Frequently Asked Questions

Vein & Venous Disease Questions:

What are varicose veins and spider veins?

Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged and twisted, appearing as blue or purple cords bulging under the skin. They can cause discomfort, pain, and swelling, especially in the legs, and are often found on the thighs, calves, or inside of the leg. Pregnant women may also develop varicose veins around the buttocks and vagina. Varicose veins are caused by weakened or damaged valves that allow blood to flow backward and pool in the veins, resulting in their enlargement.

On the other hand, spider veins are smaller than varicose veins, closer to the skin’s surface, and often appear as short, jagged lines in red or blue. They can resemble spider webs or tree branches and are usually found on the legs or face, covering small or large areas of skin. Spider veins may not cause pain or discomfort but can be a cosmetic concern for some people. They can be caused by various factors such as hormonal changes, sun exposure, injuries, or the backup of blood.

How common are abnormal leg veins?

Abnormal leg veins are a common health condition that affects a significant portion of the population. In the United States, approximately 50 to 55% of women and 40 to 45% of men suffer from some form of vein problem. Varicose veins, a type of abnormal leg vein, affect half of people who are over 50 years. It’s important to note that while abnormal leg veins are common, they can also cause discomfort and lead to more serious health problems, so seeking treatment is recommended.

What causes varicose veins and spider veins?

Varicose veins and spider veins can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Weak or damaged valves in the veins can cause blood to leak back and pool in the veins (venous insufficiency).
  • Increasing age, as the valves in your veins may weaken and not work as well.
  • Medical history, including being born with weak vein valves or having family members with vein problems.
  • Hormonal changes, such as those that occur during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, or from taking birth control pills or other medicines containing estrogen and progesterone.
  • Pregnancy, which can cause an increase in the amount of blood in the body and put pressure on the veins.
  • Obesity or being overweight, which can put extra pressure on the veins.
  • Lack of movement, such as sitting or standing for a long time, which can force veins to work harder to pump blood to the heart.
  • Sun exposure can cause spider veins on the cheeks or nose of a fair-skinned person.
  • Injuries or trauma to the affected area.

It’s important to note that while spider veins rarely cause serious health problems, varicose veins can lead to discomfort, pain, and more serious health issues if left untreated. If you are experiencing symptoms of varicose or spider veins, it’s best to consult with one of our vein care specialists at Region Vein to determine the best course of treatment for you.

What are the signs & symptoms of varicose veins?

Varicose veins are typically visible on the skin and can be accompanied by various signs and symptoms, particularly in the legs. These include:

  • Aching pain: Individuals with varicose veins may experience discomfort that tends to worsen after prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
  • Throbbing or cramping: Sensations of throbbing or cramping in the affected areas can be common with varicose veins.
  • Heaviness: The legs may feel heavy and weighed down, often due to impaired blood flow.
  • Swelling: Swelling, especially in the ankles and lower legs, can occur due to fluid buildup due to venous insufficiency.
  • Rash and irritation: Some individuals may develop a rash on or around the affected veins, which can be itchy and irritated.
  • Skin darkening: In more severe cases, the skin around the varicose veins may darken or take on a brownish color.
  • Restless legs: Restlessness or an uncontrollable urge to move the legs, particularly during periods of inactivity or at night, can be associated with varicose veins.

It is important to note that these signs and symptoms can vary from person to person, and not everyone with varicose veins will experience all of them. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have concerns about varicose veins, it is advisable to consult with us for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

What factors increase my risk of varicose veins and spider veins?

