NCMA Vein Center FAQs
How do you know when you need vein treatment?
The presence of a few common symptoms in your lower extremities could indicate you should be evaluated for vein treatment. Some of these symptoms include:
- prominent veins or varicose veins
- leg pain or aching
- spontaneous bleeding from veins
- non-healing ulcers
If you have one or more of these symptoms and they do not improve, that’s a good indicator you may benefit from evaluation and testing by a vein specialist for proper treatment. Most venous conditions can now be treated by in-office procedures that are non-surgical.
What are the different types of vein procedures?
There are several different kinds of procedures for venous diseases depending on the underlying condition and severity of your symptoms. Common vein procedures include:
- VNUS Closure (radio frequency vein ablation)
- Venaseal Closure (non-thermal adhesive treatment)
- ambulatory phlebectomy
- endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), and more.
Your physician will discuss the best treatment options for venous diseases and will work with you to create a plan to help you achieve your most successful outcome.
Are varicose veins and spider veins the same?
While varicose veins and spider veins often have the same cause, there are differences between them. Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They can be seen and felt right under the surface of the skin. Varicose veins usually occur in the legs and feet. They can cause a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, swelling or skin discoloration in affected areas.
Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that also twist and turn. Like varicose veins, spider veins are easily visible through the skin. Generally, spider veins are smaller and thinner than varicose veins and appear directly under the skin surface. Spider veins are sometimes also referred to as telangiectasias, or sunburst varicosities.
Do you treat spider veins at NCMA Vein Center?
Depending on the underlying condition and your symptoms we may be able to offer medically necessary treatment of spider veins.
What is venous reflux?
Venous reflux develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. This can cause blood to pool in your legs and lead to symptoms such as:
- leg heaviness and fatigue,
- skin changes and skin ulcers, and
- varicose veins.
How bad can venous reflux get?
Venous reflux can cause a range of symptoms in patients, all the way from no or minimal symptoms to severe problems such as chronic skin changes, thrombophlebitis, spontaneous venous hemorrhage and non-healing leg ulcers. Without proper treatment, venous reflux can become debilitating; however, with proper evaluation and targeted treatment, many patients can experience dramatic symptom relief.
What treatment options are available for venous reflux?
NCMA Vein Center offers several treatment options for venous reflux / insufficiency depending on your disease severity and anatomy. One popular treatment is radiofrequency ablation (also known as Venefit or VNUS Closure). It is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that leaves minimal scarring at the puncture site. A small tube (less than 2 mm) is inserted into the insufficient vein, which delivers radiofrequency energy to heat the vein from the inside causing your body to form a natural scar reaction to close the vein. Your leg is typically wrapped in a compression dressing for about 48 hours to ensure the scar reaction is complete. Like all procedures we offer at NCMA Vein Center, this is typically done in the office using only local anesthesia, and does not require a hospital stay. Most patients find that the procedure is nearly painless, and the vast majority of patients are back to their usual routine by the next day.
A newer minimally invasive treatment option called Venaseal is also available through NCMA Vein Center. In this procedure an adhesive is delivered through a small tube (less than 2 mm) directly into the insufficient vein to cause immediate closure. The procedure is also done under local anesthesia, typically performed in the office and in most cases takes half an hour or less to complete. Patients can return to work immediately and do not require use of post-procedure compression stockings, unlike radiofrequency ablation.
Varicose vein frequent questions
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are large, raised, swollen blood vessels that twist and turn. They can be seen and felt right under the surface of the skin. Varicose veins usually occur in the legs and feet. They can cause a feeling of heaviness, discomfort, swelling or skin discoloration in affected areas.
Varicose veins are a fairly common condition in the U.S., affecting around 23 percent of all Americans, according to WebMD. For many the condition is a family trait. If other family members have varicose veins there is a greater chance you will, too. Women are twice as likely as men to get varicose veins.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Varicose veins look dark blue, swollen, and twisted under the skin. Some people do not have any symptoms. Mild symptoms may include:
- Heaviness, burning, aching, tiredness, or pain in your legs. Symptoms may be worse after you stand or sit for long periods of time.
