Contact us today for your free MRI review*
We only accept PPO Insurances
Varicose veins are swollen veins that are sometimes blue, red, or flesh-colored. These veins often look like cords and seem twisted and bulging. They are usually swollen and raised above the facade of the skin. Varicose veins are often exposed on thighs, back of the calves, or the inner side of the leg.
Spider veins are like varicose veins but they are relatively smaller. However, they are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. Often, they are red or blue. These spider veins look like tree branches or spider webs with their short, irregular lines. They can be observed on the legs and face and cover either a very small or a very large area of skin.
Varicose veins are mainly caused by weak or damaged valves in the veins. Our heart pumps blood carrying oxygen and nutrients to the whole body through the arteries. Veins are the carriers that carry the blood from the rest of the body, back to the heart. When your leg muscles press, they push blood back to the heart against the flow of gravity from your lower body. Veins consist of the valves that act as one-way flaps to block blood from moving backward as it flows up your legs. If these valves get weak, blood can flow back into the veins and assemble there. (This problem is often called venous insufficiency.) When backed-up blood makes the veins bigger, they can become varicose. Spider veins are caused by the backup of the bloodstream. They can also be caused by hormonal changes, exposure to the sun, and after certain injuries.
There are many factors that increase a person’s chances of developing varicose or spider veins. These factors include:
Spider veins seldom are a severe health problem, but they can induce uneasiness in the legs. If there are symptoms from spider veins, most often they will be tingling or burning. Sometimes, spider veins are a sign of blood back up deeper inside that can’t be seen on the skin. If so, you could have the similar symptoms you would have with varicose veins.
Varicose veins less often cause any issues, or they just cause aching pain, throbbing, and uneasiness. However, varicose veins sometimes can lead to more severe health problems. These include:
When to see a doctor about varicose veins?
You need to see a doctor about varicose veins if:
If you’re having any of the above symptoms, even if it’s just a dull cramp, don’t prolong in seeking medical attention. Even if under any circumstances, you avoid seeing a doctor about your varicose veins, you must take proper measures to keep them from getting worse
How are varicose veins diagnosed?
Vein specialist NYC may diagnose your varicose veins after a thorough physical examination. You may be asked to stand or sit with your legs dangling for assessment. He or she may inquire about your medical history, symptoms, including any sort of pain at that time. Sometimes, you may be advised to go for several tests in order to find out the extent of the problem and to rule out the possibility of other disorders.
Your blood flow, veins’ structure and the signs of any blood clot may also be examined by conducting an Ultrasound. This medical test uses sound waves to capture live images from the inside of your body.
Rarely, your doctor can suggest you to have a Venogram. It is an x-ray test which shows a more detailed picture of blood flow through your veins.
If you are intended to treat your varicose veins, below is a list of several types of doctors you can see, including:
Each of the above mentioned medical specialists for varicose veins does some or all of the procedures for the treatment. You might consult your regular doctor to seek his or her opinion about the one you should opt for. You are also advised to check if your insurance plan would cover a particular treatment session or provider.
Treating varicose and spider veins?
Lifestyle changes and medical treatments are required when it comes to treating varicose and spider veins such as:
Following your doctor’s advice, you may avoid less acute symptoms of varicose veins by adopting lifestyle changes. However, if the conditions are severe or getting worst, you will definitely have to get medical treatments. Some treatment options may include:
Compression stocking puts helpful pressure on your veins and improves blood flow in the legs. There are 3 kinds of compression stockings:
Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical, medical procedure conducted to eliminate the appearance of spider veins or varicose veins. It involves injecting a liquid chemical directly into the spider or varicose vein using very fine needles. The solution stops the flow of blood causing the vein walls to shrink, scar and fade eventually. This treatment is relatively painless and can easily be performed in the doctor’s office without using any anesthetic. Patients are able to return to normal daytime activities right after the treatment.
The same vein may need to be treated more than once as the conditions differ from patient to patient. A typical sclerotherapy session lasts around 30-45 min and is repeated every 4 to 6 weeks. You will be instructed to wear gradient compression stockings immediately after sclerotherapy to help speed up the healing process. This minimally-invasive vein treatment offers immense value with best results and uncomplicated after-care.
Possible side effects include:
For most healthy patients, Sclerotherapy is safe with only mild, short term side effects which may include:
Another type of sclerotherapy called ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (or echo-sclerotherapy) uses ultrasound imaging to guide the needle, pinpoint damaged, deeper veins and treat them via injections of sclerosant. As a result, leaking veins that are otherwise hidden from plain sight collapse and close subsequently through the body’s natural healing process. Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is an outpatient procedure and normally takes about 15 minutes to perform. Possible side effects include skin irritation, mild pain, matting or blood trapping which may be treated with anti-inflammatory medications and compression stockings.
