FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions About Vein Disease

Do you ever recommend the use of compression stockings?

Compression stockings are useful during recovery after a procedure, and in preventing blood clots while traveling. For patients who have major vein disease, stockings can provide relief of symptoms by about 50%. They don't treat the underlying cause of disease, but they can provide temporary help in relieving symptoms.

How can I be sure I have a vein problem?

Most people are able to recognize the beginning signs of vein disease on their own. Their legs ache, itch, feel heavy, or cramp. They may also have dilated veins, skin discoloration, swelling, or ulcers. Some people also have spider veins, varicose veins (bulging and blue) or larger veins under the skin which cause them some degree of discomfort.

What happens if I leave my veins untreated?

Vein disease never gets better untreated. It will only stay the same or get worse. If you have beginning signs of vein disease, it is best for you to consult with a vein specialist before complications develop.

Can leg swelling be treated at the Vascular Surgery Vein Program?

Our vascular surgeons are now able to identify patients whose swollen legs may be caused by narrowed veins, scarred veins, or blood clots. By utilizing balloons and stents, these problems can now be treated on an outpatient basis without incisions.

How will my vein disease be diagnosed and treated?

Each patient's vein disease is assessed and an individual plan for treatment is recommended. The diagnosis almost always requires a painless ultrasound exam (Doppler). This exam uses sound waves to "see" and evaluate all the veins in your leg. We offer recommendations for your vein problems that may be non-surgical or a minimally invasive procedure. Whatever the solution to your particular vein problem, it will be the least invasive treatment available. Treatment may involve newly developed thin supportive stockings, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy (vein injections), or same-day outpatient procedures involving minimal incisions using laser energy, microwave energy or light visualization and mini-scopes. The goals of these procedures are to improve cosmetic appearance, resolve symptoms, and minimize recurrence of vein disease with minimal discomfort and time.

What happens to blood flow after the diseased veins are treated?

The abnormal veins that were treated were not functioning correctly prior to treatment. They were the cause of your vein problem. Once the abnormal veins are resolved, blood is re-routed to your normally functioning veins. This further improves your symptoms.

Will treatment of my veins require many days away from work and other daily activities?

No. The expertise of our vein specialists who have pioneered the newest minimally invasive techniques for the treatment of vein disease allows us to provide expert treatment on an outpatient basis. You should be back to your daily routine within a few days.

What if I need the veins that were treated for heart or leg bypass surgery in the future?

Since the treated veins were diseased – weakened and dilated – they could not be used in a bypass procedure. Your other normal veins, however, can be used for heart or leg bypass surgery.

Are all vein procedures covered by insurance?

Most vein procedures are covered by insurance when medically necessary. Of course, any cosmetic treatments of your veins are usually not covered. Our vein specialists and staff can discuss this after initial consultation and evaluation of your specific problem.

Why choose the Vascular Surgery Vein Program?

Our patients benefit from the experience and expertise of our vein specialists, who are among the first in the United States to perform the most minimally invasive techniques. Our program has over 15 years of experience with all minimally invasive vein procedures, having developed and improved many of them. At the Vascular Surgery Vein Program we continue to be among the first in the country to evaluate and perform any new technology. Our patients get the latest techniques first.

In fact, our training sessions draw vascular surgeons from all parts of the United States and abroad who come here to learn our cutting-edge techniques. In addition, our leadership position in this field has already made it possible for our patients to benefit from early clinical trials of many new vein procedures. You are not only treated here, you are treated by the experts who teach others.

FAQs About Minimally Invasive Vein Surgery

I've heard that in the past most treatments involved general anesthesia, surgical incisions and long recovery times. Have things changed?

Yes, the nature of medicine is to continue to progress. In the last 10 years minimally invasive vein treatments have been developed with better results compared to "vein stripping." Our program has been involved since the mid 1990's with the development and teaching of most minimally invasive vein procedures. We continue to evaluate new devices, the most recent being ClariVein™.

What are some of the advantages of Minimally Invasive Vein Surgeries (MIVS)?

Most are performed with local anesthesia, maybe some mild sedation. None require general anesthesia. Procedure time is short 20-30 minutes and patients can walk out of the office or procedure room almost immediately. We encourage our patients to resume full activity the next day including exercise as tolerated. Post procedure pain in minimal and usually requires at most Extra Strength Tylenol, Motrin, Advil etc.

Are surgical incisions still necessary for the minimally invasive procedures?

Almost all procedures are performed through a small needle stick or incision measuring 2-3 millimeters. Usually no sutures (stitches) are required.

What are my options for minimally invasive vein surgery?

The options depend upon which veins are functioning abnormally as diagnosed with ultrasound (see diagnosis section). They may range from laser, radiofrequency, or chemical methods to the use of balloons or stents for bigger vein problems. Some of the procedure names are: Closure™, EVLT™, TriVex, Mini phlebectomy, PAPS, Sclerotherapy, etc.

How does the vein specialist (Phlebologist) decide which is the best option for my vein problems?

The veins in the leg consist of 3 types: superficial, perforator, and deep veins. The superficial veins are the ones you can see; spider veins, bulging varicose veins, reticular veins. The deep veins are the main veins and they are within your muscles. The perforating veins connect the superficial and deep veins. Treatment is determined according to which veins are abnormal and what you (the patient) want to accomplish.

How successful are treatments?

Most patient's feel they are at least 75-80% improved after treatment. We cannot achieve perfection but with the right option you will see and feel a very significant difference. If you are looking for perfection, perhaps you should reconsider any treatment. Setting goals and realistic expectations is part of the discussion with your Phlebologist.

What about treating blood clots?

The standard treatment for blood clots in your main vein is anticoagulation (blood thinners) and they are still used. However, there are new minimally invasive devices that dissolve the blood clots in a matter of hours or a day or so as compared to the months required with blood thinners alone. By dissolving the blood clot sooner the veins suffer less damage and function better in the future. If you develop a blood clot you should seek the expertise of a vein specialist to see if you are a candidate for early clot removal.

Why choose the Vascular Surgery Vein Program?

Our patients benefit from the experience and expertise of our vein specialists, who are among the first in the United States to perform the most minimally invasive techniques. Our program has over 15 years of experience with all minimally invasive vein procedures, having developed and improved many of them. At the Vascular Surgery Vein Program we continue to be among the first in the country to evaluate and perform any new technology. Our patients get the latest techniques first.

In fact, our training sessions draw vascular surgeons from all parts of the United States and abroad who come here to learn our cutting-edge techniques. In addition, our leadership position in this field has already made it possible for our patients to benefit from early clinical trials of many new vein procedures. You are not only treated here, you are treated by the experts who teach others.