- Swelling in your feet and ankles.
- Itching over the vein.
More serious symptoms include:
- Leg swelling.
- Swelling and calf pain after you sit or stand for long periods of time.
- Skin changes, such as:
- Color changes.
- Dry, thinned skin.
- Open sores, or you may bleed after a minor injury.
Varicose veins are common and usually aren’t a sign of a serious problem. But in some cases, varicose veins can be a sign of a blockage in the deeper veins called deep vein thrombosis. If you have this problem, you may need treatment for it.
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
Your NCMA Vein Center doctor will examine your legs and feet. Varicose veins are easy to see, especially when you stand up. Your doctor will check your legs for tender areas, swelling, skin color changes, sores, and other signs of skin breakdown. You might need further tests if you plan to have treatment or if you have signs of a deep vein problem.
How are varicose veins treated?
For some, home treatment may be all you need to ease your symptoms and keep the varicose veins from getting worse. You can:
- Wear compression stockings.
- Prop up (elevate) your legs.
- Avoid long periods of sitting or standing.
- Get plenty of exercise.
If you need treatment or you are concerned about how the veins look, your options may include:
- Sclerotherapy to close off the vein.
- Laser treatment to close off the vein.
- Radiofrequency treatment to close off the vein.
- Phlebectomy, or stab avulsion, to remove the vein.
- Ligation and stripping to tie off and remove the vein.
Is varicose vein removal covered by insurance?
Every patient and diagnosis is different. Similarly, insurance coverage varies greatly by policy and company. Generally, most patients seeking treatment for removing varicose veins will find that the procedure is covered by their insurance plan. Depending on a specific diagnosis, varicose vein removal is sometimes classified as a cosmetic procedure as opposed to a medical one. However, if your specific diagnosis is deemed a necessary medical procedure by your doctor, then most insurance companies will cover some treatments. NCMA Vein Center providers and staff will be happy to clarify your diagnosis and will help you understand any relevant insurance coverage.
What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?
If left untreated, varicose veins typically result in excess blood leaking into the tissues of the leg. Patients can experience painful swelling and inflammation as parts of their skin become dark and discolored. This condition is known as hyperpigmentation.
Varicose veins can cause pain, swelling, and can limit one’s comfortable mobility. The occurrence of varicose veins is often a sign of a vein disease. This condition should be taken seriously and treated if possible.
How do you stop varicose veins from getting worse?
Self-care — such as exercising, losing weight, not wearing tight clothes, elevating your legs, and avoiding long periods of standing or sitting can ease pain and prevent varicose veins from getting worse. Maintaining an active lifestyle is your best prevention for stopping varicose veins from worsening. Make a habit of staying active if seated for long periods of time. If these motions do not cause pain, make a point to keep your lower body moving by stretching/rotating your ankles, peddling your feet or bending your knees. Compression hosiery (socks) can also reduce the discomfort and unsightliness of varicose veins.
For pregnant women, your sleeping position may matter. Try sleeping on your left side. This sleeping position helps reduce the pressure that your expanding uterus puts on the big vein in your pelvic area, which is located on the middle-right side of your body.
How do you relieve pain caused by varicose veins?
Varicose veins can cause throbbing, swelling, a burning sensation in your extremities, and pain. If you are experiencing pain caused by varicose veins, there are some at-home remedies to start with: drink water, elevate your legs, stretch, put ice on legs or soak legs in cold water. You may be able to prevent varicose veins by wearing lower-heeled shoes, wearing loose / non-restrictive clothing, maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly to encourage blood flow.
These measures may help on a temporary basis. If your pain persists, you may have chronic venous insufficiency.
NCMA Vein Center offers a number of minimally invasive procedures to treat varicose vein symptoms. Vascular surgeon and vein specialist Vishal Patel, MD, can help you better understand your condition and will discuss what options are available to improve varicose veins.
- Radiofrequency ablation | Venefit | VNUS Closure
- VenaSeal for varicose veins
- Compression therapy
- Vishal Patel, MD, Director