If you have tired or achy legs, you may have issues with vein health, including varicose veins. Patients often come to the U-M Vein Center because they want their legs to look and feel great. Here are some of our patients’ most frequently asked questions about spider and varicose veins.
1. “How much does varicose vein treatment cost?”
We’re all conscious of our budgets, but most of the concern about treatment for vein issues arises from patients being told by well-meaning family, friends and even physicians that their condition is “cosmetic.” Not all varicose vein treatment is cosmetic and most insurance companies cover diagnostic studies and treatment of symptomatic varicose veins (those that cause pain, aching, swelling, itching, calf/foot cramping). If you’re unsure, come and see us and we can help determine whether your condition meets the criteria.
2. “Does treatment hurt?”
Two of the most common treatments for varicose and spider veins are endovenous ablation (EVA) and injection sclerotherapy. Both are outpatient procedures. EVA is performed under local anesthesia (“numbing” the skin and tissue just below the skin with lidocaine) and is used to treat underlying venous insufficiency. You are completely awake and talking to us during the procedure. Not everyone is a candidate for EVA and you can’t tell simply by visual inspection. Injection sclerotherapy, performed without anesthesia, involves very fine needles and is generally well tolerated. It is not uncommon to feel some soreness, tightness or a pulling sensation in the areas treated for a few days to a week following certain procedures. Most normal activities are allowed after treatment.
3. “Will compression stockings make my veins go away?”
It’s true, graduated compression stockings won’t make varicose or spider veins “go away” or disappear. They can help your legs feel better and compression stockings are a part of a program of good vein health, just as exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and elevating the legs and good skin. Most insurance companies consider compression stocking use as a conservative treatment and require stocking use prior to authorizing treatment.
Compression stockings are available in many styles and colors — from sheer neutral and breathable wool to indigo polka dot thigh-highs and everything in-between. Many of my patients come back two or three months later to tell me how much they love the stockings, especially if they weren’t totally sold on the idea to begin with.
Oftentimes, you don’t realize how much your legs ache until you’ve tried compression stockings. Compression stockings are an integral part of successful treatment for varicose and spider vein treatment. Whether we treat with endovenous ablation or sclerotherapy, compression stockings are worn immediately after treatment for a period of up to two weeks for optimal results.
Take the next step:
- Make an appointment for a complete vein evaluation at the Livonia Vein Center. Call 1-734-432-7662.
- Come and see us at the Women Run the D Expotique on Saturday, September 20, 2015, at the Detroit Renaissance Center. We’ll be selling running socks and running sleeves! Be sure to sign up for the race, which is Sunday, September 21.
Emily Cummings, M.D., is a board certified physician currently specializing in venous disease and is a member of the American Venous Forum and the American College of Phlebology.
The University of Michigan Samuel and Jean Frankel Cardiovascular Center is a top-ranked heart and heart surgery program among Michigan hospitals. To learn more, visit our website at umcvc.org.