New York Varicose Veins

New York offers the largest numbers of top level vascular specialists who deal exclusively with veins. The majority of these physicians are deeply committed to finding the most advanced, innovative, proven methods to treat varicose veins.

What are varicose veins?

There are 2 types of veins in the legs - the deep and superficial veins. It is the superficial veins that develop varicosities. Any condition that increases pressure in the superficial veins can lead to formation of varicosities. The veins have one way valves which regulate the flow of blood. Occasionally these valves breakdown and the blood starts to pool in the leg. With time, the branches of the vein also get engorged with blood and these veins can easily be seen on the thigh and leg area.

Varicose veins affect a large number of the American population-both male and female. These large superficial varicose veins are unattractive and may also cause the individual to have leg swelling and fatigue.

Varicose veins are more common in females and most prominent in the thigh and leg area. Occasionally they may even occur at the back of the leg. Varicose veins generally become more prominent in the 2nd or 3rd decade of life.

What generally happens to varicose veins?

In most cases, varicose veins once developed tend to progress with time. They start to become more noticeable and may cause symptoms. Once the veins have become large and "rope-like" it is very unlikely that they will resolve without treatment.

What causes varicose veins?

The basic cause of varicose veins remains unknown but is linked to increased venous pressure. In addition, the valves in the veins which normally prevent the back flow of blood also play a role. When these valves become damaged/defective, the blood starts to flows backwards into the leg and causes swelling and engorgement of the veins.

Who is at risk for varicose veins?

Individuals at the highest risk for developing varicose veins include:

- pregnant females- worse with multiple pregnancies

- obese individuals

- inherited –varicose veins do tend to run in families

- after leg trauma

- those who stand for long periods

- those with previous blood clot in the veins

What are symptoms of varicose veins?

Aside from being unattractive, varicose veins may be responsible for:

Leg aches: A feeling of heaviness or fatigue of the legs is a common complaint. The majority of individuals will complain of leg ache at the end of the day. Symptoms are often worse after prolonged standing and may also include feelings of fatigue, heaviness, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, and restlessness of the legs.

Skin discoloration: With time, darkening or hyperpigmentation around the ankle is a classic feature of untreated varicose veins.

With time, varicose veins can lead to the development of ulcers around the ankles which are very difficult to heal.

Phlebitis: Occasionally a clot will develop in the superficial veins and lead to inflammation of the vein. The leg may be tender and red.

Long standing varicose veins are associated with swelling of the lower leg and foot.

Itching: Itching is a common feature of varicose veins. This is most common around the ankles.

How can varicose veins be diagnosed?

Most of the physicians in New York Vein Clinics who deal with varicose veins utilize ultrasound to assess the vein. The test can rapidly assess if blood is flowing through the veins and in addition, it can also determine the presence of any blood clots.

Is MRI used to assess varicose veins?

Sometimes, the physician may perform magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to discover if there is any abnormal vein anatomy or the presence of varicosities in the vagina.

What are treatment options for varicose veins?

Most New York Vein Clinics offer all types of varicose vein treatment – including sclerotherapy, vein stripping, avulsion phlebectomy, and radiofrequency ablation therapy. At some clinics, emphasis is given to the whole body; rather than just looking at the varicose veins in the leg. In each case, your health needs will be evaluated and the underlying cause of your varicose veins will be determined. This approach provides for the best treatment for each individual patient

What is the short term treatment for varicose veins?

Compression stockings are ideal for someone who is undecided about surgery. Most cosmetic vein surgeons in New York are in the habit of encouraging their patients to undergo a trial of compression stockings. They do not cure varicose veins but prevent them from getting worse. In addition, they also relieve the symptoms of varicose veins. The only negative about stockings is that they are hard to get used to and must be worn everyday.

What is sclerotherapy?

An irritating chemical (saline or detergent solution), is injected into the vein causing it to collapse. However, sclerotherapy is not used to treat varicose veins. It is only used to treat spider veins. It requires multiple injections and is a slightly prolonged procedure.

What is ambulatory phlebectomy?

Ambulatory phlebectomy (also known as stabs) is a surgical procedure for removal of isolated large varicosities along the leg. Very small incisions are made over the leg and the swollen varicosities are then avulsed. Anesthesia is required for the procedure. After the procedure, a compression bandage is worn for 5-7 days.

What is vein stripping?

Vein stripping is a surgical procedure done under general anesthesia. Two or three small incisions are made and the entire vein is removed with special catheters (wire). The vein is stripped from the ankle to the thigh. Today, the procedure is done as an outpatient. After surgery, a compression bandage is worn for 3-5 days. Most individuals have to take 5-7 days off work. There is some pain after surgery but this is easily controlled with over the counter pain medications. The bruising and skin discoloration usually disappear within a few weeks. Vein stripping is ideal for an individual with large "rope-like" veins which extend from the groin to the ankles.

Is vein stripping a cure for varicose veins?

No. The chance of recurrence after stripping is small because some tiny vein branches may be missed. However, the small varicosities that do appear can easily be treated with an avulsion technique. If the surgery is done well, then the results are excellent.

What is radiofrequency ablation?

This relatively new procedure to treat varicose veins is also available in most New York Clinics. It is also known as the endovenous laser or Closure procedure. The procedure requires an ultrasound to guide a small catheter in the vein. The heat generated from the catheter destroys the vein. The procedure is fast, has minimal pain and has no down time.

Can varicose veins be prevented?

- The major preventive measure is to exercise and wear compression stockings.

- Elevation of the legs at all times is also recommended.

- During pregnancy, one should always lie on the left side with the legs elevated on a pillow.

This prevents the fetus from pressing on the leg veins and decreases the chance of

developing varicosities.

- Avoid standing for prolonged periods.

- Don't cross your legs when sitting down.

- Wear elastic support stockings

- Exercise and control your weight

Is Varicose Vein Surgery covered by insurance?

If one has symptoms of leg swelling, pain, ulcers or blood clots, then most medical insurance carriers and even Medicare will cover the cost of treatment. However, if the surgery is done purely for cosmetic reasons, then the cost of the procedure is not covered. The average cost of varicose vein surgery ranges from $ 200-600 depending on the type of procedure.

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