At Albuquerque Vein & Laser Institute, our staff works with your insurance provider to determine vein treatment coverage by your plan. Prior to approving varicose vein treatment, many insurance companies require a “trial of conservative therapy.” This means that they want patients to wear compression stockings for 6-12 weeks (depending on the carrier) before approving a procedure. If patients continue to have discomfort in their legs despite the use of compression, they have “failed conservative therapy” and are candidates for a definitive procedure to eliminate the varicose veins.
Unfortunately, this requirement is not founded in solid scientific evidence. Varicose veins by definition are broken veins that are allowing the blood to flow backwards towards the feet instead of upwards towards the heart. A patient could stand on their head for 6 weeks and not “fix” the veins.
Research has repeatedly shown that this trial of compression does not affect outcomes and that the vast majority of patients end up receiving a procedure to treat their varicose veins. Most physicians feel that if a patient has symptoms of varicose veins (heavy, achy legs) and ultrasound findings that demonstrate abnormal veins then there is no reason to delay moving forward with treatment. This trial of stockings in most cases is little more than jumping through an insurance company hoop that I believe is often set up to deter patients from getting treated.