Q & A

Q & A

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Hiking after vein treatment

How do I know if I have vein disease?

Most patients come to realize they have vein disease either by visually recognizing an abnormal vein, or by experiencing symptoms.   Varicose veins bulge under the skin and may or may not cause discomfort.  Deeper veins may require ultrasound scanning to be measured and tested for competence.  Telangectasias or spider veins are dark red to purple in color, and are easily identified.  Reticular veins are greenish-blue, slightly larger than spider veins, and visible beneath the skin. Usually these two types of veins do not cause discomfort, but may be treated with sclerotherapy for cosmetic reasons.

How common is vein disease, and what is the cause?

Vein disease of the legs is quite common, and increases with aging.  Approximately 50% of people over fifty years of age have some degree of vein disease.  Vein problems are somewhat hereditary.  More women than men have problem veins because of hormonal influences, and pregnancy.  Vein problems may be aggravated by obesity, pregnancy, and jobs requiring long periods standing in one place.

What are the treatment options for vein disease?

Depending on the type and severity of vein disease there are several options for treatment.  They include compression stockings, sclerotherapy, surgical stripping, microphlebectomy and endovenous laser ablation. 
Read more here.  Your physician can explain all of these options, and help you find the right treatment for you.

What happens if varicose veins are not treated?

Varicose veins generally worsen slowly over time.  Initially, mild symptoms may be present or not.  If untreated the pain may increase, leg swelling or nighttime cramping may occur, standing for long periods will become more uncomfortable and even walking may be limited.  Eventually, about one fifth of people with venous insufficiency will suffer skin breakdown and ulceration, usually around the ankles, which can be painful, very difficult to heal and even limb threatening.

What are the complications of vein treatment?

Fortunately, Sclerotherapy and Endovenous laser ablation are rarely associated with serious complications, but all medical procedures carry risks which should be thoroughly discussed with your doctor before proceeding.  At the Vein Center you will receive Consent for Treatment form which outlines potential risks and side effects.  Be sure to review it, and ask any questions you have.

The most common side effect of any type of vein closure is hyperpigmentation.  This is a darkening of the skin over the closed vein, caused by the reabsorption of the vein into the surrounding skin.  This occurs more often in people with pigmented skin, but can happen to anyone.  The darkening fades over time, but that may take months to years. The risk of hyperpigmentation can be minimized by using sun block or keeping treated areas out of the sun for at least one month after treatment.