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FAQs Vein Disease

Frequently Asked Questions About Vein Disease


WHAT ARE VARICOSE VEINS?

Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves in the superficial (saphenous) veins located in the lower extremities. Varicose veins form because the surface veins can’t drain and they back up and bulge. Most varicose vein problems found on the lower legs can cause, but are not limited to: aching, swelling, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, heaviness in the legs and ankle swelling. Clots can form within these veins due to slow blood flow if left untreated. The inflammation that results is called phlebitis.

 

When superficial thrombophlebitis develops, the clot area may become painful, hot, red and swollen. One of the serious reasons you should seek treatment early for your varicose veins is to prevent the possibility of developing phlebitis. In addition, long-term untreated varicose veins can also cause discoloration (brown or redness) of the ankle eventually leading to ulcers. Seek treatment early for your varicose veins to avoid any of these additional issues.  At AVI, Dr. Albert provides your initial complimentary consultation and will evaluate your level of vein disease if you are concerned about your varicose veins.

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WHAT ARE SPIDER VEINS?

Spider veins (telangiectasias) are the very small veins seen at the surface of the skin often appearing red or purple. These veins received their name because they often have the appearance of a spider web and can be seen on the legs or face. Spider veins are usually cosmetic in nature, unless they are associated with leg symptoms. If they are accompanied by: heaviness, itching, burning, tiredness, ankle swelling, restless leg, or cramps, the spider veins may be indicative of superficial venous disease. When spider veins are accompanied with leg symptoms, a non-invasive ultrasound is performed to evaluate the superficial system and determine if there is a more serious underlying vein condition.

 

Spider veins that are not accompanied by symptoms can be treated with either visual cosmetic sclerotherapy or topical surface laser. Sclerotherapy is the injection of a pharmacological solution into the vein to cause the vein to be reabsorbed by the body. You may need as little as one session or several depending upon the amount of spider veins that you have. Surface lasers are used on the smallest of spider veins and are the preferred method for facial veins.

 

WHY DO I NEED TO WEAR COMPRESSION STOCKINGS?

Compression stockings are often prescribed for patients with venous disease as a preliminary treatment to manage symptoms. It is important to note that compression stockings will NOT cure venous disease; the symptoms will return immediately when the stockings are removed. Many insurance carriers require that patients wear compression stockings for a pre-determined amount of time before they will consider covering a vein procedure. After your treatment at the Albert Vein Institute, you will be required to wear compression stockings for a short period of time to help speed the healing process.

 

MY TREATED SPIDER VEINS HAVE RETURNED-WHY?

If you have had your spider veins treated in the past, most sclerotherapy was done with a saline solution. Now, there are more sophisticated solutions that have higher efficacy and a longer-term result. That being said, ALL spider veins can reappear throughout the years, and touch-up treatments may be needed for your legs to continue to look their best. A recurrence of spider veins, along with heaviness, pain, itching, and/or swelling may be indicative of superficial venous disease.

 

I HAVE A PREVIOUS DEEP VENOUS THROMBOSIS (DVT). ARE THERE ANY THERAPIES THAT CAN BE OFFERED TO ME, OTHER THAN COMPRESSION STOCKINGS?

Patients who have a history of DVT should be evaluated by Dr. Albert to determine the cause of their symptoms. Symptoms can be caused by DVT, a superficial problem or a combination of both. These patients are potential candidates for treatment of the superficial component of their symptoms. Appropriate treatment decisions are determined by complete venous ultrasonography and possibly venography (dye study of veins). Evaluation and treatment of these cases can be highly complex; it is recommended that patients seek diagnosis ONLY from doctors and/or facilities with an exclusive focus on the treatment of venous disease.

 

I HAVE HAD PREVIOUS VEIN STRIPPING / OTHER VEIN PROCEDURES, AND THE VARICOSE VEINS HAVE RETURNED. ARE THERE ANY TREATMENT OPTIONS FOR ME?

Albert Vein Institute frequently sees patients who have previously had different kinds of unsuccessful vein therapies. Many routine therapies, including laser, radio frequency, microphlebectomy, and ultrasund-guided injection therapies, may be applicable for patients who have had previous procedures. The key to successful treatment is to identify the source of the problem, and utilize appropriate treatments to address the recurrence. A skilled venous ultrasound examination is essential for identifying the cause of the recurrence. Once the root cause is identified, James D. Albert, M.D. RPVI, and his team will develop a plan to treat the underlying problem and prevent future recurrence.

 

DOES MY INSURANCE COVER THE PROCEDURE?

Albert Vein Institute is a participating provider with many private insurance companies and Medicare. We have a professional authorization team that will work with all of our contracted insurance carriers. We will research your insurance for you, so don’t worry if you don’t know the details about your particular plan.