Your Questions Answered

Your questions answered

Fox Valley Vein Centers - Your questions answered

  • How does Fox Valley Vein Centers treat varicose veins?
  • 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.

  • How do you treat spider veins versus 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.

  • What exactly are varicose veins compared to spider veins?
  • 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.

  • Can I have both varicose veins and spider veins?
  • Indeed, you may have both medical conditions at the same time. Spider veins are not varicose veins, but can be an indication of underlying varicose veins.

  • How can I tell if my problem veins are cosmetic or not?
  • 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.

    • Discoloration
    • Pain
    • Swelling
    • Tired legs
    • Throbbing
    • Ulcers
  • Does Fox Valley Vein Centers perform vein procedures on men as well as women?
  • Yes, we treat men on a regular basis. While the vast majority of people suffering from vein conditions are women, many men also experience varicose vein and spider vein problems.

  • How does endovenous ablation work?
  • 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.

  • Is endovenous ablation painful?
  • 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.

  • How long until my legs will look great again after endovenous ablation?
  • 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.

  • Will there be scars on my legs after endovenous ablation?
  • No. The incisions are very small. No stitches are required and bleeding is minimal.

  • Does the Sclerotherapy procedure hurt?
  • Not really. Some patients describe an itching sensation which lasts for a few minutes, but that’s usually it.

  • Will my spider veins disappear right away after Sclerotherapy?
  • No. The discoloration fades over time with optimal results being seen in 3-6 months.

  • What will my recovery time be after Sclerotherapy?
  • You can resume normal activity in 24 hours, but vigorous exercise should be avoided for 1–2 weeks.

  • Will my spider veins come back after Sclerotherapy?
  • Treated spider veins will not return, but new ones can form at any time.

  • Can varicose veins and CVI be prevented?
  • For mild forms of venous disease, lifestyle changes may be recommended to control existing symptoms and prevent others. The following measures may help control varicose veins and CVI:

    • Manage blood pressure and body weight
    • Exercise regularly, focusing on exercises that work your legs (run or walk)
    • Elevate your legs whenever possible
    • Avoid prolonged standing or sitting
    • Avoid clothes that are tight around the waist, thighs or legs
    • Strengthen calf muscles and avoid shoes that limit use of calf muscles (i.e., high heels)
    • Eat a diet low in salt and rich in high-fiber foods

    Since varicose veins cannot always be prevented, it is important to talk to a vein specialist about treatment options before the condition progresses into CVI or symptoms worsen.

  • What is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI)?
  • 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.

  • Will my insurance cover varicose vein treatment?
  • 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.

  • Will my insurance cover Sclerotherapy for spider veins?
  • 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.

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