Several factors can increase the risk of developing varicose veins and spider veins. These include:

  • Increasing age: As you age, the natural wear and tear on vein valves can lead to weakened valve function, increasing the risk of varicose and spider veins.
  • Medical history: A family history of vein problems or being born with weak vein valves can significantly raise the likelihood of developing varicose or spider veins. In fact, approximately half of individuals with varicose veins have a family member who also experiences this condition.
  • Hormonal changes: Hormonal fluctuations during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause can contribute to the development of varicose and spider veins. Taking medications containing estrogen and progesterone, such as birth control pills, may also increase the risk.
  • Pregnancy: The increased blood volume during pregnancy and the pressure exerted by the growing uterus can lead to the enlargement of veins and the formation of varicose veins. However, these typically improve within three months after childbirth. It is worth noting that the risk of developing more varicose and spider veins increases with each subsequent pregnancy.
  • Obesity: Being overweight or obese places additional pressure on the veins, impeding proper blood flow and increasing the likelihood of varicose vein development.
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Prolonged periods of sitting or standing without regular movement can strain the veins and decrease blood circulation. Crossing or bending the legs while sitting can exacerbate this issue.
  • Sun exposure: Extended exposure to sunlight, particularly for individuals with fair skin, can contribute to the formation of spider veins on the cheeks or nose.

While these factors can increase the risk, it is important to remember that anyone can develop varicose or spider veins, regardless of these factors. If you have concerns or want to explore prevention or treatment options, give us a call.

Are varicose veins and spider veins dangerous?

Spider veins typically do not pose a significant health risk, but they can cause discomfort in the legs. When symptoms arise from spider veins, they often manifest as itching or a burning sensation. In rare cases, spider veins may indicate underlying blood backup in deeper veins that are not visible on the skin. If this is the case, you may experience similar symptoms to those associated with varicose veins.

Varicose veins, on the other hand, can range from being asymptomatic to causing aching pain, throbbing, and discomfort. In certain instances, varicose veins can lead to more serious health issues, including:

  • Sores or skin ulcers: Prolonged blood backup in the veins can result in painful and slow-healing sores or ulcers. These wounds often require treatment to address the underlying vein dysfunction before complete healing can occur.
  • Bleeding: The skin over varicose veins can become thin and susceptible to injury. In the event of an injury, significant blood loss can ensue.
  • Superficial thrombophlebitis: This condition involves the formation of a blood clot in a vein just below the skin’s surface. Symptoms may include redness, tenderness, warmth in the affected vein, and occasionally pain and swelling.
  • Deep vein thrombosis: Deep vein thrombosis refers to the formation of a blood clot in a deeper vein. Symptoms may include a pulling sensation in the calf, pain, warmth, redness, and swelling. However, in some cases, deep vein thrombosis may not produce noticeable symptoms. If the blood clot travels to the lungs, it can be life-threatening.

It is important to note that while these complications can occur, not everyone with varicose veins will experience them. If you have concerns about spider or varicose veins, seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate management.

Are varicose veins hereditary?

Varicose veins can have various causes, and heredity is a primary factor in over 80% of cases. This means that if your parents or grandparents have varicose veins, you are more likely to develop them. However, other factors can also contribute to the development of varicose veins, such as pregnancy, obesity, hormone therapy, standing or sitting for long periods, and injury. It’s important to be aware of these risk factors and take preventative measures to reduce your chances of developing varicose veins.

Do men get varicose veins as well?

While varicose veins are more common in women, men can also develop varicose veins. According to some estimates, around 45 percent of men may develop some form of venous disease in their lifetime. Risk factors for varicose veins in men include a family history of the condition, standing or sitting for long periods, obesity, and injury or trauma to the legs. Men who have jobs that require standing for long periods, such as construction workers, may also be at higher risk. Regardless of gender, anyone experiencing symptoms of varicose veins should consult with one of our vein care specialists at Region Vein for proper evaluation and treatment.

Should I see a doctor about varicose veins?

