What are Varicose Veins?
It is estimated that more than 80 million Americans suffer from some form of venous disorder. Varicose veins are abnormal and unwanted veins that vary in size, from small spider veins that commonly occur on the legs, face and other areas to larger, bulging varicose veins that occur on the legs. In addition to the cosmetic concerns, these veins cause aching, itching, throbbing, leg fatigue and heaviness, night cramps and ankle swelling. Moreover, severe varicose veins can compromise circulation and the oxygenation & nutrient supply to the skin, leading to eczema, inflammation or even ulceration of the lower leg.
How do Varicose Veins actually form?
Veins contain one-way valves that channel blood against gravity in one direction back to the heart. If the valves don’t function properly, the veins become congested with blood at increased pressure. This pressure damages the relatively weak vein walls producing malfunctioning ‘feeder veins’ and symptoms.
What causes Varicose Veins?
There are a number of factors contributing to the development of varicose and spider veins including heredity, age, gender, pregnancy, lifestyle and standing occupations. Both men and women can develop varicosities; women tend to have a greater occurrence due to hormonal factors and pregnancy. A sedentary lifestyle or occupation obesity, and prolonged standing are common causes.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are the thread-like colored veins most often seen on the surface of the skin. Spider veins occur most commonly in the legs but are often seen in the face and elsewhere. These spider veins (medically referred to as telangiectasias) will never worsen to the point where they will become the large bulging varicose veins. Many women develop spider veins or telangiectasias of the legs during pregnancy. Others are caused by hormone therapy and sometimes from trauma or injury. Whatever the cause, the result is an unsightly area of red to blue-black vessels on the surface of the skin.
Do Varicose Veins serve any purpose?
In the vast majority of cases, the answer is no. In fact, they are dysfunctional veins. Getting rid of them is not harmful. When these veins are eliminated, the legs usually feel lighter and more energetic due to the improved circulation. The blood flow has been rerouted to stronger and healthier veins.
What can be done to prevent Varicosities?
Maintaining a normal weight, active lifestyle, limiting the use of external female hormones, and wearing supportive stockings may help limit the progression of new varicosities.
What happens if they remain untreated?
Smaller abnormal veins may increase in both size and number. Complications may include: thrombophlebitis (blood clots), spontaneous bleeding and ulcers.
Do Spider Veins ever come back?
Patients can enjoy healthier, more attractive, pain-free legs. The treated veins usually do not come back but, because varicose vein disease can sometimes be a chronic condition, no treatment-not even surgery-can stop new veins from forming in the future. However, the initial treatment is so thorough, any new veins tend to be less severe and are easily dealt with. Simple touch-up treatments can help you enjoy your life free from problem veins. Dr. Vaughan offers, vein checks, at no charge after treatment is completed.
My spider veins have been treated before but they keep coming back. Why?
The underlying cause of the spider veins may be a “feeder” vein that lies under the skin. When a visible spider vein is treated, the problem might temporarily disappear but the source of the problem hasn’t been treated. So, with time, the original veins will return and new spiders may form.
What are treatment options?
Treatment options include surgery, laser methods, traditional and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy to name a few. We prefer the Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy technique due to its safety, effectiveness, tolerability, and speed in resolving symptoms.
What is Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy?
Ultrasound Guided (USG) Sclerotherapy is an in-office procedure that employs the use of ultrasound to visualize the causative vein so that the physician can deliver and monitor the injection precisely. This allows the doctor to treat the root of the problem, not just the visual symptoms. Several treatments are usually necessary and no “down time” from everyday work, home or most sporting activities is required. Patients are encouraged to remain active.
What is the procedure for “USG” Sclerotherapy?
Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy is a relatively painless procedure performed in the doctor’s office and does not require any anesthesia or “down time”. Following treatments, patients may resume normal daily activity and are encouraged to stay active. This in-office alternative to surgical stripping is done using injections. The doctor visually monitors the improper functioning valve(s) and vein(s) on an ultrasound screen identifying their locations, which enables treatment to the source. These veins are often referred to as incompetent or ‘feeder” veins.
What procedures are used for these options?
Briefly, they are: surgical intervention such as Ligation (tying off of the vein), Stripping (removal of a long segment of vein by pulling it out with a special instrument), and Ambulatory Phlebectomy (removal of veins through tiny incisions).
Another form of treatment is Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) (pulses of laser light delivered inside the vein). Also, Radio Frequency Occlusion (a catheter delivers radio frequency energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat) as an alternative to vein stripping.
The above-mentioned treatments may require different types of anesthesia, such as local, spinal or general. The last treatment option is conventional Sclerotherapy (injections into small red, blue or purple veins on the surface of the skin).
However, unlike Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy, the aforementioned treatments will treat the present problem but not the source of the problem.
Does it hurt and are there side effects?
Our skill and experience make the treatment virtually pain-free. We use FDA-approved medications. Side effects are possible with any procedure or medication but, compared to traditional hospital surgery for veins, serious side effects are rare with our advanced techniques.
What results can you expect?
With the evaluation and treatment methods available today, spider and varicose veins can be treated at a level of effectiveness and safety previously unattainable. The success of treatment depends in part on careful assessment of the problem by a knowledgeable phlebologist.
What are your fees and does insurance cover the cost?
Above all else, we at Vein Center of Westlake Village are committed to providing you with expert medical care. And while we never attempt to distinguish ourselves solely based on cost, we fully understand that affordability is important to our patients. At the time of your consultation, we will explain the cost that you can expect for treatment. Some of the cost may be paid by insurance. *** For your convenience, we accept Cash, Check, Visa, Master Card, and American Express.
*** We at Vein Center of Westlake Village do not accept ANY insurance. We do offer to all our patients, the necessary documentation, to submit for reimbursement from their insurance provider.