on the surface of the skin, loss of hair on the lower legs and ankles, discoloration of the skin, redness, or irritation in the ankle and lower leg. The most severe sign of chronic vein disease is an open sore in the ankle or lower leg area.
  • What is venous reflux?
    Venous reflux is a condition that allows blood to flow backwards in a vein and pool, which creates increased venous pressure and can lead to a variety of venous disease conditions. Venous reflux is typically caused by abnormalities in the vein wall, damage to the tiny one-way valves inside veins that control the flow of blood (valvular incompetence), or both.
  • What is venous disease?
    Venous disease describes a variety of morphologic and/or functional abnormalities affecting the veins of the legs and is the underlying cause of spider veins, varicose veins, and chronic venous disease conditions like skin discoloration, leg swelling, and venous ulcers. Learn more here
  • What are the functions of veins?
    Veins transport blood from various regions of the body back to the heart.
  • Don’t I need all of my veins to get blood from the legs back to my heart?
    The veins we treat are not providing effective return of blood to the heart. You have many veins in your legs that will function appropriately almost instantly after the diseased veins are closed.
  • Is chronic venous disease a serious condition that needs to be treated?
    In many cases, chronic venous disease is serious and needs to be treated. Spider veins may only be classified as a cosmetic problem, but varicose veins, skin discoloration, swelling legs, and venous ulcers can be serious, medically necessary conditions.

Payment

  • What forms of payment do you accept?
    For charges not covered by insurance, VasCare accepts cash, checks, major credit cards and CareCredit.
  • What is CareCredit? Do you accept CareCredit?
    If you need help with out of pocket expenses related to your co-pay or deductible, cosmetic treatments, or medically necessary treatments not covered or only partially covered by your health insurance, VasCare participates in CareCredit. CareCredit offers you and your family a revolving line of credit to help finance the cost of medical expenses.  The approval process is quick and easy and most patients are able to obtain interest free financing for the first 12 months.
  • Is vein treatment affordable? Will my insurance cover treating varicose veins?
    Nearly all insurance providers, including Medicare, cover medically necessary treatments for chronic venous disease.  VasCare has developed managed care contracts with most major health insurance plans and networks. Your initial consultation at VasCare will be billed to your insurance and you will typically be responsible for the normal co-pay or coinsurance required for a specialist office visit and ultrasound (if needed). Your initial consultation will involve an examination, ultrasound of your leg veins (if needed), discussion of treatment options, and a review of your health insurance benefits. The dedicated staff at VasCare will help you maximize your insurance benefits and help you with CareCredit if you need financial assistance.

