Vein Disorders & Treatments: Frequently Asked Questions - Lawrence Memorial Hospital

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Frequently Asked Questions

How are the minimally invasive vein treatments different from vein stripping surgery?

Minimally invasive and non-surgical procedures like VenaCure EVLTVeinGogh and sclerotherapy do not require general anesthesia and are less expensive than vein stripping. Recovery periods are also much shorter than surgery, with less post-operative pain, less bruising and swelling, and a lower overall risk of complications.

What is VeinGogh?

The VeinGogh Ohmic Thermolysis System is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure for spider veins, fine telangiectasia, and small angiomas on the face, legs and other areas of the body. A safe, fast and effective procedure, VeinGogh uses a high-frequency current to deliver a quick “microburst” of energy, creating enough heat to collapse the vein wall, removing unsightly blemishes with little or no pain, and no recovery time.

What is VenaCure EVLT?

VenaCure EVLT is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency. Guided by ultrasound imaging, our physician inserts a special thin fiber through a very small entry point in the skin. A laser light is emitted through the fiber, and as the fiber is pulled back through the vein it delivers just the right amount of energy. This causes the vein to close and seal shut. Once the vein is sealed shut, blood then naturally reroutes to healthy veins.

Treatment takes less than an hour, and patients often report immediate relief of symptoms. Normal activities can resume right away with little or no pain.

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a fast and effective outpatient procedure for unsightly spider veins and varicose veins. A special chemical is injected into the varicose vein – this chemical damages the lining inside the vein and causes the vein to close. Sclerotherapy reduces symptoms and improves the skin’s appearance with very little discomfort and no down time.

Are treatments at Lawrence Vein Center covered by my insurance?

Most insurance plans do cover the cost of vein treatment procedures, in full or in part, if the treatment is deemed medically necessary. However, some insurance companies now require patients to wear prescription-strength compression stockings before authorizing coverage on more advanced therapies.

Some patients find compression stockings to be uncomfortable, and the experts at our vein clinic are happy to offer advice and techniques to help patients adjust and feel more comfortable.

Can I get treated for my vein disorder without having a procedure?

Compression stockings, or compression hose, are a simple way to treat disorders like chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, lymphedema and postphlebitis syndrome. They are also used to prevent blood clots in the leg (making them effective gear for long plane rides).

Compression stockings are specialized long socks worn from the foot to the knee or thigh. They have a gradient of pressure – tighter in the foot and gradually less tight at the knee – to constantly squeeze the leg muscles and drive blood back to the heart. When worn properly, compression stockings reduce swelling in the feet and decrease the chance of blood clot formation in the legs. They do not eliminate varicose veins but do help reduce the swelling, aching and heaviness that varicose veins often cause.

Because compression stockings drive blood away from the leg, patients who smoke, have diabetes or have decreased blood supply to the legs should not wear compression stockings.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are abnormally enlarged superficial veins usually seen in the thigh and leg – veins that connect with the deep veins of the leg and play a minor role in the transfer of blood to the heart.

What causes varicose veins?

There are valves in the veins that prevent the backward flow of blood back into the legs. When these valves become damaged or defective, the blood flows backwards and causes swelling and engorgement of the veins. Conditions that can lead to varicose veins include pregnancy, obesity, prolonged standing and trauma. Find out more about symptoms and prevention.

Can more serious problems occur if my varicose veins are left untreated?

In most cases, varicose veins are only a cosmetic nuisance. Most people with varicose veins do not develop serious complications. However, some additional problems can occur, such as:

  • Superficial thrombophlebitis – an inflamed and tender varicose vein, usually with a clot present in the vein
  • Bleeding – even with minor trauma, the varicose vein may bleed heavily if under high pressure
  • Venous eczema – dry, itchy skin around the vein
  • Venous pigmentation – brown staining of the skin around the ankle due to small amounts of blood leaking from the veins
  • Venous ulceration – ulcers at the ankle

How can I prevent varicose veins?

If prevention starts early in life, varicose veins may be avoided. Try the following techniques:

  • Exercise
  • Wear elastic support stockings or compression stockings
  • Elevate your legs 
  • During pregnancy, lay on your left side with your legs elevated on a pillow to prevent the baby from pressing on veins connected to your legs
  • Avoid standing or sitting for prolonged periods
  • Don't cross your legs when sitting down

Call Lawrence Vein Center at 785-856-VEIN (8346) for appointments, information and assistance.