Varicose Veins are common in adults. Once they become visible, they, can worsen over time. Generally as time goes on, they can go from being a visible concern, to one where the varicose veins can contribute significantly to leg swelling, ache, tenderness and eventually skin discoloration or even wounds (known as venous stasis ulcers) that open, but do not heal easily. One you decide to go on your journey to seek treatment, there are three steps to treat varicose veins in 2019 you might consider.
Step 1: Find a treatment specialists who understands and is experienced treating varicose veins
In most cities, there are clinics staffed by “vein doctors.” Vein doctors can come from a variety of different backgrounds ranging from vascular surgery, vascular medicine, interventional radiology, dermatology or even primary care. What they all have in common is a commitment to the fulltime evaluation and management of patients with not only varicose veins, but also other vein disorders such as superficial vein thrombophlebitis (SVT), deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Most work in an outpatient setting where you can be seen, have the ultrasound evaluation you need to diagnose the vein problem, and undergo outpatient, minimally invasive treatment of your varicose veins. At Inovia vein, all of our doctors are board certified surgeons with extensive experience treating varicose veins.
Step 2: Get a definitive diagnosis and treatment plan
In most situations, your first visit with a vein doctor will involve their listening to your history, and looking at your varicose veins with you. They will be particularly interested in what symptoms you have (Swelling, ache, tenderness, burning), and how that impacts your quality of life or activities of daily living. When they look at your veins, they will be examine around your ankles and foot in particular, looking for brown or red skin that might suggest stasis dermatitis, any wounds or the degree of swelling. Often they will order a venous ultrasound, which is a specialized vascular diagnostic study where the ultrasonogrhapher maps out the normal and varicose veins and provides the vein doctor with information about the size of the veins, the degree of venous reflux.
These are factors that will help the doctor suggest a treatment plan for you. This treatment plan may involve just one procedure, or sometimes, depending on the numbers and locations of the veins that need to be treated, this may involve several procedures performed over several sessions. Treatment can involve Closurefast RFA, Venaseal, Varithena for the saphenous veins or sclerotherapy or phlebectomy for the branch veins. At Inovia Vein, our doctors will work with you to map out a treatment plan for you and let you know what to expect. Since many treatments are covered by insurance, we can work with your insurance company to seek preauthorization for any planned treatments and to help you work with your insurance company to determine coverage in advance.
Step 3: Minimize Downtime and Costs with the Latest Minimally Invasive Techniques
In the old days, varicose vein procedures were done by vein stripping. Vein stripping is a procedure done in the operating room that involves multiple large incisions from the groins to the ankles, lots of stitches, and due the extensive surgical trauma, required weeks and months to recover. Now, however, its much different. Most vein procedures can be done quickly in an outpatient clinic setting. We often break the plan up into several quick visits where the patient is in and out of the office in less than an hour. Because its done with local anesthesia, the patient walks in and walks out. No crutches or wheel chairs and large band aids are needed.
Most the time the patient takes it easy that night. They go home in a thigh compression stocking and elevate their leg that evening. However, the next day they can shower and get back to their normal activities. There may be some bruising and ache, but usually this can be treated with Advil or Ibuprofen. Although the patient can quickly get back to regular activities, the full healing process takes a few months as the treated veins are re-absorbed by the body. We tell patients this is a treatment, not a cure, as sometimes new varicose veins grow back years later and require additional treatment. However, most patient has a marked improvement in their venous symptoms (less swelling, ache, tiredness). Most patients think the legs look better, however, in some patients where they wish to be treated further for spider veins, additional sclerotherapy sessions can be performed.
Want to learn more?
Call our office at Inovia Vein and schedule a consultation. We have offices in Tigard, Oregon and Bend, Oregon scheduling patients now. Soon our third clinic will be opening in Portland, Oregon, and we are scheduling patients for that office as well.