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Varicose Vein Diagnosis and Treatment

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Vein disease is progressive and will worsen over time if left untreated. Dr. Robert Cutchen advises all individuals who are suffering with varicose veins to seek treatment sooner, rather than later, to prevent more complicated medical conditions from developing.

After the presence of vein disease has been diagnosed via the venous Doppler ultrasound Dr. Cutchen will formulate a personalized treatment plan specific to each patient’s issues. All vein treatment procedures are minimally-invasive and are performed in the office with an almost immediate return to activity. Your legs will both look and feel better.

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE MINIMALLY INVASIVE TREATMENTS USED TO TREAT VARICOSE VEINS?  

Your individualized treatment plan begins with an accurate diagnosis of your vein condition. (See vein diagnosis and symptoms) Dr. Cutchen specifically designs and tailors your treatment plan based on the extent and severity of your specific venous condition.

Your individualized treatment plan will be specifically designed and tailored for the extent and severity of your specific venous condition. Most patients require a combination of treatment options for the best possible results. A series of treatments over several appointments may be necessary, depending on the severity of your vein disease. Some procedures are performed under local anesthesia while others require none. Patients should return to normal activity immediately with minimal restrictions.

Conservative Vein Treatment

Given that varicose veins are not a life-threatening problem, some patients achieve adequate relief with conservative therapy. This includes leg elevation and the use of compression stockings for symptom relief. Some insurance companies require a trial of compression stockings for 6-12 weeks prior to approval for a more definitive treatment.

Yes, varicose veins are considered to be a medical issue if the patient has symptoms of discomfort, and if ultrasound evaluation documents venous reflux (backwards flow in the vein). In this case, insurance companies consider treatment for varicose veins to be medically necessary and, typically, will provide coverage. Some insurance companies require a trial of compression stockings before approving other treatments. Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute is contracted with all large insurance providers. (See our list of contracted health plans and be sure to call our office for more information.)
Many treatments for varicose veins are quick and easy and don’t require a long recovery. Call, 505-848-VEIN for your complimentary vein screening and learn if your varicose vein treatment is covered by your health insurance.

EndoVenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)

The Endovenous Laser Treatment (or Ablation) procedure is performed in Dr. Cutchen’s office under local anesthesia. This procedure closes the abnormal saphenous veins. These are the same veins that were previously treated with surgical stripping

With ultrasound guidance, a thin laser fiber is inserted into the vein through a tiny incision in the calf and advanced to the top of the vein. After placement of local anesthetic around the vein, the laser is activated, which delivers heat to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut. The vein will then disappear over 6-12 months.

Patients are able and required to walk immediately after the procedure, and most patients return to work the next day. Following treatment, patients wear prescription-strength compression stockings for three weeks.

In some cases, other treatments, including ambulatory phlebectomy and endovenous chemical ablation, are used in combination with endovenous laser ablation to achieve the best possible results.

Ambulatory PhlebectomyEndovenous Chemical Ablation*

Also known as ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, endovenous chemical ablation is another treatment method for the elimination of varicose veins. This procedure targets and eliminates varicose veins that are hidden from the naked eye and only seen by ultrasound.

Here, a chemical irritant, called a sclerosant, is injected into the vein while the doctor observes the injection process on the ultrasound screen. The sclerosant damages the lining of the vein wall, collapses the vein, and eventually leads to the body reabsorbing the destroyed vein. The sclerosant can come in a liquid or foam form.

Patients are required to walk immediately after the procedure and return to normal activity that same day. Following treatment, patients wear prescription-strength compression stockings for three weeks.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Micro-phlebectomy, or “hook” phlebectomy, is a micro-extraction procedure used to remove bulging varicose veins, both large and small, that are close to the surface through very small (1/16 – 1/8 inch) micro-incisions. The micro-incisions are so small that they seldom require a stitch. Once healed, they are rarely visible.

Bruising will occur and will take a few weeks to go away. A compression stocking is worn for 3 weeks after the procedure. Once removed, patients are amazed how good the leg looks with the “ropey” veins gone. Patients can return to normal daily activities, including work, the next day, and walking is encouraged.

WILL VARICOSE VEINS WORSEN IF LEFT UNTREATED?

Symptomatic varicose veins are a medical condition that require medical attention, with proper diagnosis and treatment by a qualified vein specialist. If they are left untreated, they will not go back to normal, and the condition will worsen. Serious conditions that may develop due to untreated vein disease include chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), including damage to the skin, and venous stasis ulcers. (Read more about advanced vein conditions)

IS VARICOSE VEIN TREATMENT COVERED BY HEALTH INSURANCE?

BlueCrossatenaMedicareUnited Healthcare

Yes, varicose veins are considered to be a medical issue if the patient has symptoms of discomfort, and if ultrasound evaluation documents venous reflux (backwards flow in the vein). In this case, insurance companies consider treatment for varicose veins to be medically necessary and, typically, will provide coverage. Some insurance companies require a trial of compression stockings before approving other treatments. Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute is contracted with all large insurance providers. (See our list of contracted health plans and be sure to call our office for more information.)

Many treatments for varicose veins are quick and easy and don’t require a long recovery. Call, 505-848-VEIN for your complimentary vein screening and learn if your varicose vein treatment is covered by your health insurance.

*Pictures courtesy of the Society of Vascular Surgery (VascularWeb.org) and Society of Interventional Radiology (SIRweb.org).