Surface laser treatments
Spider veins and small varicose veins can be treated effectively by using a non-invasive laser treatment. This technique delivers a focused beam of light through the skin onto the targeted vein. Heat from the light coagulates the vein causing it to slowly fade and disappear. This laser technique is not suitable or recommended for all skin types and colors.
There is little to no discomfort during the procedure. A compression dressing helps reduce the little burning sensations. Each treatment session lasts about 15 to 20 minutes. Most patients see effective results after two to six sessions spaced at about 4 to 6 weeks apart. Laser therapy treats smaller surface veins and usually isn’t suitable for varicose veins larger than 3 mm. Patients can return to work and other normal activities immediately after treatment.
Possible side effects of lasers include:
Endovenous techniques (radiofrequency and laser)
Over the last 10 years, endovenous techniques have been replacing traditional vein surgery operations for most patients by fixing the deeper, incompetent and superficial Saphenous veins. This whole process goes by a number of names and is referred to as the most effective and safest method for treating diseased or damaged veins. The vein ablation, minimally invasive procedure can be obtained under local anesthesia in an outpatient setting. No large incisions are required and the patients can immediately return to full activity.
The physician inserts a very thin tube, called a catheter, into the vein. A small probe is led through towards the varicose vein’s confluence. A device at the tip of the probe uses radiofrequency/laser energy to heat up the vein wall causing it to constrict and close itself. It stops the blood flow in the diseased vein which stays in its place and eventually, scars down. Blood is then redirected into the healthy veins around the closed veins, having the capacity to accept it. The whole procedure takes for about an hour to complete and a slight bruising might occur after the treatment.
According to the National Institutes of Health, endovenous techniques for venous disease have proved to be less complicated as compared to ligation, vein stripping, and other practiced methods, making them highly desirable treatment options for patients suffering from venous reflux.
The damaged valves in the veins cannot be treated so the best way is to remove the effected veins through surgery. It also involves the treatment and removal of very large varicose veins which doesn’t affect the blood circulation due to the deeper veins in the leg taking over the job. Varicose vein surgery requires general anesthetic and must be done in an operating room. The discomfort usually resolves within 12-15 days after the surgery.
Ligation and Stripping
In this treatment, patient undergoes a slanting cut about 4-6 cm long in the skin crease of groin. The top end of the faulty vein is tied shut through this incision preventing further blood flow (process known as ligation). A small wire is inserted into the vein and passed down to the knee level. The damaged vein along with the wire is then pulled out by making another small cut at the knee level (process known as stripping). The leg is bandaged from toe to groin at the end of the procedure. This technique prevents the cause and recurrence of varicose veins
In this treatment, an instrument called a PIN stripper is inserted into the damaged vein. The tip of the PIN stripper sewn to the end of the vein, pulls out the vein when it is removed,. This procedure can be done in an operating room or an outpatient setting using general or local anesthesia.
With ambulatory phlebectomy, varicose veins that are located just under the skin are targeted through tiny incisions or needle punctures, and hooks are used to pull the vein out of the leg. Only the parts of your leg that are being pricked will be numbed with anesthesia. The vein is usually removed in 1 treatment. Very large varicose veins can be removed with this treatment and typically leave nearly invisible scars. Patients can resume their work and activities immediately after treatment. Possible side effects of the treatment include slight bruising and temporary numbness.
All of the above mentioned surgeries are generally safe. Pain or stinging in the leg is the most observed side effect. Other possible problems may include:
The collected blood usually settles on its own and does not require any further treatment whereas blood stained leakage from the groin incision may take up to six weeks to settle
These clots can travel to the lungs and heart. The medicine heparin may be advised to prevent these dangerous blood clots. But, it can also increase the risk of normal amount of bleeding and bruising after surgery.
How to prevent varicose veins and spider veins?
It is not possible to prevent all sorts of varicose and spider veins. But, adopting life style changes is an easy way to reduce your chances of getting them and also to help ease discomfort from the ones you already have:
Can varicose and spider veins return even after treatment?
Current treatments for varicose veins and spider veins have very high success rates compared to traditional surgical treatments. Over a period of years, however, more abnormal veins can develop because there is no treatment for weak vein valves. Ultrasound can be used to keep track of how badly the valves are leaking (venous insufficiency). Ongoing treatment can help keep this problem under control.