How Do I Know If Laser Treatment Is Right For Me?
“Veins that cause leg pain, swelling, recurrent superficial blood clots, bleeding, or ulcerations are prime candidates for treatment. Veins that cause other symptoms such as achiness, heaviness, and fatigue of legs, or veins that are cosmetically unappealing, may also benefit from treatment.”
If you schedule a consultation with our vein specialists, they will use ultrasound examination to determine whether venous reflux is present and will discuss all of your options with you at that time. Having an ultrasound is the only sure way to determine whether venous issues are causing the symptoms that you are experiencing.
Please schedule an appointment with one of our specialists today and find out if laser treatment is right for you!
Can Laser Help With Recurring Vein Problems If I Have Had My Veins Stripped In The Past?
The short answer is yes, in some cases. If you are continuing to experience symptoms after a vein stripping operation in the past, it is important to schedule a consultation to determine the cause through ultrasound examination. In some cases, veins can regenerate after vein stripping and when they do, they are rarely well-functioning veins. A vein specialist is the best person to help determine if laser treatment would be beneficial to you.
If The Laser Is Used To Close A Vein, How Does The Blood From That Vein Get Back To The Heart?
Your legs have two major types of veins; the deep system and the superficial system. Our deep veins run vertically within our muscles so every time leg muscles contract, they are driving blood back up to the heart. Superficial veins collect blood from our tissues and send it to the deep veins. There are thousands of superficial veins that create this network.
If one of these superficial veins has damaged valves that require treatment, other superficial veins have already taken over it’s job and the damaged vein is actually causing the other superficial veins and the deep veins to work harder by allowing blood to flow backwards. In reality, closing off a damaged vein makes your blood return more effectively back to your heart (American College of Phlebology, 2012)
Is The Laser Procedure Painful?
Local anesthetic is used during the procedure to prevent pain. Your vein specialist may pause at any time to administer more local anesthesia if needed. After surgery has been completed, most patients do well with ibuprofen for pain control. Occasionally a stronger prescription medication can be used to relieve pain in the first day or two after surgery. Wearing graduated compression stockings for the first two weeks after your procedure helps to provide support to your healing leg and relieves pain. You can expect to have some bruised and tender areas after treatment, especially if you require an ambulatory phlebectomy.
Can Varicose Veins And Spider Veins Be Prevented?
The major cause of varicose veins and spider veins for most patients is hereditary. There are conservative methods that can help to reduce the symptoms of varicose veins and spider veins such as aching, swelling, heavy or restless legs, but these methods do not prevent the progression of your venous disease.
How Long Does The Procedure Take?
The average time for the endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) appointment is about an hour and a half. Your vein specialist will first do a brief repeat ultrasound to determine access point and will mark any veins for phlebectomy or sclerotherapy at the time prior to beginning your treatment. If you do require extensive phlebectomy, the procedure appointment could take closer to 2 hours to complete.
Do I Need Someone To Drive Me To The Office?
You may drive yourself to and from your appointment if you elect not to have any anxiety relieving medication before or during the procedure. If you plan to use anxiety relieving medication you will require a driver to and from your appointment.
What Can I Expect For Recovery?
You can expect to return to normal activity quickly. Walking is encouraged, even on the day of treatment. You will experience discomfort that is relieved for most with over the counter pain medication such as ibuprofen or Tylenol. A few patients will require a stronger pain medication to get through the first few days. You will be required to wear compression stocking for a period of two weeks to aid in healing. You may experience some bruising, soreness, and tenderness at treatment sites. You may notice a tightening in your leg or a pulling sensation about two weeks into your healing process as your treated vein shrinks and begins the process of being reabsorbed into the body.
You can expect to be provided with your vein specialists cell number and email to contact them quickly should any questions arise during your recovery period. You will receive verbal and written instructions during your consultation and treatment visits with Alaska Vein Care.
Should I Wait Until I Am Finished Having Children To Seek Treatment?
Many women who have underlying hereditary tendencies towards developing venous disease symptoms have these symptoms exacerbated during pregnancy. Pregnancy has many characteristics that are detrimental to vein health including; increased blood volume to nourish the fetus and placenta, increased pressure in the abdomen and lower pelvis as the baby grows, increased amounts of estrogen and progesterone in the blood which both can damage vein walls, increased amounts of a hormone called relaxin which can also effect the health of vein walls, and decreased physical activity (American College of Phlebology, 2012).
Years ago women had few options for vein treatment if they were contemplating a pregnancy in the near future. As less invasive treatments for vein disease have evolved it has become more and more desirable to recommend treatment for a women with symptoms before becoming pregnant for the first time or in between pregnancies (American College of Phlebology, 2012).
