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Home > Procedures > Inverventional Radiology Procedures: Varicose Vein Ablation

Varicose Vein Ablation

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins occur when “venous insufficiency” in patient’s lower legs makes blood returning from the feet back to the heart difficult.  The blood pools in the superficial veins of the legs causing them to dilate.  The earliest form of disease presents as “spider veins” and more severe forms of the disease result in rope-like bulging veins along the thigh and calves.

When the disease progresses, it causes symptoms of pain, heaviness, tiredness, burning, or swelling.  If left untreated, severe disease may cause inflammation, ulcers, or blood clots.

Who gets Varicose Veins?

Anyone can get varicose veins. 40% of all women and 25% of all men get varicose veins.  Factors that contribute include genetics, gender (more common in women), pregnancy, and age.

How can they be treated?

Conservative management includes exercising, avoiding prolonged sitting or standing, or wearing compression stockings.  This does not cure venous insufficiency, but can help control symptoms. Surgery has been the traditional more invasive treatment which involves physically removing the large varicose vein.

Before after
Before After

 

A newer, minimally invasive, technique is endovenous laser ablation of the varicose veins.  This office based procedure involves placing a small catheter in a vein in the leg (slightly larger than an IV) and then using a laser to ablate the blood vessel.  The blood is then diverted to normal, healthy veins.  The procedure generally takes about 45 minutes and results in minimal pain, if any.

How effective is laser treatment?

Laser ablation works in over 95% of cases.  Symptoms generally improve in a few weeks and the unsightly veins start to resolve within the first month. 

Will insurance cover the procedure?

In most cases, insurance companies will cover the cost of the procedure if certain criteria are met.  We first consult the patient to make sure the symptoms are related to venous insufficiency  as other diseases can often cause similar symptoms.  This is followed by an ultrasound to prove the veins are incompetent (diseased).  When these conditions are met, the insurance companies will be contacted to check for coverage.  Please call your insurance company to check what specific coverage you have.

How do I get evaluated for venous insufficiency?

You can schedule an initial consult by calling: 630-897-2848 (Sue Brown)

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