FAQs at The Vein Center of Florida and The Vein Center of South Baldwin
Get answers to your questions right here.
SPIDER VEINS FAQS
What are spider veins?
A: Spider veins are small cosmetically bound veins that are typically seen as tiny dilated veins that fan out from a central point on the skin surface. They can appear on your legs, arms and face.
What is sclerotherapy and what is it used for?
A: Sclerotherapy is the preferred treatment for spider veins, smaller varicose vein branches and reticular veins. It involves the injection of a sclerosing solution into an abnormal vein through a small needle. The solution destroys the vein wall, with the vein then closing off, scarring, shutting down, fading, and gradually disappearing. As opposed to laser treatment, which is termed thermal ablation, sclerotherapy is a form of chemical ablation. The solutions used at The Vein Center of Florida and The Vein Center of South Baldwin are very safe with very few allergic reactions reported.
How long does a spider vein take to look better?
A: Most spider veins fade slowly over 4 to 6 weeks. Treated veins may look darker in color with some bruising before the fading occurs. Occasionally, blood may become trapped in the treated veins as they close. This is expected and is addressed in subsequent treatment sessions. The first two treatments are the most important. A level of 70%-80% overall improvement is realistic.
How long is each spider vein procedure appointment?
A: Each treatment session is about 30 minutes. Sessions are normally scheduled 4 to 6 weeks apart.
VARICOSE VEINS FAQS
What are varicose veins?
A: Varicose veins are unsightly, swollen and twisted veins that have lost their ability to make the blood flow through the legs against the forces of gravity back up to the heart. Veins have numerous stop valves, which are supposed to prevent the blood from flowing the wrong way. If the valves are damaged or do not close properly, blood “refluxes” and pools in the vein. As the blood pools in the legs due to gravity, these veins overfill, giving them a bulging appearance. These veins are abnormal and do not transport blood back to the heart efficiently. Treatment can improve the venous circulation.
What causes varicose veins?
A: Anyone can get varicose veins. Common causes include:
- Heredity (other family members) – this is the most common cause.
- Increasing age.
- Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer as men.
- Hormonal changes: Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. Birth control pills and other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone also increase the risk of varicose or spider veins.
- Pregnancy: During pregnancy, there is a large increase in the blood volume in the body, which overloads the veins. This causes veins to enlarge and puts more pressure on the one-way valves. The expanding uterus also puts pressure on the veins. Eventually the one-way valves fail and varicose vein disease begins. With each pregnancy more and more of these veins become damaged.
- Prolonged standing or occupations where you’re on your feet most of the time.
- Previous leg injuries.
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
A: Aside from the familiar unsightly appearance of bulging and “grape like” varicosities, there may be a variety of symptoms, such as:
- Significant aching or throbbing pain
- Night cramps
- Easily tired legs
- Leg heaviness
- Swelling of the feet and ankles toward the end of the day and in hot weather
- Darkening of the skin (in severe cases) called “venous stasis discoloration” and possibly ulcers
- Itching or irritated rash in the legs
- Restless legs (especially at night)
All of the symptoms typically progress throughout the day, making it difficult to stand or sit for long periods.
What is the state-of-the-art treatment for varicose veins?
A: With Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT™), a laser catheter is inserted into the damaged vein, and the vein is “closed” from the inside by the energy delivered from the laser. This is performed as an outpatient procedure and is done under local anesthesia. The procedure takes about 1 hour and the patients walk out of the office afterwards.
What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?
A: If vein disease is not treated, these problems can occur:
- Phlebitis (inflammation of a vein or part of a vein) – Symptoms include swelling, redness, warmth, tenderness and vein hardening.
- The formation of blood clots – Clots can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), which is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
- Skin changes and venous ulcers – Leg ulcers are a sign of underlying vein disease and are the leading cause of chronic wounds in the U.S.
Are varicose veins related to spider veins?
A: Possibly. The key to success when treating varicose or spider veins is the elimination of the primary source of reflux. In some instances, a mild cosmetic problem (spider veins) may just be the “tip of the iceberg.” Larger non-visible refluxing veins may be causing spider veins. If this underlying problem is not dealt with, treated spider veins may not respond, will recur, or may even look worse because the underlying problem was never eliminated.
Is EVLT™ treatment covered by insurance?
A: Yes, in most cases, EVLT™ treatment for varicose veins is covered by insurance as a medically-necessary procedure. We accept insurance from most major and regional providers.
Can varicose veins return after treatment?
A: Current treatments for varicose veins (EVLT™) have very high success rates compared to traditional surgical treatments. However, it is possible that varicose veins in other parts of the legs may develop in the future in some predisposed patients. If this occurs, newer veins can be treated by minimally invasive techniques on an outpatient basis.
Can varicose veins disappear without treatment?
A: It is not likely that broken bulging veins will improve without treatment except in pregnancy. It is important to note that varicose veins may disappear after pregnancy without treatment; however, after each subsequent pregnancy varicose veins are more likely to appear and become more visible.
Are varicose veins only seen in women?
A: While women are more likely to suffer from abnormal veins, varicose veins are very common in men as well. Treatment options are the same for both genders.
Are varicose veins seen only in older people?
A: While it is true that the incidence of varicose veins increases in the elderly, it is not uncommon that those with a strong family history could develop bulging varicosities at a younger age. Treatment options are the same regardless of age.
Don’t we need all the veins we are born with?
A: Not in the legs. For every visible vein on your leg, there are many more under the skin. By sealing off and eliminating a few abnormal veins from the many normal ones, the venous circulation is actually improved. At the same time, a more pleasing cosmetic appearance is obtained.
What should I wear to my appointment with Dr. Jimenez?
A: For your first appointment, wear comfortable clothes and be ready to share your vein-related symptoms and the details of your medical history. What medications do you take? What prior medical procedures have you had? What diagnoses have you had? Did your parents have varicose veins?
What should I bring to my appointment?
A: Please bring your ID, your insurance card, a list of your diagnoses and the medications you take. You should also bring any pertinent medical records, such as imaging results, prior test results or doctor’s notes related to your vein problem. Plan to arrive about 15 minutes early to fill out your paperwork.
Find out more about our FAQs. Whether you’re in Pensacola, Destin or Escambia County, Florida, or Foley/Baldwin County, Alabama, The Vein Center is here to help you. Call 1-800-910-VEIN or request your FREE vein screening today.