It is advisable to consult a doctor about varicose veins in the following situations:

  • Swelling, redness, tenderness, or warmth: If a varicose vein becomes swollen, red, or exhibits increased tenderness or warmth when touched, medical attention is necessary.
  • Sores or rash: If sores or a rash develop on the leg or near the ankle, it is important to seek medical evaluation.
  • Skin changes: A medical assessment is recommended if the skin on the ankle and calf area becomes thickened or undergoes color changes.
  • Bleeding from varicose veins: If one of the veins starts to bleed, immediate medical attention is essential.
  • Impaired daily activities: If the symptoms in your legs, such as pain or discomfort, interfere with your ability to carry out daily activities, consult a doctor.
  • Emotional distress: If the appearance of the varicose veins is causing significant distress or affecting your self-esteem, seeking medical advice can help address these concerns.

Additionally, even if you don’t experience any urgent medical issues related to your varicose veins, it is smart to take preventive measures to avoid them getting worse. You can discuss preventative strategies with your doctor. (see “How can I prevent varicose veins and spider veins?”).

Remember, if you are experiencing any pain, even if it is a dull ache, it is important to seek professional help. Your doctor can provide an accurate diagnosis, evaluate the severity of your condition, and recommend appropriate treatment or lifestyle changes to manage varicose veins effectively.

What are spider veins?

Spider veins are small, dilated blood vessels that are visible just beneath the skin’s surface, often appearing as clusters of red, blue, or purple veins. While spider veins are primarily a cosmetic concern, they can also cause discomfort for some patients, such as skin redness, tenderness, warmth, and swelling. If left untreated, spider veins may worsen over time, leading to more visible veins and other complications. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with one of the vein care specialists at Region Vein for diagnosis and treatment options.

What causes spider veins?

Spider veins are often caused by the same factors that cause varicose veins. These include pregnancy, heredity, weight gain, and prolonged periods of standing or sitting. However, spider veins are smaller and closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins and may not be as painful. Hormonal changes and certain medical conditions, such as blood clotting disorders or liver disease, can also contribute to the development of spider veins. Additionally, exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun or tanning beds can increase the risk of developing spider veins on the face and legs.

Are all the veins I see on my legs spider veins?

Not all the visible veins on your legs may be spider veins. Some may be larger reticular veins or varicose veins. A screening ultrasound is necessary to accurately determine your venous problem and develop a suitable treatment plan.

At Region Vein, every patient undergoes a screening ultrasound before treatment. If you’re unsure whether you have spider veins and want to learn more about the right treatment, you can schedule a consultation with us.

Why do varicose veins and spider veins usually appear in the legs?

Most varicose and spider veins occur in the legs because the veins in the legs have to work against gravity and bear the body’s weight. These veins carry blood from the lower extremities to the heart and are subjected to greater pressure than other veins in the body. Due to this pressure, the one-way valves in the leg veins may weaken, resulting in blood flowing backward and pooling in the veins, leading to the development of varicose and spider veins.

Insurance & Treatment Questions:

How are varicose veins diagnosed?

Varicose veins are usually diagnosed through a physical exam by a doctor. During the exam, your doctor will look at your legs while you’re standing or sitting with your legs dangling. They may ask you about your symptoms, such as pain, heaviness, or swelling in your legs. Sometimes, additional tests are needed to determine the problem’s extent and rule out other disorders.

One standard test used to diagnose varicose veins is an ultrasound, which allows doctors to see the veins’ structure, check blood flow in your veins, and look for blood clots. Ultrasound uses sound waves to create pictures of structures in your body.

In rare cases, a venogram may be recommended for a more detailed look at blood flow through your veins. This test involves injecting a dye into your veins and taking X-rays to create images of the blood vessels.

The treatment of varicose veins can involve several medical specialists who perform various procedures. You can start by asking your primary care doctor for a recommendation to find the right specialist for your needs. It’s also a good idea to check with your insurance plan to see which providers and procedures are covered. Some of the specialists who may perform varicose vein treatments include:

  • Vascular surgeons specialize in treating conditions affecting the blood vessels, including varicose veins. They may perform procedures such as vein stripping or endovenous laser treatment.
  • Interventional radiologists: These doctors use medical imaging techniques to guide minimally invasive procedures for treating varicose veins, such as radiofrequency ablation or sclerotherapy.
  • Phlebologists: These doctors specialize in treating vein disorders, including varicose veins. They may perform procedures such as foam sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy.
  • Dermatologists: These doctors may perform sclerotherapy or other minimally invasive procedures for treating spider veins, which are smaller and closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins.

