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What is Vein Disease?

Veins are the blood vessels that return blood to the heart from the body. To overcome the force of gravity, inside the veins are one-way valves which open to allow blood flow to the heart, and close to prevent “reflux” of blood back to the body. When these valves fail to function, or if the vein is damaged so the valves do not completely close, blood can begin to pool, flow backward, or reflux in the vein and cause a variety of vein complications. An abnormal circulatory condition with decreased return of blood from the leg veins up to the heart, with pooling of blood in the veins is called venous insufficiency.

What are the different types of vein disease?

Spider veins are the small, thread-like colored veins that are most often seen on the surface of the skin. While many people seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons, spider veins also can result in substantial discomfort requiring therapy.

Varicose veins are the large, “rope-like” veins which are often 1/4” or larger in diameter that have lost their valve effectiveness

as a result of dilation under pressure. Varicose veins generally grow in size over time and can result in substantial pain and complications if not treated.

What are the symptoms of varicose veins or venous insufficiency?

The most common symptoms caused by venous insufficiency and varicose veins include aching pain, easy leg fatigue, leg heaviness, cramps, restlessness and swelling of the legs all of which worsen as the day progresses. Many people find they need to sit down in the afternoon and elevate their legs to relieve these symptoms. In more severe cases, venous insufficiency and reflux can cause skin discoloration and ulceration which may be more difficult to treat. One percent of adults over age 60 have chronic ulceration.

How common is venous disease and varicose veins?

Chronic venous disease of the legs is common. Approximately half of the U.S. population has venous disease – 50 to 55% of women and 40 to 45% of men. Of these, 20 to 25% of the women and 10 to 15% of men will have visible varicose veins. Women have higher incidence of vein disease than men. Varicose veins affect 1 out of 2 people age 50 and older, and 15-25% of all adults. People without visible varicose veins can still have symptoms. The symptoms can arise from spider veins as well as from varicose veins, because, in both cases, the symptoms are caused by pressure on nerves by dilated veins.

Who is at risk for varicose veins?

Risk factors include age, family history, female gender and pregnancy. In women, pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies, is one of the most common factors accelerating the worsening of varicose veins.

How do I know if I have vein disease?

Fortunately, most vein disease can be seen by looking at the size and color of the vein at the skin surface. In some cases, however, the diseased vein may be deeper in the body and not visible through the skin. As a result, paying close attention to other symptoms is important in diagnosing vein disease. Many patients with vein disease experience cramping, aching, burning, itching, soreness or “tired” or “restless” legs, especially in the calf muscles. If you experience these symptoms, we can quickly and easily perform a test to determine if you have disease.

How is venous insufficiency diagnosed?

We use duplex ultrasound to assess the venous anatomy, vein valve function, and venous blood flow changes, which can assist in diagnosing venous insufficiency. We map the greater saphenous vein and examine the deep and superficial venous systems to determine if the veins are open and to pinpoint any reflux. This helps us determine if you are candidate for a minimally invasive treatment, known as Endovenous Laser Vein Treatment.

What are the treatment options for vein disease?

Depending on the type and stage of vein disease, there are many different treatments. During your initial free consultation, we can explain in detail all of the options. The following are common treatments performed for vein disease:

What are the benefits of vein laser treatment?

The treatment takes less than an hour and provides immediate relief of symptoms. You can return to normal activity immediately with little or no pain. There may be minor soreness or bruising, which can be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers. There is no scar, because the procedure does not require a surgical incision, just a nick in the skin, about the size of a pencil tip.
Traditionally, surgical ligation or vein stripping was the treatment for varicose veins, but these procedures can be quite painful and often have a long recovery time. In addition, there are high rates of recurrence with the surgical procedures.

How successful is the vein laser treatment?

To date, the industry shows a 93% success rate. Over the last six years we’ve treated thousands of patients with a 100% success rate at our clinic. The efficacy rate is much higher than surgical ligation or stripping.

If the vein is closed by the treatment, where does the blood go?

Because there are many veins in the leg, the blood that would have flowed through the closed vein simply flows through other healthy veins after the procedure. The loss of the diseased vein is not a problem for the circulatory system.

What can happen if varicose veins aren’t treated?

Varicose veins generally worsen over time. Initially, slight pain and restlessness in the diseased leg will be felt. If untreated, this pain will increase and result in limitations in walking and cramps during sleeping. Eventually, varicose veins can lead to open sores on the foot, blood clots and tissue lost.

How does vein disease occur?

The single most important cause of vein disease is heredity. Approximately 70% of all patients with varicose veins have parents with the same condition. Pregnancy, especially multiple pregnancies, is a contributing cause of vein disease. Other factors influencing vein disease are age, obesity and jobs which require long periods of standing.

Can vein disease be prevented?

Generally no. If you have a family history of vein disease, there is nothing you can do to change your genes. Being overweight can accelerate the progression of vein disease, and long periods of standing can also add to the problem. Diet and footwear are generally believed to be irrelevant in the formation of vein disease.

What are the complications of vein treatment?

Fortunately, Sclerotherapy and Endovenous Laser Therapy have rarely been associated with any serious complications when properly performed. Common minor complications of these procedures include bruising, mild itching, tingling, tenderness and tightness in the treated leg for up to two weeks after the treatment.

Who should not be treated?

Patients should wait at least three months after pregnancy or major surgery before being treated for vein disease. Persons with deep vein thrombosis or incompetence, and patients who cannot ambulate for other reasons are not good candidates for treatment.

Does insurance cover vein laser ablation?

Most insurance carriers will consider coverage for venous insufficiency treatments, based on medical necessity for symptom relief.

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Locations

Chandler
2310 W. Ray Rd.
Chandler, AZ 85244
480.686.8121
Scottsdale
22455 N. Miller Rd. B100
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
480.686.8121

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