What to Expect at Your Appointment with a Vein Specialist
As we age, abnormal veins become more common. Fortunately, you don’t have to continue to live with these unsightly blood vessels if you don’t want to. By visiting a vein specialist, you can get a clear diagnosis of your condition, and you can explore possible treatment options. If you are preparing for your first visit with a vein specialist, find out what to expect during this appointment and the following treatment by consulting the information below.
About Vein Specialists
Vein specialists are physicians who are trained to treat conditions affecting the veins, including varicose veins and spider veins. Vein specialists can have a number of backgroudns including general or vascular surgeons, interventional radiologists or even internists. Regardless, these doctors undergo extensive training in treating venous conditions and know how to recognize the signs of vein disease, diagnose patients accurately and recommend the best course of treatment. A vein specialist can perform various minimally-invasive vein treatments within his or her office. When choosing who to see for your vein treatment, make sure to do your research. Only go to board-certified doctors who specialize in treating varicose and spider veins. While some 'med spas' or your primary care doctors sometimes offer vein treatments, they are often not trained to the level of a true certified vein specialist.
The First Appointment
During your first appointment with a vein specialist, you will spend some time talking about your medical history and current symptoms. Symptoms may not be only cosmetic - be sure to tell your vein doctor about swelling, pain, heaviness, tingling or fatigue your experience. During the physicial examination, the vein doctor will also examine your abnormal veins visually, so be sure to wear loose fitting clothing if your veins are on your legs, chest or other covered areas. If necessary, your doctor may recommend duplex ultrasound to gain a better understanding of the condition of your veins under the surface which may not be visible.
After reviewing all of this information, your vein doctor will recommend the treatment that he or she believes is best. If you choose to move forward with treatment, your vein clinic can submit your information for insurance approval and you can schedule your treatment session at a time that is convenient for you.
Types of Treatment
Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following treatments. Each is minimally invasive and easy to perform. However, there are some differences in the instances in which they may be prescribed and what exactly they involve.
Laser vein treatment is a quick and relatively painless procedure. In most cases, the entire treatment takes under one hour, and the recovery time can be as little as 24 hours. Although some patients may experience some discomfort during and immediately after the treatment itself, for the most part, there are minimal levels of pain involved, and the treatment requires local anesthetic only.
Laser vein treatment predominantly treats varicose veins, as well as their underlying cause. It is generally used to treat larger veins on the leg. During the procedure, an ultrasound device checks the veins. This allows the specialist performing the procedure to see the veins more clearly. The specialist performing the treatment will make a small incision in the leg and insert a catheter into the vein. A tiny optic fiber is placed into the catheter and this heats the vein until it shrinks and closes.
Radiofrequency vein treatment is another minimally invasive option for varicose veins and spider veins. Like laser vein treatment, it is also used to treat larger veins on the leg. It only requires a local anesthetic, can be completed in less than an hour. Some short-term numbness or hypersensitivity are possible side effects, but other than that, the recovery time is normally only a few hours.
In radiofrequency vein treatment, which is also performed under the guidance of an ultrasound device, a catheter is inserted into the leg through a small incision. Radio waves are emitted through the catheter which will heat and shrink the varicose veins, eventually causing them to close completely.
Once the catheter is removed, the healing process will begin immediately.
Sclerotherapy is generally used to treat smaller vein issues in the legs. It is normally an extremely fast procedure, often taking no more than ten minutes, although multiple sessions may be required for it to be completely effective. During the treatment, a specialist injects a solution into the problem veins in the leg. This causes the veins to shrink and reabsorb into the leg. An ultrasound device maps the veins on to a computer screen so that the solution can be monitored as it moves through the leg. Some patients may experience very mild levels of discomfort, however, the pain is so minimal that usually anesthesia is not required for the procedure.
Microphlebectomy, also referred to as an ambulatory phlebectomy, is a simple outpatient procedure to remove varicose veins in the leg. This technique involves removing larger veins on the surface of the legs through tiny incisions. This procedure does not leave any scars or need stitches. In fact, all that's usually needed is a band-aid, and that's it. Right after having a mini-phlebectomy procedure, you can immediately resume normal activities.
Similar to Sclerotherapy, Varithena is a microfoam medicated foam injected into the leg veins. The doctor injects foam through a tiny catheter, and the foam fills up and treats the affected areas of the vein. Varithena is commonly used to treat the largest veins in the leg. It requires local anesthesia, and the procedure is typically completed in under an hour. Most patients resume normal activities within 24 hours.
How to Prepare for Your Vein Treatment
On the day of your appointment, you should arrange for someone to drive you to and from the treatment center, and wear loose-fitting clothing, as some treatments can cause slight tenderness in the legs. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for 8 hours before your treatment. None of these treatment types require a hospital stay. All can be fully completed within the space of one hour and the recovery time is minimal.
Your Next Steps to Varicose Vein Free Legs
If you feel that you could benefit from vein treatment, and one of the above procedures may be right for you, the first step is to speak with a vein specialist and see if you could be a good candidate. With treatment centers across the country and highly skilled and trained specialists in each location, Metro Vein Centers has years of experience in the treatment and care of those suffering from vein disease.
Get in touch today to see how we can help you to live a life free of unsightly, painful veins.