Varicose veins are bulging leg veins. They commonly run in families and often appear during and following pregnancy. They are caused by an underlying problem in one of the two main surface veins of the leg. Broken one-way valves prevent blood from returning to the heart, thus, the blood flows downward instead of upward. The increased pressure backs up into veins just beneath the surface of the skin and the result is known as varicose veins. Varicose vein removal, also known as phlebectomy, helps relieve the symptoms of varicose veins and also improves the appearance of the area where the varicose veins are located. Varicose veins can be removed via surgery, wearing compression socks or undergoing lifestyle changes once the veins become overfilled with blood and enlarged.
There are a number of factors that go into determining if a person is a GOOD CANDIDATE for removing varicose veins:
Patients that are less likely to develop varicose veins, or who are NOT GOOD CANDIDATES for their removal, include:
The most important step in removing veins is to shut down the faulty main surface collecting vein (the saphenous vein) that is feeding the overlying bulging veins. In the past, this was performed by a method called vein stripping and this meant a trip to the hospital for large cuts and general anesthesia. Today, the underlying vein can be shut down with a laser, which seals the nonfunctioning vein and eliminates the backwards pressure so varicose veins cannot develop. Best of all, this procedure is done in the office under local anesthesia.
The next step is eliminating the bulging surface varicose veins. They can be treated in one of two ways:
For patients who do not wish to undergo surgery, there are a number of other options available:
The cost of varicose vein removal might be covered by insurance since the condition is often a symptom of vein disease. Patients should check with their insurance provider to see if they can get some (or all) of the costs covered. The total cost depends on the type of varicose vein removal treatment performed by the doctor as well as the extent of the work. Overall, the price of varicose vein removal ranges from $1500-$5000.
During their RECOVERY period, patients need to wear support stockings for four or five days after the procedure during the daytime. The support stockings help reduce bruising and soreness.
There are several non-surgical steps patients can do to relieve the symptoms of varicose veins:
Immediately after the treatment, the leg will be fairly bruised. This takes about a month to go away. The small phlebectomy scars heal quickly.
The cosmetic results of treatment for varicose veins are dramatic. Overall, the legs feel less heavy and swollen. The treated veins seldom return. But since the patient has an underlying tendency to get varicose veins, a problem elsewhere may pop-up that is remotely located from the original treatment site.
If a vein pokes out after surgery, and the underlying problem has been treated successfully, the vein can usually be treated with an injection.
In general, there is NO LIMITATION to the number of treatments a patient can have to remove varicose veins. There is also no limit on the number of varicose veins that can be removed during a single procedure.
There are some RISKS associated with having varicose vein surgery and they include:
Before a patient undergoes varicose vein treatment, he (or she) should consult with a vein specialist to determine the severity of the condition as well as possible health risks. The doctor can also help the patient determine if the patient’s insurance policy will cover some, or all, of the treatment costs. An experienced doctor will examine the patient and determine the best course of action for treating the current problem as well as preventing future varicose veins.
Written by Cosmetic Town Editorial Team - MA
Based on an exclusive interview with Wayne Gradman, MD in Los Angeles, CA