What One Man Learned About Not Completing Varicose Vein Treatments

In our last blog post, we discussed the factors that contribute to recurrence of varicose veins after an initial treatment, which may have occurred years earlier. The topic most recently came up when a patient in his 70’s returned to our office after his initial treatment more than a decade ago. 

When he first consulted with us, he had been experiencing deep pain from a large, bulging diseased vein in his right leg that you could clearly see when looking at his leg. After mapping out the full extent of his venous disease with ultrasound, we recommended an Ambulatory Phlebectomy for the first procedure to treat the large, visible and painful vein. The procedure went smoothly and the patient was pleased to find that his symptoms of pain subsided.

While that seems like a cut-and-dry success story, the problem is that it was also recommended that his first treatment be followed by Sclerotherapy to “clean up” any hidden varicose veins that were not obviously visible on the surface of his skin, yet were visible on ultrasound. However, after his leg felt better following the initial treatment, the patient figured a follow-up procedure wasn’t really necessary.

Symptoms Aren’t Just From Visible Varicose Veins

Finding relief after an initial treatment and being tempted to skip follow-up procedures is a very common scenario. However, as in this man’s case, veins that are visible on the surface of the skin are usually just the proverbial tip of the iceberg. 

It’s typical for deeper, diseased veins to feed into the more visible varicose veins, and treatment of the entire network of vein disease beneath the skin is the most effective way to reduce recurrence of varicose veins. To treat the entire network of diseased veins, a follow-up procedure like Sclerotherapy after EVLT or an Ambulatory Phlebectomy is often necessary.

When the man returned to our office over 10 years later, he was complaining of restless leg symptoms, which were making it difficult for him to sleep. He’d heard that varicose veins can cause restless legs, but his family physician didn’t think his symptoms were related to varicose veins since he didn’t have visibly bulging veins, as he had had before. 

However, after in-depth ultrasound diagnostics back at East Tennessee Vein Clinic, it was evident that he did indeed have venous disease in the network of veins running the length of his right leg calf. After treatment, the patient reports that he is in fact sleeping better. While he has also made a couple of other lifestyle changes, he credits the recent vein procedure as a key reason his sleep has improved.

The point is that diagnosing varicose veins cannot be limited to what is physically seen near the surface of the legs. Doing so affects the rate of recurrence, which often appears in another part of the initially-treated vein. 

Why Complete Treatment Recommendations Matter

Many physicians don’t follow through with additional treatments like Sclerotherapy because:

a) they specialize in one type of treatment and aren’t trained in other techniques, or
b) employing a full-time, experienced ultrasound technician required to safely do the procedures is costly.

Ultimately, patients will often be frustrated with the results if physicians only treat varicose veins with a single treatment, or the patients themselves choose to abandon the treatment recommendations after the first procedure. 

To enjoy symptom-free legs for as long as possible and reduce the odds of varicose vein recurrence, choose a vein specialist who has the expertise and dedication to treat your whole network of venous disease. Then, follow through with the entire course of treatment recommendations. 

Keep in mind that varicose veins are a chronic and progressive disease which will not get better on its own. It you’re suffering from leg pain, or swelling, aching, heavy, tired, or restless legs, it’s time to consider getting rid of your varicose veins once and for all. Treatment of varicose veins is quicker and easier than it’s ever been, and is typically covered by insurance

East Tennessee Vein Clinic is offering free screenings for varicose veins through July and August.

Dr. Douglass and the staff at East Tennessee Vein Clinic are solely dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins, and lead the region in experience and expertise of vein treatments. We treat veins differently than other clinics because of our comprehensive attention to treating the root cause and full extent of each patient’s vein disease. Comprehensive vein treatment is all we do, every day, all day, since 2001.

Visit us online at East Tennessee Vein Clinic, or call 866-281-VEIN, or request an appointment online today. We are offering free vein screenings through the month of July, just mention the offer when making an appointment.

“I could not have asked for a better experience. Thank you, Dr. Douglass and staff!”

- S.L., Sweetwater, TN