Frequently Asked Questions
What causes varicose and spider veins?Many factors cause varicose veins. Although some causes are unknown, heredity and family history causes are common. Other contributing factors are gender, trauma to the leg, age, obesity, and occupations and activities that involve lots of standing. In women, pregnancy and hormones (but not birth control pills or hormone replacement) can contribute.
Will my varicose veins get better on their own?Unfortunately, once a vein has become damaged and has become a varicose vein it will never function properly again. Compression stockings and some treatments may improve pain and swelling, however, compression stockings will not improve or correct the actual condition of your varicose vein.
How are varicose veins treated?There are many different treatments, and the best treatment may be different for each patient. Generally, smaller veins are injected and larger veins are either sealed closed or removed.
Can varicose veins come back?Specific varicose veins that are treated effectively do not come back, but nothing prevents your body from forming new varicose veins. If new varicose veins do form and become a problem, they can be treated, too.
What happens to treated varicose veins?Once a varicose vein is treated, it is absorbed by your body.
Where does the blood go after the veins are treated?Your body has thousands of veins to help return blood to the heart. Blood flow in varicose veins is sluggish and not normal. Once the unhealthy varicose veins are treated, the blood will be re-routed into healthier veins and your blood flow will actually improve.
What happens to untreated varicose veins?One thing we know is that varicose veins do not go away on their own. In fact, it is a progressive disease, so often they only get worse. We know that 20 percent of varicose veins worsen and may eventually cause skin damage and leg ulcers.
I have had my veins treated and stripped before. Why am I still having a problem?The venous system in your legs is made up of thousands of interconnecting veins all aimed at directing blood from your legs to your heart. There are many reasons why the new veins are now abnormal and causing a problem. Veins that were previously normal may have become abnormal since your last procedure. There is a possibility that with your last procedure, you had abnormal veins that were not causing a problem then, but have now become a problem for you. Also, since your stripping procedure, your body may have made new veins that now may have also become abnormal.
Does crossing your legs cause varicose veins?No, this is an old wives' tale. Crossing your legs does not create enough pressure in your leg to cause your veins to become damaged.
Does wearing knee high stocking or socks with a tight band cause varicose veins?No, this is another wives' tale. Although a tight band across an existing varicose vein can be uncomfortable to existing varicose veins, the stocking or sock band does not create enough pressure to damage a vein.
Do I need my veins for heart bypass?Abnormal veins are not useful to a heart surgeon. Any veins that would need vein treatment are already diseased and could not be used for heart bypass surgery and other options would be used.
How do I prevent varicose veins?You may not be able to completely prevent varicose veins from occurring, but there are ways to decrease your chance of having them. A few things you can do: improve your overall health, exercise to help pump blood back to your heart (thus preventing the blood from pooling in your veins), and maintain a healthy weight.
How do I begin treatment?After your initial consultation, depending on your examination and diagnosis, a treatment plan and options will be discussed. Your questions will be answered, and we will advise you about the best way to proceed.
How do I know which treatment is best for me?There are many treatments, each aimed at effectively treating specific vein problems. After careful evaluation and diagnosis of your problem, the best treatments will be discussed and recommended. Treatment may include the combination or series of treatments.
Why do I need an ultrasound?Frequently varicose and spider veins on the surface of the skin are caused by deeper veins that may be abnormal and the root of the surface vein problem. The ultrasound is able to look at larger veins you cannot see that lie beneath the surface of the skin. In fact, many patients who come in for cosmetic reasons actually have deeper veins that are abnormal and are the root of the problem. The ultrasound not only determines whether the deeper veins are functioning correctly -- it can map your deeper veins to help your doctor treat you more effectively.
Will my insurance pay for treatment?Insurance reimbursements depend on your particular insurance company, as well as the specifics of your individual insurance policy. Not only is each policy different, the philosophy of each insurance company is also different. After completing your physical evaluation and diagnosis process, if treatment for your condition is recommended we will gladly submit a claim to your insurance company for you. After the claim is submitted, your insurance company decides whether the recommended treatment/claim is medically necessary and part of your individual coverage. Once the claim has been submitted for your insurance company's approval, most insurance companies allow up to 30 days for their approval process to be completed.
Also, insurance companies may require different pre-certification prior to approval of the treatment. Some may require photographs of your venous condition be submitted with the treatment request/claim. Most require you have a trial of conservative treatment (compression stockings) for two to six months prior to their approval of the treatment.
If the ultrasound shows you have abnormal veins and you are having a medical problem like pain, swelling, severe skin changes, leg ulcers, etc., most insurance companies will eventually approve the recommended treatments. Also, treatment claims for more severe conditions, like leg ulcers, may actually be approved faster than usual. One thing to be clear about: none of the insurance companies will pay for cosmetic treatments.