Frequently Asked Questions
Does My Insurance Cover Treatment of Venous Disease?
Yes, most procedures for venous disease are currently covered by Medicare and private insurance. Obamacare takes effect in 2014. Beginning in 2014, many therapies for non life-threatening conditions, will not be covered by Medicare or private insurance. Treatment for varicose veins and venous disease will likely not be covered. The time to have your varicose veins and spider veins removed is NOW! Do you want to pay thousands of dollars next year for a treatment that you could have done today for FREE?
What is Venous Disease?
Simply put, venous disease occurs when the body has difficulty returning blood from the lower extremities to the heart. There are deep veins and superficial veins in the legs. The deep veins return approximately 95% of the blood and the superficial veins return approximately 5% of the blood. As the valves in the deep veins break down, there is a buildup of pressure in the deep veins. This leads to reflux of blood from the deep veins into the superficial veins. When there is reflux, the blood in the superficial system is actually going in the wrong direction. This leads to pooling of blood in the legs. The pooling can lead to varicose veins, swelling, dermatitis, and ulcers.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted rope-like veins that appear near the surface of the skin. While they can develop anywhere in the body, they are most commonly found in the legs and ankles because standing and walking increase pressure in the lower extremities. In normally functioning veins, tiny one-way valves open as blood flows toward the heart and close to prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves malfunction, blood pools in the veins, resulting in a buildup of pressure that weakens their walls and causes them to bulge. Over time, the increased pressure can cause additional valves to fail. This venous reflux, or venous insufficiency, leads to the development of varicose veins and spider veins.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider veins are similar to varicose veins, but are smaller and found closer to the skin’s surface. They take their name from their appearance, which resembles a spider’s web. Usually red or blue in color, they vary in size and can be found in other areas of the body besides the legs, including the face. Since spider veins are considered a cosmetic problem, removing them is not covered by insurance. Ask about our reasonable pricing for the miraculous Veingogh procedure. Vein Gogh wipes away spider veins in just minutes.
What is Venous Stasis Dermatitis?
Venous stasis dermatitis is another symptom of venous disease. Because of an inability to pump the blood out of the lower extremities, the blood pools in the veins of the lower leg. Fluid and blood cells leak out of the veins into the skin and other tissues. When these cells are broken down by the body they release hemosiderin which tattoos the skin a brown color.
What are the Causes of Venous Disease?
Unavoidable underlying causes of chronic venous insufficiency that can lead to varicose veins and spider veins include an inherited genetic predisposition and the normal aging process. Any condition that puts more pressure on leg veins – including standing for long periods of time, being overweight, or pregnancy – can also cause varicose veins or spider veins. Women are at greater risk than men due to hormonal changes that relax vein walls during pregnancy, pre-menstruation or menopause. Birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy may also increase the risk, as do a history of blood clots.
What are the Symptoms of Venous Disease?
Varicose veins and spider veins appear most commonly between the ages of 30 and 70. The first physical symptom is usually their appearance. As the disease progresses, the legs begin to feel heavy, tired and achy, and these symptoms worsen with prolonged periods of sitting or standing. Swelling is also a very common symptom of venous disease. Muscle cramping may be accompanied by a burning and throbbing feeling in the lower legs. Varicose veins can also cause a change in skin color (known as stasis pigmentation), dry and thinning skin, inflammation of the skin, open sores and bleeding. The most advanced form of venous disease is the venous stasis ulcer. This usually occurs in the middle portion of the lower leg just above the ankle. These ulcers often take over a year to heal. Luckily with endovenous laser therapy, we can shorten that time to healing and also reduce the risk of new ulcer formation.
What is the Treatment?
Proper medical evaluation and treatment of venous disease is important. Because chronic venous insufficiency is a progressive disease, symptoms will worsen if left untreated.
The evaluation includes a visual and physical examination of the legs and feet by a physician, who checks for inflammation, areas that are tender to the touch, changes in skin color, ulcerations and other signs of skin breakdown.
In most cases an ultrasound test is ordered to determine if the valves in the veins are functioning properly and to check for evidence of a blood clot. Also, we check for venous reflux to make sure that blood is not going in the wrong direction in the superficial veins.
If symptoms persist and treatment is required, additional tests are performed to determine the best approach for curative treatment. For decades, the only option was the in-hospital surgical ligation and stripping of the veins under general anesthesia. Today’s alternatives include less invasive procedures, like endovenous laser treatments. Varicose veins that remain visible or problematic after endovenous laser treatment can be removed completely in the office with microphlebectomy.
Is Endovenous Laser Therapy Invasive and How Long Will It Take?
This process is performed in office with a laser and is considered a non-invasive and non-surgical out-patient procedure. The procedure generally takes 15 minutes or less, but times can vary.
How Difficult is the Recovery?
There may be very minimal bruising or swelling. Most people return to their normal activities within minutes of the procedure. We encourage patients to walk as much as possible after the procedure. We prefer patients to keep their leg wrapped with an ace wrap immediately following the procedure to reduce the swelling.
Can I Shower After the Procedure?
Yes. Just remove the ace wrap, take your shower and reapply the ace wrap. There are no incisions, so you don’t have to worry about getting your legs wet.
Do Compression Stockings Help with Leg Swelling and Pain?
Yes. Remember that venous disease is caused by difficulty pushing blood out of the legs and back to the heart. Since there is no heart in your foot to pump the blood, your body depends on the valves in the veins and the muscle surrounding the veins. This squeezes the veins so that blood can be sequentially pushed out of the leg. Compression stockings assist in squeezing the leg veins and pushing the blood back to the heart. Leg elevation also helps. These prevent pooling of blood in the lower legs.