What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are superficial veins (veins close to the surface) in the legs that have developed bulging walls from pooling blood due to defective, damaged, or diseased valves. Normally blood flows in one direction in a vein, but when a valve isn’t working properly, the blood flows in both directions, called venous reflux. It is a common problem. Almost half of all women will develop varicose veins. The numbers aren’t quite as high for men, but men do get varicose veins.
Many people do not seek treatment for varicose veins due to a belief that varicose veins are a cosmetic issue only.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
There are several symptoms of varicose veins other than the unsightly and puffy vein trails on the thighs and lower legs. These are:
- Swelling & Heaviness
- Pain & Tenderness
- Skin Discoloration
What are my varicose vein treatment options?
There are a variety of treatment options for varicose veins. Your individual treatment options will be dependent on the type of varicose vein and how advanced it is. You can expect one or more of the following treatments:
Custom Fitted Compression Stockings
Unlike store bought compression stockings, you are measured for a perfect fit. They provide relief from mild varicose vein pain and other symptoms.
EndoVenous Laser Ablation
Performed in office using local anesthesia (Lidocaine), a diode laser fiber is inserted into the affected vein. The laser energy seals off the vein with very little to no scarring and a short recovery. Recovery includes wearing a compression stocking for seven days and nights following the procedure, but you can resume normal activity immediately.
Endovenous laser treatment is one of our most used treatments for varicose veins. It has a very short recovery period. In fact, you should be up and walking immediately following the procedure and your leg only needs to stay wrapped up for 24 hours. Most people experience very little, if any, pain.
You will need to follow up with the doctor in one to three weeks for an ultrasound of the vein to verify that the vein closed.
Sometimes veins do not close after EndoVenous Laser Treatment. When this happens, sclerotherapy is used to close any remaining varicose veins, often immediately following the EndoVenous Treatment. It may take three to five treatments to achieve desired results.
Schlerotherapy is performed in office. During schlerotherapy, an injected solution flushes red blood cells from the vein. There may be a slight stinging sensation for approximately 20-30 seconds after the injection. You may even feel a slight cramping feeling. The flushing creates an inflammatory reaction that causes fibrous tissue to form and close off the vein.
Performed in office, this treatment consists of closing veins by injecting a solution into the vein. It is performed the same day or soon after EndoVenous Laser Ablation, usually over three to five treatment sessions.
Ninety percent of patients will see improvement after schlerotherapy treatment.
The varicose vein is surgically removed under general anesthesia and requires up to four weeks of recovery.
Are untreated varicose veins dangerous?
Although many people think of varicose treatment as more cosmetic than medical, treatment of varicose veins is important for your health. Not only will you look better, but you’ll feel better, too. Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to serious problems, including:
- Increase in number of varicose veins
- Increased enlargement of existing varicose veins
- Varicose vein ulcers (open sores over the affected vein)
- Hyperpigmentation and eczema
- Bleeding of the vein
- Chronic swelling of the legs
- Phlebitis (inflammation of a vein)
- Thrombosis (blood clots in a vein)
Will insurance cover varicose vein treatment?
Most insurances do cover varicose vein treatment. As we’ve already established, varicose vein treatment is so much more than a cosmetic procedure. Left untreated, varicose veins can lead to serious health problems, such as swelling, ulcers, inflammation, blood clots, and even infection.
If, for some reason, your insurance does not cover treatment for varicose veins, WV Vein and Skin Centers offers discounts to self-pay patients, as well as Care Credit financing.
Varicose Vein Specialist in WV
Contact My VeinCare today for an initial consultation with a vein specialist for varicose vein treatment.
Charleston, WV Office: 304-926-1001
(Located in Kanawha City. Providing treatment to Cross Lanes, Dunbar, Nitro, South Charleston, St. Albans, and surrounding cities in the Greater Charleston area.)
Beckley, WV Office: 304-252-3900
(Providing treatment to the Greater Beckley area, including Lester, Mabscott, Rhodell, and Sophia.)
Varicose Vein Diagram © Blausen Medical Communications, Inc. (Donated via OTRS, see ticket for details) [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons