Having varicose veins can be uncomfortable; many people find them unsightly, so they wear clothes to keep them covered even in hot weather. Other people experience pain within the veins, which makes enjoying normal activities difficult. At Vein Specialties in St. Louis, Missouri, Dr. Norman Bein and his staff want to help people reduce their discomfort and improve their appearance with skin rejuvenation treatments specifically designed to eliminate varicose and spider veins. Many patients have questions about these treatments, so we've answered a few of them here.
What are varicose veins?
When blood vessels close to the surface of the skin become enlarged, they are known as varicose veins. They can be blue, purple or red in color; the larger veins can be "ropey" and "puffy" and the smaller capillaries appear as tiny web-like strands known as spider veins. Some varicose veins can be painful, especially after long periods of sitting. Your St. Louis vein specialist can typically diagnose varicose veins through a quick ultrasound examination and discussion of your medical history.
Will varicose veins go away on their own?
Women often develop varicose veins during pregnancy due to hormones; many times, these veins recede after birth. However, most people have a genetic predisposition to varicose veins, meaning that if your parents or another close relative dealt with them, your own chances of having them are fairly high. Unfortunately, there's not much you can do to prevent varicose veins, and they typically worsen with age.
How can my varicose veins be treated?
There are several ways our St. Louis vein specialists can treat your varicose veins. Laser treatments or minimally invasive surgical procedures are performed in-office, and insurance covers painful varicose vein treatments. Recovery times short and the results more quickly apparent. All the treatments available are aimed at collapsing the varicose veins, which will then cause the body to absorb them. The discoloration and discomfort associated with the veins will be minimized or eliminated, giving your skin a more youthful appearance.
If you're tired of dealing with varicose veins, we here at Vein Specialties in St. Louis, Missouri, can help you! Contact our office to schedule a consultation appointment today!
Do you have unsightly varicose veins? Find out how they could be eliminated.
Varicose veins: this unsightly little issue may not be serious to your health but it can make you embarrassed to wear shorts or skirts during the warmer months. Varicose veins is an inherited condition. While anyone can get varicose veins, these visibly enlarged veins tend to affect women more. If you have varicose veins that you desperately want to get rid of, our St. Louis, MO vein specialist, Dr. Norman Bein has answers on how to treat this cosmetic issue.
What can cause varicose veins?
There are many things that can be responsible for the development of varicose veins including:
- Hormonal fluctuations (e.g. pregnancy; menopause, taking birth control pills)
- Occupations that require you to stand for long periods of time
- A personal history of blood clots
- Trauma to the skin
What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
Those with varicose veins are also more likely to experience cramping, pain, restlessness, burning, tingling or even heaviness in their legs. Those with varicose veins may find that their symptoms actually get better when elevating their feet or when wearing compression stockings.
What are some ways to treat varicose veins?
Firstly, an evaluation by a board-certified surgeon, vascular trained like Dr. Norman Bein is important. This will include an ultrasound examination. We also have a Vascular Technologist that performs their own exams at the same time as your visit. If there are symptoms such as heaviness, aching, pain, cramping, skin discoloration and restlessness we will recommend a trial of conservative treatment including compression hose, exercise, elevating legs, or taking an anti-inflammatory medication such as Advil or Aleve.
Compression stockings: You can find these medical stockings at your local pharmacy in many different styles and they can help to reduce some of your pain and discomfort.
Changes to your lifestyle: If obesity is causing your varicose veins, you can manage your symptoms by dedicating time and energy to exercise, eating healthier and losing weight to maintain a healthier weight.
The length of time varies from insurance plans. All the treatment options will be discussed but they are all done in the office under local anesthetic. Walk in, walk out. Recovery time is short and most people are out and about the next day. If we have found an underlying reflux (backflow) in a saphenous vein, this is sealed from the inside using a laser. The actual varicose veins are removed through tiny punctures, no stitches needed. After healing, there will be little or no marks and you are ready to show off your legs.
If you want to finally say goodbye to varicose veins then it’s time you scheduled a consultation with Vein Specialties in St. Louis, MO. Revel in the freedom of being able to confidently wear shorts and bathing suits again!
How long do the results of varicose vien treatment last?
QUESTION: I'm in my early 30's. My doctor said that my varicose vein will be a lifelong problem because it is inherited and genetic. If I get treated, how long can I expect the results to last? How often would I have to go in to get EVLT treatments?
ANSWER: Your doctor is correct that this is an inherited condition. There are really only 4 main veins (long and short saphenous veins in each leg) which are affected although there are some branches which can also be a problem. If you have symptomatic varicose veins caused by the reflux (pain, heaviness, aching, cramping, swelling, RLS etc) and have failed conservative therapy such as compression hose, anti-inflammatory pain meds, elevating, exercise, weight loss etc. you are a candidate for laser ablation. Not everyone has all of the veins causing problems and only veins leading to the symptoms should be treated. We often see people for second opinions who have been told they need to have 7 or 8 ablations and multiple injection treatments. It is very rare that a person has all of these veins fail and those that do are severely affected by them. if you have one saphenous vein causing your varicose veins directly, that would be the vein Dr. Bein would ablate first. You can always be evaluated later if symptoms start again in another area.
How can you tell if spider veings are a sign of venous reflux/insufficiency?
QUESTION: Aside from an ultrasound exam, are there any telltale signs that they could be something deeper? I have several spider veins on the outside of both thighs, and 3-4 on the back of my right knee. My mom has had spider veins since she was in high school, but I only noticed mine a couple months ago. I'm 28. I currently have no symptoms, but am terrified that it could be a sign of something more serious. I've read that they can also occur without venous reflux?
ANSWER: The spider veins on the outside of the thighs are very common in women. These are in the line of the lateral subdermic system and are easily treated with sclerotherapy (injections). It is rare to find them related to anything serious and are considered cosmetic. The few you have behind the knees are most likely from the same system. We evaluate all patients with spider veins to rule out deeper problems which will allay your anxiety. We use transillumination to see the "feeder" veins below the surface and treat these.
I have spider veins in my leg, but they are not painful, shoud I be concerned?
ANSWER: Do not be concerned. Spider veins are not a serious problem and mostly cosmetic. These can be treated safely with injection sclerotherapy and/or laser. Several treatments are usually needed, but this varies from person to person. The reason most people come to our clinic is for self-esteem - they are too embarrassed to wear short skirts, pants or swimsuits.
Can I get compression stockings over the counter from a pharmacise if I've been measured?
QUESTION: I suffer from varicose veins in my lower legs and also thighs. One leg is more swollen than the other, with the veins being quite prominent and painful. Do I need to get a referral from my general practitioner to be measured for compression stockings, or can I go into my local pharmacy to get measured for them and purchase them? My GP has mentioned that I may find them beneficial.
ANSWER: Firstly, I would recommend you be evaluated by a vascular trained surgeon including ultrasound to see if you have an underlying venous reflux problem (back flow in veins). He/she will be able to recommend the most appropriate strength and type of hose (thigh or calf length). Many clinics will dispense a higher grade of hose than the local pharmacy and this is important for comfort. We choose to carry Sigvaris. If the hose are not correctly measured or comfortable you will not wear them. Compression is important is establishing if the symptoms are alleviated somewhat prior to treating and for insurance coverage. Also, if there is reflux it means blood is not flowing correctly and this can cause superficial blood clots which are painful. Hose will keep the varicose veins compressed and improve the blood flow in the legs not to mention you will be more comfortable.
I have a large blue vein under my right eye that I'm finally ready to get rid of. I'm not sure if this requires a plastic surgeon or vascular surgeon.
ANSWER: Treatment of blue veins around the eyes is an advanced technique and should only be performed by experienced practitioners. They can be injected (sclerotherapy), removed (phlebectomy) or treated with laser. We mostly use a laser in our clinic with excellent results but in some cases use the other two modalities. We have undergone advanced training to do so and use the Cutera 1064 Yag laser.
No compression hose after small microphlebectomy
QUESTION: I have 2 small reticular veins that are varicose. My doctor is going to do a Microphlebectomy. He said due to the size it won't even be necessary to wear compression hose after. He also stated there is no chance of DVT. Does this sound accurate?
ANSWER: I am sure you will have a dressing on the area after the treatment for several days. If the areas is limited you may be ok without hose. While there is little or no risk of DVT from such a small and limited area, you will find this on your consent form which is routine for almost any procedure (including dental).
The veins in my legs hurt and swell so much during my menstrual cycle that it's hard to walk. What's going on?
QUESTION: I'm 26 and have 2 kids. The veins in my legs hurt and swell so much during my menstrual cycle that it's hard to walk. What's going on?
