About Varicose & Spider Veins
Varicose veins result from weak or damaged vein walls and valves that have allowed blood to pool. A common medical condition, varicose veins are the most obvious symptom of vein disease, appearing "ropey" and enlarged, twisting beneath the skin's surface. But varicose veins aren't simply cosmetic — they also can cause significant pain, as well as symptoms like burning, cramping, fatigued or heavy legs, possible skin discoloration, or even open sores. Risk factors for developing varicose veins include medical and hereditary history, increasing age, hormonal changes, pregnancy, obesity, immobility, and sun exposure.
Spider veins appear as thin red or blue jagged lines, not unlike spider webs or tree branches. They can cover large areas of the legs, and sometimes even the face. Spider veins are generally cosmetic in nature, but they can be a sign of deeper vein disease. Typically no pain or discomfort is associated with spider veins.
Your veins will be assessed through ultrasound mapping, which reveals the shape and size of the veins in your legs, helping us to accurately locate unhealthy veins for treatment.
Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)
EVLT is a non-surgical, minimally invasive outpatient procedure to treat and reduce the recurrence of varicose veins. Using ultrasound guidance, an interventional radiologist will close off the varicose vein, which naturally reroutes blood flow to healthier veins. Nearly all EVLT patients report significant pain relief with lasting results, as well as healthier looking legs. The procedure takes about an hour and is usually covered by insurance.
Sclerotherapy is the most common treatment for non-painful varicose and spider veins. There is minimal discomfort during the procedure, and no anesthetic is necessary. Cosmetic sclerotherapy is the purely cosmetic treatment of spider veins and is not typically covered by insurance. However, if our radiologists find vein disease is present at diagnosis, medical sclerotherapy can be performed as a follow-up to EVLT to treat diseased superficial veins. Medical sclerotherapy often is covered by insurance. In both cases, most patients require multiple treatment sessions to achieve desired results.
You have questions. We have answers.
Below is a list of some of the questions we get asked most frequently from our patients. If you have additional questions, feel free to reach out to our ARA Cares Coordinator at (828) 436-5500.
Patients must wear compression stockings for the first 24 hours to encourage healing and decrease swelling. After 24 hours, you may remove the stockings to sleep; however, they must be worn at all other times for two weeks. You may resume normal activity after the procedure, but no heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for two weeks. If you experience any discomfort, you may take Tylenol or ibuprofen. Soreness generally disappears after 24 hours, although mild soreness may last 7-10 days.