Varicose and spider veins are more than a matter of physical appearance – they may indicate a more serious medical condition is occurring within the vascular system.
What are varicose and spider veins?
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, blue or purple veins that are close to the surface of the skin. Your veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing toward your heart. If the valves are weak or damaged, blood can back up and pool in your veins. This causes the veins to swell, leading to varicose veins. Spider veins are smaller, red, purple, and blue vessels that are visible through the skin.
Who is more at risk for developing varicose and spider veins?
- Women, especially those over 40 years old
- Pregnant and menopausal women
- People with occupations that involve standing
- Individuals who are genetically predisposed
- Obese people
What are the symptoms and risk factors?
You may have a feeling of heaviness or tiredness in your legs, and your legs may ache or throb. You may also have swelling of your feet, ankles, and lower legs that gets worse throughout the day. This swelling is called venous stasis. Sometimes, your skin may be itchy. In some severe cases, ulcers or blood clots may develop.
When varicose veins clot, they may become painful, hard and discolored. This is called phlebitis. Clots associated with phlebitis are limited to surface veins, and are not dangerous. However, clots in the deep veins (deep vein thrombosis or DVT) are dangerous because they can travel to the heart or lung, and may require prompt treatment with blood thinners.
How are varicose and spider veins treated?
We treat varicose veins using the VenaSeal™ procedure, a system that delivers a small amount of a specially formulated medical adhesive to the diseased vein. Dr. Craig Miller, Vascular Surgery at Pardee, is the only physician in Western North Carolina performing this procedure, which is nearly pain free and done in less than an hour. For spider veins, we use a technique called Sclerotherapy, where a highly concentrated saline solution is injected directly into the vein, causing the vein to disappear gradually over the following weeks. The procedure is simple and relatively inexpensive.
How long is the recovery period after treatment?
There is no down time after the procedure. Most procedures take less than one hour, and normal activity is resumed immediately afterwards.
Is treatment permanent?
Both varicose and spider vein treatments are permanent, but no treatment can prevent new veins from occurring in the future.
Will treatment be covered by insurance?
Each insurance company and plan is different, with some covering varicose vein treatment if it is medically necessary. Other insurance companies require the patient to meet a deductible or pay the copay or coinsurance before they will cover treatment. For specific information on what your insurance plan covers, call us at 828-693-8019 and ask to speak with our patient financial services representative