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Frequently Asked Questions

What are varicose veins?

Varicose vein is often referred or used to describe from spider veins (red or blue veins on the surface of the skin) up to true varicose veins (swollen, bulging veins with a rope-like appearance). Varicose veins are common, with 1 in 3 women and 1 in 5 men experiencing symptoms. These symptoms can include swollen legs, tired, heavy feeling, leg fatigue, leg pain, as well as burning and itching sensations.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins are usually as a result of with venous reflux/venous insufficiency. This occurs when the valves in the leg veins become floppy and don’t work well which causes backward flow of blood causing pooling in the lower leg. If left untreated, the pressure this creates may increase over time and cause additional varicose veins and symptoms. Factors that contributes to the development of varicose veins include a family history, age, obesity, pregnancy, and prolonged sitting or standing.

Can varicose veins be prevented?

In the medical community it is unclear if varicose veins can be prevented, however, there are factors that may help limit the progression and symptoms of the disease. These factors include: Regular exercise, maintaining a normal weight, avoiding prolonged long periods of standing or sitting. The use of medical grade compression stockings may all help alleviate symptoms, particularly swelling and tiredness and aches.

What happens if I don’t treat the vein?

Untreated venous insufficiency/reflux may lead to a progressive condition that only gets worse with time. This may lead to additional spider veins, telangiectasias and varicose veins, and in some cases can lead to swelling and venous ulcers at the lower calf and ankle. If you have any of these symptoms, you should seek treatment from a trained vein specialist.

Will my spider veins or varicose veins come back after treatment?

There is a small chance that varicosities may recur. However, if a specific vein is appropriately treated, it usually does not recur. It is possible for other veins to become diseased especially if you have predisposing factors such as family history, age, obesity, female hormones, etc. It is important to consult a vein specialist who can determine if you have an underlying venous reflux.

What is the cost of vein treatment?

This is common question for patients, fortunately procedures such as laser ablation EVLT, RF ablation, sclerotherapy, and phlebectomy are shown to be medically necessary, are commonly covered by Medicare and insurance providers. Sclerotherapy for spider veins is generally considered a cosmetic procedure and usually not covered. Consult Ponte Vedra Vein Institute or your local insurance provider to determine your eligibility and coverage as well as cost.

Who treats varicose veins?

Many specialties in medicine treat venous disease. However, it is important to seek the physician for your care. Physicians with subspecialty vascular disease training are skilled at catheter techniques such as Interventional Radiologists, Vascular Surgeons, Cardiologists and physicians with certification from the American College of Phlebology.

What will happen if my varicose veins are not treated?

If left untreated your varicose veins will enlarge and become more symptomatic which usually forces many people to alter their daily activities to try and decrease their symptoms. Left untreated varicose veins can cause skin changes/damage, ulcerations and blood clots. If treated early, these complications can be prevented or significantly improve.

Why do I have leg pain?

Leg pain is caused by venous insufficiency and reflux which overloads the venous system and causes stretching of the skin. Leg may also feel heavy, achy or restless. Venous insufficiency and varicose veins may lead to skin discoloration and/or ulcers if left untreated.

Do you have consultations to determine what procedures are needed?

At Ponte Vedra Vein Institute our consultation is free and is the first step to tailoring a specific treatment plan just for you. During your initial visit you will be examined by our physician to determine if a Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan will be necessary. Once the appropriate treatments have been determined based on your specific needs, our team will review the costs and other relevant details with you to ensure you are fully informed before proceeding.

Why do I need to get an ultrasound scan?

The Ultrasound Scan is a diagnostic evaluation imaging of your leg veins to determine the degree and severity of venous insufficiency. It is the second step in finding the right treatment for damaged. We can pinpoint the exact cause of varicose veins and customize a treatment plan for each individual patient and each damaged vein. The treatments are usually quicker, more effective and less painful than traditional methods, such as vein stripping.

Will I need bed rest after treatment?

Bed rest is not necessary following varicose vein treatment. As a fact we encourage patients to maintain their daily activities that includes walking a mile to a mile and a half a day.

How long will I need to take off from work?

The forms of treatments used for treating all varicose veins and venous disease are considered minimally invasive requiring only the use of local anesthetic with little to no discomfort. Given this, patients able to drive, return to work and resume most of their normal activities the same day as or the day after treatment.

Should I see a vein care specialist?

If you are someone who experiences leg pain, aching, cramping, itching, burning, swelling, heaviness, tiredness, fatigue and restlessness in the legs, then you should seek treatment. You may notice that these symptoms will be worse at the end of the day or after periods of prolonged standing or sitting. These symptoms may interfere with mobility and affect activities of daily living including the ability to exercise or even play with children or grandchildren. If you have bulging rope-like veins, spider veins and skin discoloration, you should also seek a vein specialist.