Ultimately, the choice of specialist and procedure will depend on your condition’s severity, overall health, and personal preferences.

How can I prevent varicose veins and spider veins?

While not all varicose and spider veins can be prevented, there are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of getting new varicose and spider veins. The following actions can also help ease discomfort from the ones you already have:

  • Sun protection: Applying sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays can help limit the development of spider veins on the face.
  • Regular exercise: Engaging in routines regularly that focus on strengthening your leg muscles can improve circulation and enhance the strength of your veins. Activities like walking or running are particularly beneficial.
  • Weight management: Maintaining a healthy weight helps alleviate excessive pressure on your legs, reducing the risk of developing varicose veins.
  • Avoid leg crossing: Prolonged leg crossing while sitting can potentially lead to leg injuries. Even minor ones can increase the likelihood of varicose veins. It is advisable to avoid crossing your legs for extended periods.
  • Leg elevation: Elevating your legs whenever possible improves blood flow and alleviates symptoms. Elevating the legs above heart level is especially beneficial.
  • Avoid prolonged sitting or standing: If you need to stand for extended periods, shift your weight from one leg to the other. If sitting for long periods, make it a habit to stand up, move around, or take short walks every 30 minutes to improve circulation.
  • Compression stockings: Elastic support stockings can provide pressure to support healthy blood flow and reduce symptoms. Avoid tight clothing that constricts the waist, groin, or legs.
  • Shoe choice: Choose lower-heeled shoes instead of high heels for prolonged wear. Lower-heeled shoes can help tone your calf muscles, aiding in better blood circulation through the veins.
  • Balanced diet: Adopting a low-salt diet rich in high-fiber foods contributes to overall vein health. High-fiber foods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, help reduce the chances of constipation, which can contribute to varicose veins. Additionally, consuming less salt can help manage swelling associated with varicose veins.

While these preventive measures cannot guarantee the complete prevention of varicose and spider veins, they can significantly reduce the likelihood of their occurrence and alleviate symptoms. Ask us for personalized advice and guidance if you have concerns or specific risk factors.

Can varicose and spider veins return even after treatment?

It’s important to understand that while current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins have high success rates, there is no cure for weak vein valves, which can lead to the development of new abnormal veins over time.

Ultrasound can be used to monitor the condition of your veins and assess the extent of venous insufficiency, which occurs when the valves in your veins don’t function properly and cause blood to flow backward. Ongoing treatment, including minimally invasive procedures such as sclerotherapy and endovenous laser treatment, can help control venous insufficiency symptoms and prevent the development of new varicose and spider veins.

In addition to medical treatments, you can also make lifestyle changes to help manage varicose and spider veins. One of the most effective strategies is to wear gradient compression support stockings as much as possible during the day. These stockings work by compressing the veins in your legs, helping to improve blood flow and reduce swelling and discomfort.

It’s also important to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, and avoid sitting or standing for long periods without taking breaks to move around and stretch your legs. By combining medical treatments with these lifestyle changes, you can help manage the symptoms of varicose and spider veins and maintain healthy, beautiful legs.

As always, we recommend discussing any questions or concerns you may have about vein treatments or lifestyle changes with our team at Region Vein. We are committed to providing comprehensive, personalized care to help you achieve optimal vein health.

Can the treatment be done during pregnancy? Or how soon after if not during?

It’s important to note that vein treatments, including sclerotherapy and other procedures, are generally not recommended during pregnancy. This is because pregnancy can affect the veins in many ways, and treating them during this time can carry certain risks.

If you are pregnant and experiencing symptoms related to varicose veins or other vein conditions, we recommend discussing your options with your healthcare provider. In many cases, conservative treatments such as compression stockings or lifestyle modifications may be recommended to help manage your symptoms until after delivery.