Treatment

  • What can I expect after my procedure?
    The day of the procedure, you may have some pinkish fluid that leaks from your leg. This is the tumescent anesthesia fluid (sterile saline and lidocaine) that has been injected around the vein during the procedure. You will most likely feel “knots” on your legs after the procedure. These are simply the closed veins; once a vein is closed it becomes hard and cordlike. Some inflammation is also common. A certain percentage of patients will experience bruising. This is most likely a result of the tumescent fluid infusion. The bruising usually resolves in a few days. Minor bruising is also common at the injection sites. You may also experience a pulling or tugging sensation on the inner area of your thigh for the first five to seven days while the treated vein continues to shrink.
  • How many procedures will I need?
    During your initial visit, you will be examined for common signs associated with venous disease.  If signs exist, you will be given a detailed diagnostic ultrasound. This will allow your physician to determine exactly which veins need to be treated. The physician will then discuss the treatment options with you to form a treatment plan. The timing and extent of the treatment plan will be discussed to address your specific needs.
  • What if I need to contact the office after hours or on the weekend?
    After hours, the office number will be answered by an answering service that will direct your call to the designated on-call person. We encourage our patients not to hesitate to call with any questions or concerns.
  • How long after the procedures do I need to wear compression stockings?
    Compression stockings should be worn continuously for the first 48 hours after a procedure and then during the day for the next two weeks.
  • What about cosmetic treatments?
    An ultrasound is performed to determine if you have underlying venous insufficiency. If the underlying veins and valves are normal, then we can proceed to treat the spider veins with sclerotherapy, a microinjection procedure that involves the injection of a sterile solution (sclerosing solution) into the small veins using a very fine, thin needle. This solution irritates the vein lining causing it to undergo fibrosis and close. The closed vein eventually fades into surrounding tissues. Multiple veins can be injected at each session. Most spider veins will require more than one treatment session to achieve the best results.
  • What is ambulatory phlebectomy?
    The ambulatory phlebectomy procedure is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for treating severe cases of venous disease. With phlebectomy, diseased veins are physically removed. Ambulatory phlebectomy is usually performed in conjunction with radiofrequency endovenous thermal ablation. As with other procedures, blood that had been pooling in the vein will then travel back to the heart through healthy veins.
  • What is conservative therapy?
    Conservative therapy is vital part of treating varicose veins and other venous disease conditions. Conservative therapy involves compression stockings, exercise, weight loss, and leg elevation.
  • What is Foam Sclerotherapy?
    Foam sclerotherapy treatment is a minimally invasive procedure used with larger varicose veins that require treatment. A chemical agent (sclerosant) is prepared as a foam to maximize contact with the vein wall. The foam is injected into the vein and damages the vein wall, causing it to close down. Blood that had been pooling in the vein and unable to return to the heart is re-routed through healthy veins.
  • What is sclerotherapy?
    Sclerotherapy treatment is a minimally invasive procedure for treating spider veins, reticular veins and smaller varicose veins. A chemical agent (sclerosant) is injected into the vein, which damages the vein wall and causes it to close down. As a result, blood that had been pooling in the diseased vein is re-routed back to the heart through healthy veins.
  • I had vein stripping in my leg years ago and my symptoms are back. What do I do now?
    In the past, vein stripping of the saphenous vein was a common procedure for treating varicose veins. It is typical to see varicose veins return after the procedure. An ultrasound examination can show exactly what has been done in the past and can determine which veins are now causing problems. In these situations, the Venefit radiofrequency thermal ablation procedure works well for treating varicose veins that have returned.
  • What happens to the treated vein in my leg?
    Over time, the vein will simply shrink and become fibrous tissue. Depending on the initial size of the vein, some treated veins cannot be seen on ultrasound at the one-year follow up.
  • What can I expect after my procedure? How soon will my symptoms improve?
    Over time, the vein will simply shrink and become fibrous tissue. Depending on the initial size of the vein, some treated veins cannot be seen on ultrasound at the one-year follow up. Most patients experience improvement of symptoms within days and weeks of the procedure.
  • Is the Venefit procedure painful? Will I have pain during or after the procedure?
    Local or regional anesthetic is used during the procedure and most patients report feeling little or no pain during the procedure. In our experience utilizing the Venefit procedure very few of our patients experience significant post-operative pain. In a published study in the Journal of Vascular Surgery, by Poebstle et al., patients evaluated post-procedural pain on a scale of zero (no pain) to 10 (worst possible pain) and 70.1 percent of patients experienced no pain in their legs at any time after the procedure.
  • Do I need to stop my blood thinners or other medications before the procedure?
    No. In fact, we give certain patients an injection of Lovenox just before the procedure to help offset their risks for developing a deep vein thrombisis. Any other medications can usually be continued.
  • How long does the Venefit procedure take?
    Venefit Targeted Endovenous Therapy takes about 45–60 minutes to perform. Including pre-treatment and post-treatment preparations, patients can expect to spend approximately two hours at our facility.
  • How effective is the Venefit procedure?
    In a large, multi-center study, the Venefit procedure was found to be 93 percent effective over three years. Most patients report improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks following the procedure.
  • What is the Venefit procedure?
    Venefit Targeted Endovenous Therapy is a type of minimally invasive radiofrequency endovenous thermal ablation that uses a thin, flexible catheter to heat diseased veins, shrink them, and seal them shut. As a result, blood that had been pooling in diseased veins is re-routed back to the heart through healthy veins.
  • What medical treatments are available for vein disease?
    The different conditions related to venous disease are subject to a variety of venous disease treatments, including conservative therapy, sclerotherapy, foam sclerotherapy, radiofrequency endovenouos thermal ablation, and/or phlebectomy.
  • Why VasCare for treating varicose veins and chronic venous disease?
    VasCare clinics are advanced medical healthcare facilities staffed by board-certified and specialty-trained  expert physicians and nurses with extensive experience in diagnosing and treating varicose veins and chronic venous disease. At VasCare, healthy legs are our specialty.
  • What do I need to remember the day of my procedure?
    On the day of your procedure you will want to dress comfortably, take your normal prescribed and over-the-counter medications, and eat as you normally would. Remember to wear your prescription stockings to the office; we may reapply these after the procedure. Also, you will need to arrange for someone to drive you home.
  • What are the risks associated with my procedure?
    As with any procedure, risks are a reality. Bleeding, blood clot formation, nerve damage, infection, and pain are rare, but possible.
  • What kind of results should I expect?
    Once the diseased veins are closed, the symptoms the closed veins were causing will decrease or disappear over several weeks.
  • What is the recovery time?
    Recovery time depends on the procedure and the patient. However, for the procedures performed at VasCare, which are all minimally invasive, patients are able to walk in and walk out. Most patients return to work the next day.
  • Where will my procedure take place?
    The procedure is performed in our comfortable outpatient offices. You walk in and walk out.
  • What if I need my leg veins for a heart bypass or leg artery bypass?
    The veins we treat have failed and would not be appropriate for use as a bypass graft on the heart or in the legs.
  • Is chronic venous disease a serious condition that needs to be treated?
    In many cases, chronic venous disease is serious and needs to be treated. Spider veins may only be classified as a cosmetic problem, but varicose veins, skin discoloration, swelling legs, and venous ulcers can be serious, medically necessary conditions.