Frequently Asked Questions
How long will the treatments take?
A: The initial visit takes 45-60 minutes including a thorough ultrasound examination of the legs. The sclerotherapy sessions take 20 minutes each. The laser ablation procedure takes 1-2 hours. Ambulatory Phlebectomy procedure takes 30-45 minutes.
Depending on what the patient needs, some of these procedures can be done in one combined session or in follow-up sessions. Usually, a patient needs one session of laser ablation per leg followed by 3 to 4 sessions of sclerotherapy. If ambulatory phlebectomy is needed, it can be done with the laser ablation session or separately.
How much time will I need to recover?
A: There will be discomfort after laser ablation in the treated leg for 7-10 days, but is very well tolerated. Patients usually go back to work the next day. There may be discomfort in the leg treated for ambulatory phlebectomy for 2-3 days. Sclerotherapy sessions usually do not produce any discomfort after treatment
Are the procedures painful?
A: The laser ablation procedure and ambulatory phlebectomy are minimally invasive procedures and there is mild discomfort from the several needle injections. Local anesthesia is used to minimize any discomfort during the procedure. It is very well tolerated by the vast majority of patients. The patients are able to walk off the table and drive home. Sclerotherapy sessions are very well tlerated as well with a few needle injections in one session.
How much does it cost?
A: The cost will vary depending on how much treatment is needed. If approved by your insurance you will be responsible for the deductible portion of your insurance and copays for the office visits. Your insurance generally covers the initial consultation and exam as well. If you do not have insurance, we offer a free initial consultation with a brief exam to assess the extent of your disease. At this visit we can discuss with you approximately what you will need. We offer a credit plan through an outside credit company that can arrange a monthly installment plan. The cost can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. It all depends on what needs to be treated which can be discussed at the initial consultation.
Will my insurance cover my treatment plan?
A: Most insurance plans cover treatment if there is medical necessity such as leg swelling, pain, aches, skin discoloration and if reflux is demonstrated on the ultrasound examination. Usually, insurance will require 3-6 months of wearing compression stockings to see if it helps alleviate the symptoms. Insurance does not usually cover treatment for cosmetic reasons such as small spider veins. However, sclerotherapy for larger blue and bulging reticular veins that are symptomatic is covered.
Will my varicose veins and spider veins return after treatment?
A: Oftentimes varicose and spider veins do return after some time. These can easily be treated again with sclerotherapy sessions. However, with treatment of the refluxing greater saphenous vein, there is usually permanent relief of symptoms arising from this vein, which is normally the major cause of symptoms. Other smaller veins may arise later that can be easily treated with a sclerotherapy session at a later time.
Am I at risk for developing varicose veins and spider veins?
A: Risk factors for developing varicose veins and/or spider veins include having relatives that have varicose veins, standing for long periods of time, wearing constrictive clothing, excessively crossing your legs, being physically inactive, smoking, being overweight, and pregnancy
Can varicose veins be prevented?
A: There is no effective way to prevent varicose veins. However, symptoms may be alleviated, but not cured, by wearing compression stockings, elevating legs or avoiding standing for long periods of time.
What can happen to varicose veins if left untreated?
A: If varicose veins are left untreated, they can advance to a level where there is extreme discomfort and swelling at the ankles. Eventually, the skin on the inside of the ankles becomes darkened and, if left untreated, will turn into a skin ulcer that can be difficult to heal without treating the underlying cause of the varicose veins.
Are there any side effects or adverse effects from these treatments?
A: There are a few possible side effects of the treatments. With the laser ablation treatment, there is a small possibility of numbness of the skin around the treatment site. This numbness may or may not disappear. Also, there is a very small chance of developing a clot in the deep veins. This can be a serious complication. To avoid a clot, a follow-up visit is scheduled three days and seven days after the procedure.