Vein Removal FAQs
Written by Dallas Vein Specialists on January 15, 2015
At Dallas Vein Specialists, we receive many questions from prospective and current patients about the appearance of varicose or spider veins and the related treatment options. We want our patients to be educated and informed about their conditions, the treatment options and any related risks. With this in mind, I share the following frequently asked questions and responses:
What Is the Difference Between Varicose and Spider Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged, dilated and bulging veins that often have a twisting, winding appearance. They usually develop on the legs and feet, and are caused by valve dysfunction in one or more veins, often in the saphenous veins.
Spider veins are smaller, dilated blood vessels located on or near the surface of the skin. Spider veins often have a webbed appearance, may appear randomly and in clusters and are mainly found on the legs and feet; they can also be found elsewhere on the body, including on the face and chest.
Do Varicose and Spider Veins Pose a Health Threat?
Varicose veins are an indication of high pressure in the veins, called venous hypertension or venous insufficiency, that results from failure of the valves within the veins. Symptoms related to varicose veins include swelling, aching, fatigue, heaviness of the legs and, occasionally, cramping. In more severe chronic cases, changes in the skin texture and the color of the lower legs and ankles will occur. In advanced cases, painful open sores (ulcers) may develop. Spontaneous or minor injury-related bleeding from small varicosities on the lower legs may occur. The bleeding often causes panic because of the high venous pressure and the prodigious stream of dark blood produced when standing. Quickly elevating the extremity and putting some mild pressure on the bleeding vein with a finger will quickly stem the blood loss.
Spider veins are mainly a cosmetic concern, but they can cause symptoms. They may also be an indication of high pressure in the veins of the superficial venous network.
A duplex ultrasound exam will be recommended for patients with varicose veins and when venous insufficiency is suspected based on the symptoms or physical exam findings. Some patients with spider veins will be studied with ultrasound to verify the state of the deep and superficial venous systems.
What Can I Expect During My Consultation With Dr. Whiddon?
I explain the causes of varicose and spider veins as well as the physiology that is present. I also explain the treatment options and expected results. Visual aids serve to illustrate the important points.
During your private consultation, I will meet with you to hear your complaints about your vein problems, take a medical history and perform an examination, as well as perform certain diagnostic tests, such as an ultrasound exam, if indicated. Based on this information, I will recommend an appropriate treatment plan. In addition to explaining the treatment and any risks, I will explain your alternative treatment options. Finally, I will answer any questions you may have.
Are Treatments for Varicose and Spider Veins Painful?
Almost all patients of all ages are able to tolerate vein treatment, given that the treatments are minimally invasive. Most patients who undergo varicose vein operations using laser ablation vein treatment combined with removal of varicose veins prefer intravenous (IV) sedation. This technique employs non-narcotic agents that are safe and well tolerated. During the operation, the patient is monitored for blood pressure, pulse, cardiac ECG and arterial oxygen saturation. For some less-complex procedures, oral sedative agents and / or inhalation gases comprised of nitrous oxide and oxygen are used. In all cases of varicose vein treatments, local anesthesia is used as well.
For patients undergoing leg spider vein treatments using the CLaCS technique and for those having transdermal laser or VeinGogh facial spider vein treatments, skin cold anesthesia with the Zimmer Cryo unit reduces or eliminates the discomfort.
Is Vein Treatment Covered by Insurance?
Most insurance companies cover the treatment of varicose veins if there are related symptoms or tissue injury, such as severe dermatitis or ulceration. Rarely, a medical policy will specifically exclude varicose vein coverage. A Dallas Vein Specialist team member will verify and pre-certify any insurance coverage for vein treatment, explaining in detail what is and is not covered by your specific insurance plan.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. Whiddon to learn more about your vein treatment options, please contact Dallas Vein Specialists by calling (214) 221-9222.