Top 8 Questions To Ask About Your Varicose Vein Procedure
As the top varicose vein treatment center in East Tennessee, we answer hundreds of questions from prospective patients who are wondering if the time has come to finally get rid of their varicose veins.
Many of these patients have lived with uncomfortable symptoms of varicose veins for years, putting up with swelling, heaviness, aching, and restless legs day after day. We know that considering treatment to get rid of them is not to be taken lightly. However, once many of these patients realize how quick and easy today’s varicose vein treatments are, they usually wish they had acted sooner.
If you’re wondering whether it might be time for you, too, to take action about your uncomfortable or unsightly varicose veins, you may also have some of these commonly-asked questions in mind:
- How do I know if I need treatment?
Proper diagnosis is the first step to understanding if you do indeed have varicose veins and, if so, which treatment option will best relieve your discomfort. Fortunately, diagnosis is simple with a thorough and painless ultrasound procedure that examines the veins in your legs and shows any varicose veins. This procedure typically takes less than an hour and essentially provides a detailed “map” of your vein structures, including any varicose veins.
Once you have a clear understanding of what’s actually going on within your veins, you and your vein specialist can determine the best plan to take care of any diseased veins.
You’ll want to keep in mind that varicose veins are chronic and progressive in nature. They cannot repair themselves, and can lead in a minority of patients (10% of our patient population at East Tennessee Vein Clinic) to more serious health issues like clotting, spontaneous bleeding, and skin issues if left untreated.
- What types of treatment are available?
Depending on the ultrasound assessment of your veins, the extent of venous disease, and the severity of your symptoms, your vein doctor may recommend treatments ranging from at-home self-care strategies, such as wearing compression stockings designed to benefit circulation, to more advanced procedures to eliminate the diseased veins.
All procedures can be done in the doctor’s office in about an hour, with little to no down time.
For medium to large varicose veins, an endovenous thermal ablative therapy may be recommended. With this procedure, Dr. Douglass will use heat from a laser fiber (EVLT) or a radiofrequency catheter (RFA) to actually close diseased veins, effectively rerouting blood flow naturally through healthy veins.
When there are large visibly bulging varicose veins that are too twisted for endovenous thermal ablation, an ambulatory phlebectomy, or microphlebectomy, may be performed. With this procedure, the vein specialist makes a small needle puncture over the vein to remove the bulging portion of the vein. No scalpel is used nor are there stitches.
It may be also recommended that your veins be treated with Ultrasound Guided Foam Sclerotherapy (UGFS). This is a highly effective procedure in which a foamed sclerosant is injected into the diseased veins, causing them to close down. Over time, the veins narrow to a fibrous thread and are not visible since they’re beneath the skin.
Most people require a combination of one or more of these treatments to thoroughly eliminate their varicose veins and reduce the risk of recurrence.
With all of these varicose vein procedures, there is no need for general anesthesia, scalpels, or stitches. The procedures are performed in-office and are minimally invasive, using only local anesthetic or, in some cases laughing gas, and require little or no down-time. Plus, insurance typically covers the procedures.
- How experienced is my doctor?
When it comes to finding the right specialist to treat varicose veins, this is a crucial consideration. Although many health care professionals perform these procedures, not all are varicose vein specialists. You want to ask who will be performing the procedure, what their experience is, and what kind of results you should expect.
Be wary of doctors who claim that one procedure, typically EVLT or RFA, will fix all your problems. Some physicians and surgeons tend to only treat varicose veins with a single treatment, and patients are usually dissatisfied with the result either in the near or long term.
Ask your vein specialist how they plan to eradicate the root cause and full extent of your varicose veins so that you have as little chance of disease progression and/or recurrence as possible.
- What are the risks with treatment?
All the varicose vein procedures mentioned above are performed at East Tennessee Vein Clinic and are minimally invasive, requiring only a local anesthetic. Your doctor will take into consideration your overall health, your history, and any specific concerns that are unique to you.
By taking the time to get to know you and your concerns, we’re able to adjust your treatment plan according to what serves you best and makes you most comfortable while delivering the best possible outcome. You can expect some bruising, which will go away in a couple weeks. Your vein specialist will tell you if you need to apply any bandages and what you should be aware of in the days following your procedure.
Thanks to advances in how varicose veins are treated today, most procedures are completed in about an hour, and most patients can resume normal activity with little to no down time. It will be recommended that you wear compression stockings for a period of time, typically two or three weeks.
Some patients come to our office with special risks such as prior deep vein thrombosis or clotting disorders. Dr. Douglass and the staff are very familiar with the special needs of such patients.
- What are the risks without treatment?
Keep in mind that varicose veins cannot repair themselves, and the continued progression of vein disease will lead to a slow but gradual worsening of current symptoms you are experiencing as well as a gradual increase in the size and number of failed veins. For some patients, this can also lead to increased swelling, leg rashes, sores and ulcers, bleeding or clotting.
You will want to ask your doctor if there could be worsening problems if you don’t pursue vein treatment. If left untreated, varicose veins may interfere with your mobility and overall quality of life.
- What results can I expect?
Depending on your assessment and procedure, treatments can be effective very quickly. Patients pursue varicose vein treatment usually for a combination of three reasons—how their legs look, how they feel, and how severely their daily lives and activities are being affected. We will discuss how the best treatment plan for your unique factors will improve how your legs may look and feel, and the long-term considerations for your optimal health.
- What’s the cost?
You may be surprised to know that most varicose vein treatments are covered by insurance. Our staff will communicate with your insurance company to ensure that you receive the best possible coverage.
At East Tennessee Vein Clinic, you’ll find the help you need so that you don’t have to suffer from symptoms such as swelling, aching, throbbing, heaviness, or restless legs. When our patients learn that today’s advanced treatments are quick and require little to no down time—plus are typically covered by insurance—they’re glad they didn’t delay treatment any longer.
As the first physician dedicated solely to the treatment of varicose vein disease in Tennessee, Dr. Douglass and East Tennessee Vein Clinic lead the region in experience and expertise of varicose veins. We treat varicose veins differently than other clinics precisely because of our dedication to treating the root cause and the full extent of each patient’s varicose vein disease AND because it is the only thing they do. You treat things with a different level of care when your entire practice revolves around one thing-varicose veins.
Visit us online at East Tennessee Vein Clinic, or request an appointment online today. We are offering free vein screenings for new patients through December. Please inquire about our free screenings when calling our office at 866-281-VEIN.