When You Need a Vein Doctor

Your body contains thousands of miles of blood vessels, including arteries, veins and capillaries. These various blood vessels make up what is called the vascular system (which also includes the heart, of course). If you develop vascular problems related to the veins and need vein treatment, you need a vein doctor like Dr. Raffi Krikorian, at New Look Vein and Aesthetic Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

Vascular Problems

Although vascular problems can technically include heart disease, most medical professionals use these terms to refer to vein issues such as varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins occur in the legs, while spider veins (which are much smaller) can also occur in places like the face. In both cases, these conditions occur because tiny flaps of tissue (valves) inside the vein stop working properly. When the valves fail, blood backs up in the vein and it becomes distended, causing the characteristic bulging, twisted varicose vein or the colored “starburst” of a spider vein. Spider veins may not cause any symptoms, but are often a cosmetic issue, while varicose veins may cause aching, burning or swelling in the legs.

What’s a Vein Doctor?

The term vein doctor isn’t used to describe a medical specialty. Interventional radiologists, interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons may all be called vein doctors. Although their basic training is the same in medical school, each specialty covers different kinds of medical conditions and treatments. Radiologists specialize in the use of imaging technology to diagnose and treat disease, cardiologists like Dr. Krikorian specialize in heart and vascular disease, and vascular surgeons specialize in surgical treatment of vascular disease. When it comes to vascular problems like varicose veins or spider veins, any of these physicians may offer in-office treatments such as sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy, but only surgeons offer surgical procedures like a vein stripping.

What Services Does a Vein Doctor Offer?

Depending on the practice and specialty, a vein doctor may offer a variety of different treatments. Many of these are minimally invasive and can be performed in a doctor’s office or vein clinic. Recovery time is short (sometimes only a day or so). At New Look Vein and Aesthetic Center, we offer ambulatory phlebectomy, endovenous laser ablation (EVLT), radiofrequency (RF) ablation and ultrasound guided sclerotherapy for varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is considered the treatment of choice for spider veins. We can also recannalize (open) major veins that have become blocked and use ovarian vein emobolization to treat what is known as pelvic congestion syndrome. We also offer some of the newest treatments, such as Venaseal (a glue that can close varicose veins), mechanico-chemical ablation (MOCA) – which improves the results of sclerotherapy – and Varithena foam, which lasts longer and is more effective than regular sclerotherapy solutions.

If you have varicose or spider veins, we can help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment. We’re also happy to answer any questions about vascular disease, varicose vein treatment, insurance coverage or other related issues.

What’s the Best Varicose Vein Treatment for You?

When you visit a vein clinic, your vein doctor will discuss a wide range of varicose vein treatment options with you. The number of different treatments available can seem overwhelming. But, there’s a reason there are so many different options. Some treatments are better suited for certain types of vein problems than others. One of the responsibilities of vascular surgeons is to help you understand the differences between each treatment and to help you pick the best one.

Your Varicose Vein Treatment Options:

If You’re Not Sure if You’re Ready for Treatment

Not every patient is ready for a medical vein treatment just yet. There are cases where vein doctors will recommend what’s know as conservative treatments, or self-care measures, to keep varicose veins from getting worse. These treatments won’t necessarily reverse your vein problems, but they can help slow down the progression of the varicose veins.

Conservative treatment options include wearing compression stockings, losing weight if you are overweight, and getting more exercise or physical activity.

If You Have Smaller Veins

Some vein treatments are more effective on smaller varicose veins or on spider veins. These treatments include sclerotherapy. During sclerotherapy, the vein doctor injects the spider or small varicose veins with a special chemical solution. The solution destroys the veins, so that they collapse and ultimately fade from view. The blood that was flowing through those veins is simply redirected to different veins in the legs.

You might need several treatment sessions with sclerotherapy before you see the full results from treatment. There’s also a version of the treatment that uses foam to collapse the veins and that might be more effective for treating larger veins.

If Your Veins Are Deeper

Some varicose veins are located deeper in the legs, which makes treating them with surface treatments a bit trickier. Ultrasound guided treatments can be an effective option if your veins are difficult to see on the surface. During ultrasound guided sclerotherapy, the vascular surgeon uses ultrasound imaging to find his or her way to the right vein, before injecting it.

Endovenous vein ablation can also be an effective treatment for deeper veins and for larger veins.

If Your Veins are Causing You Discomfort

Larger varicose veins often cause discomfort as well as make you feel self conscious. If your veins are causing throbbing, aches or other discomfort, treatment such as endovenous vein ablation or radiofrequency closure. Both methods use a catheter to seal off and destroy larger, bulky veins.

Another treatment for painful veins is ambulatory phlebectomy. It’s a minimally invasive procedure best suited for veins close to the surface of the skin. During the treatment, your vein surgeon will make small incisions near the affected veins, then carefully remove those veins from your legs.

Deciding to treat your varicose veins is just the first step. Discuss your vein treatment options with a vascular surgeon today, so that you’re able to make the choice that’s best for you.

Vein Doctor Discuss Sclerotherapy

Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for varicose veins and spider veins, according to the Office on Women’s Health. Varicose veins and spider veins are enlarged, red- or blue-colored veins that appear on your thighs, the backs of your calves, or on the inside of your leg. Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that effectively treats varicose veins and spider veins.

Vein doctors, also known as vascular surgeons, often perform sclerotherapy for cosmetic reasons. Varicose veins and spider veins can ruin the smooth, youthful appearance of skin. Vascular surgeons sometimes perform sclerotherapy to relieve symptoms associated with diseased veins, such as aching, swelling, burning, and night cramps.

How Sclerotherapy Works

Vein doctors perform sclerotherapy by using a needle to inject a chemical agent, known as a sclerosant, which irritates the inner lining of the varicose vein or spider vein. The irritation causes the vein to scar and eventually close, so it no longer carries blood. The body reroutes blood to other veins. In time, the treated vein breaks apart and is absorbed by nearby tissue.

After Vein Treatment

You can get up and walk around immediately after sclerotherapy – in fact, your vein doctor will probably recommend that you walk and move as much as possible to reduce the risk for blood clots. You will need someone to drive you home, however.

You will need to wear compression stockings for about two weeks after the procedure. These stockings apply pressure to the veins in your legs to keep blood circulating. Avoid strenuous exercise for the first two weeks after surgery.

Treated veins fade within a few weeks, although it may take up to a month to realize the full results of the vein treatment. Multiple treatments are sometimes necessary, especially for very large or stubborn varicose veins. Vein surgeons typically suggest repeating treatment every four to six weeks.

Sclerotherapy is not appropriate for some patients. Doctors suggest that women who are pregnant or are breastfeeding wait to undergo the procedure, for example.

All surgical procedures, even minimally invasive ones like sclerotherapy, carry some risk for complications. The procedure is relatively safe and is associated with few complications. Possible side effects include red, raised patches or bruising at the injection site, which usually go away soon after treatment. Brown lines, spots, or groups of tiny blood vessels may develop near the treatment site; these too should disappear shortly after treatment. A lump of clotted blood may develop in a treated vein. While this is not dangerous, it does require the attention of your vein surgeon.

Your vein doctor can perform sclerotherapy at your local vein clinic. The procedure does not require anesthesia. Sclerotherapy usually takes less than an hour.

To learn if sclerotherapy is right for you, make an appointment with your local vein clinic. Your vein doctor can help you decide if this type of spider vein or varicose vein treatment is right for you.