FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT IS VENOUS DISEASE?
Your legs are made up of a network of veins. A healthy vein contains valves which open and close to assist the return of blood to the heart. Venous disease, or venous insufficiency, occurs if these valves become damaged, allowing the backward flow of blood in the legs. This pooling of blood can lead to a feeling of heaviness and fatigue, and cause skin changes such as blue or purple “spider veins” on the skin’s surface or a brown woody appearance to your lower legs. If left untreated, it can lead to leg pain, swelling, ulcers, and other health problems.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF VENOUS DISEASE?
Venous disease symptoms include the presence of varicose or “spider” veins, or pain, swelling, heaviness or fatigue in the legs. Other symptoms include leg discomfort such as restless leg, edema, reddening of skin, cramping, discomfort that worsens throughout the day or while standing, or skin changes in the legs, and ulcers. While some physical symptoms can be severe, for some, venous disease may have no physical symptoms.
HOW COMMON IS VENOUS DISEASE?
Venous disease is one of the most common conditions affecting our health. According to the American College of Phlebology, 80 million people in the U.S. have some form of venous disorder. It can affect men and women of all ages and activity levels, and while it has a strong genetic component, venous disease can be aggravated by environmental risks, pregnancy, and other factors. Venous disease is common in people who have jobs that require long periods of standing, and the risk of venous disease increases with age.
WHAT CAUSES VARICOSE VEINS?
Varicose veins are caused by the leaking of blood in the Greater Saphenous Vein, which pools in the lower leg and causes the bulging veins. They can occur for a number of reasons including age, sedentary lifestyle, prior pregnancy, weight gain, hereditary factors and prolonged periods of standing.
HOW DOES SAPHENOUS ABLATION WORK?
Thermal energy is delivered to the vein wall and this causes the leaking, diseased vein to close off so it does not continue to leak blood into the varicose veins.
DOES VENOUS ABLATION REQUIRE HOSPITALIZATION?
No, this is an office procedure and takes about one hour. You will have local anesthesia (lidocaine, like at the dentist) and we may use a mild sedative.
ARE OTHER TREATMENTS NECESSARY?
You may still require sclerotherapy or tiny incisions to remove additional varicose veins after this procedure. We will also do an ultrasound several days after the procedure to check the status of the treated vein.
DOES IT HURT?
Some patients are more sensitive than others but few really complain of significant pain during or after the procedure. Patients typically describe an aching, burning or pulling sensation.
HOW LONG IS THE RECOVERY PERIOD?
We encourage walking the same day and return to normal activities the next day. You should delay strenuous exercise for 14 days.
DOES LOSS OF THIS VEIN CAUSE PROBLEMS WITH DRAINAGE OF THE LEG?
No. An incompetent saphenous vein is essentially a non-functioning vein and blood that would have flowed through the vein has already been diverted into other healthy veins to drain the leg.
WHY SHOULD I CHOOSE HAGER ADVANCED VEIN CARE?
Unlike other vein doctors, our physician is a board certified vascular specialist who is dedicated to comprehensive, surgical and non-surgical management of all vein problems. The doctor and our staff will make you feel very comfortable and well cared for throughout your evaluation and treatment. If you do seek treatment elsewhere, make sure your physician has specific training as a vascular surgeon so you can be sure he/she has expertise in all aspects of the diagnosis and management of your circulation problems.
IS VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT COVERED BY INSURANCE COMPANIES?
Many insurance companies have recognized saphenous reflux and painful varicose veins to be medically necessary and will often cover saphenous vein ablation and closure procedures as well as ambulatory phlebectomy if you have attempted conservative treatment for 3-6 months in the past:
- Compression stockings
- Weight control
Sclerotherapy is considered cosmetic and is not covered by most insurance companies.