You’re not alone. Nearly 40% of the population suffer from Varicose Veins. Beyond that, it has been shown that women are three times more likely to have Varicose Veins than men. These painful unsightly veins don’t have to ruin your self esteem. In just a few visits, we can treat your Varicose Veins right here in our office.
The job of the veins of the leg is to channel blood back to the heart. Since the legs are generally lower than the heart, this process must occur against gravity. To prevent the blood from simply running down hill and pooling in the feet, the larger veins are equipped with a series of tiny one-way valves. For various reasons, mostly due to genetic weakness, these valves frequently fail to close all the way and allow blood to flow towards the feet instead of the heart. This backwards or reverse flow is called reflux. Over time it results in excess pressure (venous hypertension) in the leg and causes small veins to distend grossly into visible varicose veins which bulge out through the skin. The excess pressure also leads to pain, swelling, aching, burning, itching, cramps, superficial blood clots, inflammation and in some people restless legs syndrome. If left untreated long enough, skin changes occur and ultimately open sores or spontaneous bleeding may develop. Varicose veins affect nearly 40 per cent of the population. Due to hormonal factors, women are affected by this condition three times as much as men.
Following a physical examination and brief history, the modern evaluation for varicose vein disease is based entirely on the wonders of ultrasound technology. At Alaska Vein Care we use state-of-the-art ultrasound with color flow Doppler to determine the anatomy of the patient’s leg veins as well as the direction of blood flow. From this study we create a schematic—referred to as mapping– which permits us to determine the very best way to solve the problem. We do this at the first visit and the whole evaluation is performed in one location. Patients leave the office with a full understanding of their specific problem as well as the treatment plan.
Our treatment goal is to restore normal circulation in the leg. This is accomplished by closing the refluxing vein and eliminating locations where blood can pool (large varicose veins). EVLT (Endovenous Laser Therapy) is a technique in which a thin glass laser fiber is inserted into the refluxing vein. As the energy from the laser is delivered through the fiber and out the tip, the fiber is slowly withdrawn and the vein closes behind it. This is done in the office under local anesthetic. EVLT has emerged as the most popular technique in the country due to it’s high rate of success and excellent safety profile.
Bulging varicose veins just under the skin are removed by a second procedure done at the same time as the EVLT called micro-phlebectomy or ambulatory phlebectomy. This procedure, like EVLT, is done in the office under local anesthetic. A series of tiny punctures are made over the affected area and a special hook is used to remove the loops of vein. Cosmetic results are usually excellent.
Some veins are best treated by injection of a medicine which causes the vein to close through a scarring process which occurs on the inside of the vein wall. These medicines are called sclerosants. It is not uncommon to employ all three techniques – EVLT, micro-phlebectomy and sclerotherapy – on the same leg.
How do I know if laser treatment is right for me?
Can laser help with recurring vein problems if I have had my veins stripped in the past?
If the laser is used to close a vein, how does the blood from that vein get back to the heart?
Is the laser procedure painful?
Can varicose veins and spider veins be prevented?
How long does the procedure take?
Do I need someone to drive me to the office?
What can I expect for recovery?
Should I wait until I am finished having children to seek treatment?
Is the laser procedure dangerous?
Will treating my varicose veins get rid of my restless legs symptoms?
Are my ankle ulcers related to veins?
Will insurance pay for this?
What kind of compression stockings should I buy for the symptoms of varicose veins?
The vast majority of private insurance companies–as well as Medicare and Medicaid–include the treatment of varicose vein disease as a covered benefit. This includes the evaluation and diagnostic ultrasound as well as the laser (EVLT-endovenous laser therapy) and all other procedures needed to eliminate varicose veins, and the follow up visit. This is based on the understanding that varicose vein disease is the result of a significant derangement of the circulatory system of the leg, resulting in pain, swelling and other symptoms and is therefore a medical problem and not merely cosmetic. It is covered like any other medical condition and is subject to the plan deductible, co-pay, and co-insurance. Pre-authorization is required by most insurance plans prior to performing any procedures. Our staff will take care of all the necessary paper work.
Spider vein treatments, however, are considered cosmetic by all insurance plans and are not covered by any of them. FLEX spending and pre-tax MSA (medical savings account) money may be used to treat spider veins in most cases. We also accept credit cards and checks but do not offer payment plans for cosmetic procedures.