If you are already experiencing symptons such as leg pain, swelling, recurrent superficial blood clots, bleeding, ulcerations, achiness, heavy legs, or bulging varicose veins; choosing to treat between pregnancies may eliminate the main source of venous reflux and make the next pregnancy more comfortable for you!
Remember that the most prevalent cause of varicose veins is heredity, and even successful treatment does not eliminate the genetic predisposition that may cause other veins to fail.
Is The Laser Procedure Dangerous?
Generally speaking, complications related to varicose vein treatment are rare. Possible complications may include allergies to medication used, superficial blood clots, infection which may occur with any surgery, or skin burns which can occur with any form of laser/light source treatment or sclerotherapy. Minor complications may include temporary discomfort, bruising, swelling, temporary discoloration, or blushing of the skin following treatment.
To understand more about the specific expectations of any varicose vein treatment, it is important to discuss your concerns with your vein care specialist. Although these risks are low in probability, no procedure is risk free (American College of Phlebology, 2014).
Will Treating My Varicose Veins Get Rid Of My Restless Legs Symptoms?
Treatment of varicose veins often relieves restless legs symptoms. Symptoms of venous disease such as achiness, heaviness of the legs, and swelling may cause legs to involuntarily move which at rest. This is your bodies attempt to cause your muscles to contract and send blood back to the heart. If this phenomena is the cause of your restless legs, treating the varicose veins will relieve those symptoms.
There are also neurological causes of restless legs syndrome. This type of restless legs symptoms will not be relieved by treating varicose veins.
Are My Ankle Ulcers Related To Veins?
Venous leg ulcers are caused when reflux causes the vein walls to stretch and weaken causing pooling of the blood for a long period in one place that eventually can cause tissue damage in the form of a skin ulcer. Venous ulcers are usually chronic and difficult to heal. They often appear on the inside of the leg (medial) above the ankle. They are shallow and can be painful.
Venous ulcers may be accompanied by brownish discoloration of the skin due to the leakage of the iron-containing pigment in red blood cells (hemosiderin) into the tissue. The wound itself is often irregular and there may be weeping discharge as the tissue fluid seeps from the wound. Approximately 10-20% of ulcers are arterial ulcers rather than venous. Your vein specialist can determine the cause of your ulcers and recommend you for treatment or follow up as is appropriate based on the type of ulcer that you have.
Will Insurance Pay For This?
Insurance will pay for treatments that are determined to be medically necessary. Some insurance companies require you to try conservative therapy options prior to seeking treatment. Treatment for varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency are usually covered by insurance, including Medicare, Medicaid, and Tricare. Treatment for spider veins and small varicose veins that do not require laser treatment are considered more cosmetic in nature and will not be covered by insurance.
Alaska Vein Care offers flexible payment options for treatments not covered by insurance. One of our billing specialists will be happy to options and help you to create a treatment plan that works for you! Call (855) 969-VEIN now for a consultation.
What Kind Of Compression Stockings Should I Buy For The Symptoms Of Varicose Veins?
You will need graduated compression stockings. They are not the same as support hose that you can find in a regular department store. These stockings apply more pressure to your legs than regular support hose can. They are “medically developed socks or stockings that provide a gradient of pressure against your leg. The highest pressure is at the ankle and the pressure gradually decreases higher on your leg.” (American College of Phlebology, 2012, p. 52). They come in a variety of strengths measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) the naming of which is based on the pressure applied to the ankle. The most commonly recommended strengths are 20-30 mmHg and 30-40 mmHg. The higher pressure at the bottom of your leg with graduated pressure going up the leg makes it easier for your body to pump blood up the leg and back to the heart.
Besides helping to pump blood more effectively up the leg, compression stockings also increase the pressure in the tissues under the skin, which reduces leaking of fluid into these tissues from the veins and encourages reabsorption of fluid back into the veins. In doing so, compression stockings help to prevent and reduce swelling in the legs.
Other reported benefits of graduated compression stockings include:
• Improvement of oxygen delivery to the tissues.
• Prevention of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in the deep veins).
• A decrease in the size of the veins, leading to diminished discomfort of the legs.
American College of Phlebology. (2012). Healthy Veins…..Healthy Legs: A patients guide to phlebology. San Leandro, California: American College of Phlebology.
American College of Phlebology. (2014). When and How are Veins Treated? Treatment of Varicose and Spider Veins: Patient Information, 6. San Leandro, California: American College of Phlebology.