ANSWER: During menstrual cycles and pregnancy the veins dilate. Since you have had 2 pregnancies, it is possible that you have venous reflux causing swelling and pain. There are valves in the veins which carry the blood back to the heart for re-oxygenation and if they fail (usually an inherited condition made worse by pregnancy) the blood "pools" in the lower legs. I would recommend an evaluation including an ultrasound to see if this is the case. Either way, they can measure and fit you into a compression stocking (not your grandmother's stockings!!) to be worn a few days before and through your menstrual cycle. Taking Ibuprofen 200- 400 mgs several times a day will help reduce the inflammation and pain. Elevating your legs often will also help. If you have venous reflux, the treatment options are all minimally invasive, little or no down time (important if you have small kids) and covered by most insurance plans.
When you have spider veins, the last thing you want to do is wear clothing that reveals your legs. Luckily, dermatologists offer treatments that can minimize the appearance of the veins and help you feel more confident when you wear shorts or skirts. Dr. Norman Bein, your St. Louis, MO vascular surgeon at Vein Specialties, shares information about spider veins and treatment options.
What are spider veins?
Those wispy red or blue veins that appear just under your skin are caused by dilated blood vessels. They can develop when injuries, changing hormone levels or sun exposure cause an increase in the pressure in the veins close to your skin. You're also more likely to get them if you regularly stand for long periods of time.
How are spider veins treated in St. Louis?
Before your veins can be treated, your surgeon must make sure that they don't receive their blood supply from deeper feeder veins, called reticular veins. He uses a special light to illuminate your skin and identify feeder veins. If you do have feeder veins, you may need an ultrasound to determine the cause. The problem will need to be treated before your spider vein treatment can begin. Once your surgeon has performed a thorough examination and determined that you are a good candidate for treatment, he may suggest either of these treatments:
Sclerotherapy scars your spider veins, which makes them close up and disappear. When the veins close, blood flows through nearby veins instead. During sclerotherapy treatment, your doctor injects the veins with sodium tetradecyl sulfate. The treatment usually isn't painful and doesn't require any anesthesia. You will probably need three to five therapy sessions that are about three to five weeks apart. Itching and swelling can occur after treatment but can be minimized by wearing compressions stockings for three days.
Laser treatment is recommended for small surface veins and spider veins that appear on your face. When the laser light is aimed at your veins, the walls become damaged due to the heat the light generates. Eventually, the veins begin to fade away. You may experience temporary bruising, swelling and itching after laser therapy.
Would you like to get rid of your spider veins? Call Dr. Bein, your St. Louis, MO vascular surgeon at Vein Specialties, at (314) 993-8233 to schedule an appointment.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition that can cause severe pain in patients, and if it’s not treated it could be life-threatening. It’s estimated that DVT and similar venous diseases affect over 2.5 million Americans each year. Learn more about deep vein thrombosis from the St. Louis vein specialists at Vein Specialties, including which patients are most at risk for this problem and the screening process.
Understanding Deep Vein Thrombosis
Of the various venous diseases (conditions that affect the veins), deep vein thrombosis is one of the most concerning for doctors. With DVT, a blood clot develops in a vein of the leg or arm and becomes very painful. Because it happens in a deep vein, the clot is more likely to travel to other parts of the body and cause a life-threatening condition.
Who Is At Risk?
There are a number of risk factors to know regarding deep vein thrombosis. It is more common in patients who have the following issues:
- Family history of blood clots or stroke
- Excess weight
- Varicose veins
- Poor mobility or sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
- History of smoking
- Past injury to a limb
- Blood disorders
- Taking certain medications that could thicken the blood
Getting Screened by a St. Louis Vein Specialist
It’s recommended that you get screened for deep vein thrombosis if most or all of the preceding risk factors apply. Patients over the age of 40 are also encouraged to get screened for DVT. Excessive pain in a leg or arm is also a reason to see a doctor. The screening process includes a medical questionnaire (including detailed family history and medications), a visual exam of the legs and arms, and an ultrasound of the veins. The entire process can be completed in about 15 minutes.
Schedule a Screening Appointment Today
Make the call to Vein Specialties in St. Louis today to schedule a brief screening appointment for deep vein thrombosis. Contact the office at (314) 993-8233 today to speak with a friendly and helpful staff member.
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