We typically treat varicose veins using radiofrequency ablation since the procedure can be easier on the patient, though in some situations endovenous laser therapy may be a better fit. Both treatments can be performed in our office versus a hospital. In some cases ablation isn't possible, so we also use Ambulatory Phlebectomy and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy to treat varicose veins.
Here at FVC, we treat spider veins with a treatment called Sclerotherapy, which has been the accepted standard for many years. A liquid FDA-approved "sclerosing" agent is injected into the small diseased veins, irritating the vessel wall and causing it to close over time.
Varicose and spider veins are very different vein conditions although people, understandably, sometimes get them confused.
Varicose veins are enlarged, bulging, often twisted, purple or blue colored veins most commonly on legs or feet – and caused by poorly functioning valves. Typical symptoms often include “ropey” cord-like veins that are swollen above the surface of the skin, pain, heaviness or tiredness in legs, swelling of ankles or lower legs, skin discoloration and dryness around ankles.
Spider veins are a less serious medical condition than varicose veins. Spider veins are tiny purple or red blood vessels located in the skin of the leg near the surface. They appear as tiny branching lines that, at times, can resemble a spider’s web; hence the name.
The only sure way to know is to have a diagnostic ultrasound done in our office. You will be scanned to see if you have reflux in your deeper veins.
Venous Reflux is the term that describes what happens when the valves in the veins grow weak or damaged and lose the ability to regulate the direction of blood flow. When blood “leaks” down past a bad valve, it is called reflux. Reflux causes blood to pool in the leg veins as opposed to moving upward toward the heart.
If you have reflux accompanied by any of the following symptoms you have a medical condition.
A catheter is inserted into the varicose vein through a tiny puncture in the skin. The procedure does not actually remove the affected vein but seals it. Once permanently closed, blood is prevented from pooling in the vein, which effectively eliminates the varicose vein.
No, the procedure does not cause pain. Afterwards, patients may experience mild discomfort, bruising or swelling in the thigh of the affected leg which can last only about a week. Typically, only an anti-inflammatory is prescribed to minimize the discomfort and no other medications are needed.
The time frame can vary, depending on the severity of your condition, but patients are usually pleased with the way their legs look within a couple of months of completing treatment. Keep in mind, you may need multiple treatments to correct different diseased vessels.
CVI is a progressive medical condition in which the valves that carry blood from the legs to the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs and veins to swell. Healthy leg veins are designed to allow blood to flow against gravity from the legs back toward the heart. Tiny valves inside the veins open and close to help control the flow and pressure.
CVI occurs when stresses on the venous system like pregnancy, age or standing for long periods of time weaken and stretch the vein structure. When the veins become weakened or diseased, the blood flow is obstructed and blood pools in the legs. This impaired blood flow (or reflux) causes veins to expand, lose form and protrude from beneath the skin.
Yes, if you meet certain criteria. Most insurance plans require "conservative therapy" which can consist of several different factors including compression therapy, leg elevation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, exercise and diet changes. Here at FVC, we do our very best to comply with the guidelines given by all insurance carriers.
When very specific, strict criteria are met, some insurance carriers may pay for Sclerotherapy. But in the vast majority of the cases, it is considered a cosmetic procedure and therefore not a covered benefit in most health plans.