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Misconceptions and Facts About Varicose Veins

  April 02, 2018

Submitted by Drs. Bohn, Nielsen, Castillo, and Wright, The Vein Specialists, LLC

Varicose and spider veins are conditions that affect millions of people. In the past, there were two available treatments for veins. For varicose veins, a procedure was used, called ligation and stripping, which involved multiple incisions and a long recovery time. For spider veins, injection with saline was used which was painful and caused significant complications of discoloration and ulceration. Over the last twelve years, both of these treatments have been replaced by state-of-the-art procedures that give excellent results with little or no downtime.

Varicose veins can now be treated with a laser treatment called EVLA (endovenous laser ablation), which closes the incompetent veins. Varicose veins are caused by breakage of valves in the veins. This leads to blood pooling in the lower leg veins, ultimately forming varicose veins. Spider veins can be due to valvular insufficiency and can be treated with sclerosing solutions with minimal side effects.

Despite the fact that these current treatment methods have been available for twelve years, there is still much confusion about the causes and treatment of varicose and spider veins.

Fact: Varicose Veins are a hereditary problem. The single most common cause of varicose veins is hereditary. Varicose veins run in family lines and a grandmother, mother, and daughter may all have varicose veins.

Fact: Varicose Veins are due to pregnancies. Pregnancies often lead to varicose veins because the pressure of the baby on the pelvic veins causes dilation of the veins, which leads to stretched valves. The valves lose the ability to close properly, and this results in varicose veins. The essential element in the cause of varicose veins is valvular insufficiency. Blood normally flows from the feet up the legs through a series of valves which open and close as the muscles contract. When these valves become weakened and over-stretched, not all of the blood goes through them. This leads to the formation of varicosities and spider veins.
Myth: Support stockings will make varicose veins go away. Support stockings are only a temporary measure. They will symptomatically help to compress varicose veins and spider veins and try to do the work of valves that have failed. If the underlying problem is valvular insufficiency, once the support stockings are removed, the primary cause of varicose veins continues.

Myth: Surgery is necessary to treat varicose veins. Prior to 2002, surgery was the only treatment for varicose veins. Now, surgery has been replaced by EVLA (endovenous laser ablation). Treatment is performed in an outpatient setting in the doctor’s office and the patient can drive themselves home and return to normal activities the following day.

Myth: Varicose veins will always recur. If varicose veins recur, it is usually due to new malfunctioning valves. More spider veins can grow during the course of a patient’s lifetime and these can be treated with sclerotherapy.

Myth: Only women have varicose veins. Although the majority of patients with vein issues are women, approximately 25 percent to 30 percent of our patients are men.

Myth: Varicose and spider vein treatment is strictly cosmetic. Varicose veins and many spider veins are due to valvular insufficiency as demonstrated by ultrasound duplex scanning. Symptoms may consist of pain, swelling, aching, cramping, itching, burning, and restless legs. These symptoms are not cosmetic and are actually due to a valvular defect, covered by insurance.

Varicose vein treatment is usually covered by most insurance companies, especially when the varicose veins are caused by broken valves.
If the patient has pain that has not been alleviated by support stockings, most insurance companies will cover the procedure. However, spider vein treatment is often considered cosmetic and is not covered by many insurance companies. Some will allow spider vein treatment, but the criteria are very strict. As with any medical procedure, one should always confer with their doctor and insurance company before undergoing treatment for either varicose or spider veins.

Contact The VEIN Specialists today at 309-862-4000 to schedule a consultation with one of their physicians or request an appointment online at They have convenient locations at 3302 Gerig Drive in Bloomington or 2011 Rock Street, Suite D2 in Peru. 
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April 02, 2018


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