Varicose veins hurt your legs and your self-esteem.
Today’s gentle treatments take away the pain.
Call us at (804) 828- 2600 to discuss your options.
Varicose veins, ranging from the blue splotches of spider veins to the thick, ropey and twisted dark varicose veins that can make standing and walking painful, have much in common. They’re unsightly. They can be painful. If left untreated, they can progress to serious health problems. They’re very common: 20 percent of all adults, and 50 percent of adults over 50, experience varicose veins, predominantly women.
And, most important, varicose veins are treatable–with new, non-invasive procedures that are quick, virtually painless, and require little or no recovery time. Our vascular specialists are experts in evaluating and treating varicose veins, from unsightly spider veins (visit here) using new, gentle and highly effective treatments to the relief of more serious, painful and even dangerous major varicose veins. Our vascular surgeons and interventional radiologists work hand in hand to treat patients with varicose using today’s most advanced technology and procedures, with your treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins in the legs near the surface of the skin, ranging from tiny to large. Spider veins are small, surface veins, which, while embarrassing, are relatively minor. Learn more about our advanced treatments for spider veins.
Most people associate varicose veins with prominent, swollen, twisted, and ropelike veins wrapping their legs, often dark blue in color – and often quite painful. These are symptomatic varicose veins. They develop over time, with factors such as age, family history, pregnancy, weight gain, and prolonged standing all possible contributing factors. They’re caused by weakened valves in the leg veins that flow blood back to your heart. When the valves weaken, blood pools and builds pressure in the leg veins, causing them to swell, expand and twist as the walls of the veins are weakened – and the weakened valves and veins are prone to clots or hemorrhaging, which is why treatment is so important.
Some people do not have any troublesome symptoms at first. Mild symptoms may include:
- Swelling in your feet and ankles
- Heaviness, burning, aching, tiredness, or pain in your legs, particularly when you stand or sit for a long time
- Itchy skin over the vein
More serious symptoms may include:
- Leg swelling
- Swelling and calf pain after you sit or stand for long periods of time
- Skin changes, such as skin color or dry, thin or scaling skin
- Open sores or excessive bleeding after a minor injury
Varicose veins may also be a sign of a blockage in deeper veins called deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a serious, sometimes deadly condition in which blood clots forming in your leg veins can break loose and move to your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
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. If you have signs of a deep vein problem like DVT or plan to have treatment for spider veins or symptomatic varicose veins, you may need more tests, such as a vascular ultrasound exam.
How are varicose veins treated?
Not all varicose veins require clinical treatment. In mild cases, home treatment may be all you require to ease your symptoms and keep the varicose veins from getting worse. You can:
- Exercise to strengthen the muscles and veins of the legs
- Wear compression stockings to improve blood flow and limit vein swelling
- Prop up your legs to allow the blood to flow out of the legs easier.
- Avoid long periods of sitting or standing.
To treat more serious varicose vein problems, we offer several effective and minimally invasive solutions. After diagnosis, we will discuss your options so you can choose the treatment that best suits your needs. Although effective, no varicose vein treatment, whether surgical or minimally - invasive, can prevent new varicose veins from developing in the future. Most health insurance plans cover treatment of significant symptomatic varicose veins, but some consider treatment of spider veins as cosmetic surgery.
Endovenous Thermal Ablation: Endovenous thermal ablation (EVTA) is an alternative to surgically removing varicose veins. We use ultrasound to guide a small catheter or laser fiber is inserted into the vein. The catheter delivers just enough laser or radio wave heat to cause the vein to close, collapse and seal shut, without affecting nearby tissue. The treated vein is absorbed by the body and disappears within a few months. EVTA not only treats your large varicose veins, but also eliminates many smaller unsightly ones. The procedure is generally performed with just a local anesthetic, and takes about 40 minutes. You will be able to walk and resume most normal activity immediately after the procedure, wearing compression stockings for a few weeks, and most people return to work the next day.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Ambulatory phlebectomy is minimally invasive surgery to remove smaller varicose veins just under the skin through tiny incisions in the skin, using a special set of tools. Often, the incisions are so small that after a few months, they completely disappear. The procedure is done under conscious sedation and usually takes one to two hours or less, (If you have an extended network of varicose veins, you may need two or three sessions.) Recovery is quick: you can walk and resume most normal activity immediately, just wearing compression stockings for a couple of weeks.
Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy: Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy treats large networks of veins just below the surface of the skin and is a gentle and highly effective treatment for spider veins. Using ultrasound, we guide a small needle into the vein and inject a fluid that scars and closes the vein. Within a few weeks, treated varicose veins fade away. While more than one treatment may sometimes be required to fully treat the problem areas, sclerotherapy can be very effective at improving the appearance of your legs.
Will my health insurance cover my treatment?
Most insurers typically cover treatment of the more serious, symptomatic varicose veins; some do not cover treatment for spider veins, considering it a cosmetic procedure.
If your diagnosis indicates that you need a specific treatment, our staff will submit all relevant information to your insurance company for pre-authorization, or provide you with the approximate cost of treatment.
Call us at (804) 828-2600 to discuss your options.