Varicose Vein FAQs

Varicose Vein FAQs are questions that we frequently hear patients ask.  We post these questions and answers to provide greater understanding about the symptoms, identification and treatment procedures for Varicose Veins.  We hope you will contact us if you have a question that we have not covered in this list.  We are always happy to help.  Thank you for visiting our website!  We hope you are finding it helpful.

Varicose Veins

What causes varicose veins?

Heredity is the leading cause of varicose veins and this condition will often affect multiple family members. Other factors include certain life events such as pregnancies, trauma to the legs from accidents or surgery, and jobs that require long periods of standing or sitting.

Are varicose veins and spider veins dangerous?

In addition to pain and the impact on quality of life, varicose veins will not get better on their own. In fact, they will get worse over time. If varicose veins are left untreated there is a risk of darkening of the skin, chronic swelling and difficult to treat wounds called venous stasis ulcers. Ignored, it may also lead to a condition called stasis dermatitis that often causes a red rash on the legs and the skin may become shiny, hairless and develop brownish discolored areas. Spider veins are rarely a serious health problem, but they can produce uncomfortable feelings in the legs.

Does vein disease affect women and men equally?

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 50 to 55 percent of women and 40 to 45 percent of men in the United States suffer from some type of vein problem. Varicose veins affect half of people 50 years and older.

When should I see a vein care specialist?

If you have unsightly rope-like bulges that can be seen on the skin, with symptoms that include pain, aching, cramping, itching, burning, swelling, heaviness, tiredness, fatigue and restlessness in the legs, then you should seek treatment. Many times these symptoms will be worse at the end of the day or after periods of prolonged standing. These symptoms may decrease mobility and impact activities of daily living including the ability to exercise or even play with children or grandchildren.

How can I tell if I need treatment?

A vein care specialist can evaluate your symptoms to determine your course of treatment. If you are suffering from a decrease in mobility and your daily activities are limited by your veins, you should see a vein care specialist.

How are varicose veins diagnosed?

A Duplex Doppler Ultrasound exam evaluates the veins inside the leg and is the only way to accurately diagnosis venous reflux. The results of these ultrasound exams are combined with information from a thorough physical exam and medical history to give the physician a complete picture of the venous system as a whole.

What happens during a physician consultation?

The results of these ultrasound exams are combined with the information from a thorough physical exam and medical history to give the physician a complete picture of the venous system as a whole and the patient a clear understanding of their condition. This allows a treatment plan tailored to the unique needs of each patient. Ultrasound is also used throughout the treatment process to assess the success of each procedure and the patient’s response to treatment.

What is sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy involves using a very small needle to inject a medication called sclerosant directly into the vein. For larger veins that are below the surface of the leg, the physician will use ultrasound to visualize the veins to be treated and guide injections. Smaller veins on the very surface of the leg will be treated by the nurse or physician without the use of ultrasound. The sclerosant causes the lining of the vein to swell until the vessel is sealed shut. These collapsed veins will then be dissolved and reabsorbed by the body.

What happens to my vein after it has been treated?

After sclerotherapy, collapsed veins will then be dissolved and reabsorbed by the body. Patients will usually have some bruising for about a week after treatment and some minor aching in the treated leg for 24-48 hours after treatment. With Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) treatment, there may be some minor discomfort, tightness or pressure in the leg during the procedure which seals veins shut with lasers.

Will I need to be hospitalized or take time off work?

All treatment is done in the office with local anesthetic and produces minimum discomfort for the patient. Because treatments are minimally invasive, patients are able to drive, return to work and resume most of their normal activities the same day as or the day after treatment.