Once you have delivered your baby, we typically recommend waiting at least two months before undergoing any vein treatments. This allows your body time to heal and adjust following delivery and can help to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.

As always, we recommend discussing any questions or concerns you may have about vein treatments with your healthcare provider or our team at Region Vein. We are committed to providing safe and effective treatments for our patients and will work with you to develop a customized treatment plan that meets your needs and goals.

Is there a dedicated amount of time spent per leg, per treatment or do you hit every visible vein per treatment?

At Region Vein, we strive to provide our patients with the most effective and efficient vein treatments possible. The length of each session can vary depending on the individual patient’s needs and the specific treatment being performed.

Each session typically lasts around 30 minutes for sclerotherapy treatments, although this can vary depending on the extent of the treatment area and the volume of medication being used. In some cases, the maximum volume of medication may be reached before the 30-minute mark, and the session will be completed at that point.

Our goal is to provide each patient with a customized treatment plan that targets the specific veins causing their symptoms while minimizing discomfort and downtime. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan that fits your unique needs and schedule, ensuring that you receive the best possible care for your vein condition.

Will insurance cover my treatments?

We understand that the cost of vein treatments can be a concern for many patients, which is why we work closely with insurance companies to ensure that our patients receive the coverage they are entitled to. In many cases, insurance companies will reimburse a high percentage of the treatment cost if there is a documented venous insufficiency problem with associated symptoms.

To help you navigate the insurance process, we can provide the diagnostic and procedure codes needed for pre-certification by your insurance company. It’s important to note that each insurance company may reimburse different amounts for these treatments, which is why we work with you to help you understand your coverage and any out-of-pocket expenses you may incur.

At Region Vein, we believe that every patient deserves access to high-quality vein treatments, regardless of their financial situation. That’s why we offer a range of payment options, including financing plans, to help make the cost of treatment more manageable for our patients.

If you have any questions about insurance coverage or payment options, our team is always available to help. We are committed to ensuring that our patients receive the best possible care for their vein conditions, including providing clear, transparent information about treatment costs and insurance coverage.

Do you have consultations to determine what procedures are needed?

At Region Vein, we understand that every patient’s vein condition is unique, and the first step in creating a treatment plan that is right for you is a comprehensive evaluation. During your initial visit, we will examine the affected areas to determine the extent of the damage and identify any underlying issues that may be contributing to your condition.

We may recommend a Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan to provide a more detailed view of your damaged veins. This non-invasive procedure uses sound waves to create images of the blood vessels, allowing us to identify the specific areas that require treatment and tailor our approach accordingly.

Once we have identified the appropriate treatments for your condition, we will review the costs and other relevant details with you to ensure that you are fully informed and comfortable with the recommended course of action. Our goal is to provide you with a personalized treatment plan that is effective, efficient, and tailored to your unique needs.

At Region Vein, we’re committed to using the latest technology and techniques to provide our patients with the best possible care for their vein conditions. If you are struggling with damaged veins, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us to learn more about how we can help you regain healthy, beautiful veins.

Why do I need to get an ultrasound scan?

The first step in treating damaged veins is identifying the underlying cause, and at Region Vein, we use Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan to achieve this. This advanced technology provides a visual window into the diseased, refluxing veins beneath the skin’s surface, allowing us to pinpoint the exact cause of varicose veins and customize a treatment plan for each individual patient and each damaged vein.

By dealing with the problem at its source, our treatments are quicker, more effective, and less painful than traditional methods like vein stripping. This approach also ensures that we address the problem’s root cause rather than just treating the symptoms.

The Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan is particularly important for patients who have had previous vein treatment, as it allows us to assess the effectiveness of past treatments and identify any new areas of concern.

Our commitment to using the latest technology and personalized treatment plans ensures that our patients receive the best possible care for their damaged veins. If you’re struggling with varicose veins or other vein conditions, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with us to learn more about how we can help.

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