Questions and Answers…
Our doctors and staff understand that patients have many questions regarding their condition and treatment. We are happy to spend as much time as you need to feel comfortable with your treatment options. We encourage you to contact us for more information or if you have any questions at any time during the course of your evaluation and treatment.
The following is a list of commonly asked questions related to varicose veins and their treatment:
What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur for a number of reasons including age, prior pregnancy, weight gain, hereditary factors and prolonged periods of standing.
Is endovenous laser ablation effective?
Yes. Five year results in thousands of patients have demonstrated that this procedure is more effective than traditional vein stripping and successful in >90% of patients.
How does saphenous laser ablation work?
Thermal energy is delivered to the vein wall and this causes the leaking, diseased vein to close off so it does not continue to leak blood into the varicose veins.
Are patients satisfied?
More than 95% of patients have been satisfied in the short term as well as the long term.
Are the procedures at The Vein Center covered by insurance?
Laser treatments for varicose veins are covered by most all private insurance companies as well as Medicare and Tricare as long as patients have significant discomfort and have tried medical management such as compression stockings and elevation without relief. Spider veins are usually not covered by insurance.
Does this require hospitalization?
No, this is an office procedure in most all patients and takes about 1 hour. Most patients opt for local anesthesia (lidocaine like at the dentist) combined with oral medication while others prefer anesthesia given in an IV if they choose not to be awake during the procedure
Are other treatments necessary?
You may still require sclerotherapy or tiny incisions to remove additional varicose veins after the laser procedure has closed off the leaking vein in your leg. We will also do an ultrasound several days after the procedure to check the status of the treated vein.
Does it hurt?
Some patients are more sensitive than others but few really complain of significant pain during or after the procedure. Patients typically describe an aching, burning or pulling sensation.
How long is the recovery period?
We encourage walking the same day and return to normal activities the next day. You should delay strenuous exercise for one week.
What is the difference between the laser procedure and radiofrequency ablation (CLOSURE procedure)?
Both procedures are FDA-approved, non-surgical methods of treating varicose veins. They are very similar in terms of how you are treated and what you will experience. The results for both procedures are excellent and this becomes a physician preference. The main difference is in the type of energy delivered by the catheter. One procedure is not proven better than the other.
Does loss of this vein cause problems with drainage of the leg?
No. An incompetent saphenous vein is essentially a non-functioning vein and blood that would have flowed through the vein has already been diverted into other healthy veins to drain the leg.
Why should I choose The Vein Center at Savannah Vascular and Cardiac Institute?
It is very important to choose board-certified vascular surgeons who have expertise in all aspects of the diagnosis and management of your circulation problems. You should choose a center with experience treating thousands of patients and a compassionate staff dedicated to patient safety. We also have an accredited vascular laboratory which must be on site at the vein center and is an essential component to treating varicose veins.
What is The Vein Center at Savannah Vascular & Cardiac Institute?
The Vein Center at Savannah Vascular and Cardiac Institute is an outpatient, office-based vein center that provides state of the art management of all venous and arterial disorders. Our facility combines a unique combination of all board certified vascular specialists and an expert staff dedicated to patient comfort and safety.
Tell me about the Safety and Technology at The Vein Center?
The institute has combined the safety and technology of a hospital setting with the convenience and efficiency of an office practice, utilizing the latest in ultrasound and laser technology. Our center also has one of the region's only accredited (ICAVL) vascular labs for non-invasive imaging of blood clots, swollen legs, blockages and varicose veins.
How do you diagnose and treat varicose veins?
Initial evaluation is with one of our board-certified vascular physicians. Many patients require an ultrasound which is often performed at the same setting in our accredited vascular lab. Treatment options and alternatives are discussed at this visit. Most patients with bulging varicose veins can be treated with a laser that is inserted like an IV using numbing medicine. Some patients may require additional procedures to treat larger veins. Patients with spider veins are typically treated with sclerotherapy (tiny injections of a medication directly into the small spider veins).
Are laser closure procedures at The Vein Center successful?
Yes. Our center has performed over one thousand laser procedures with over 95% success and patient satisfaction. This procedure is more successful than traditional vein stripping procedures and has been shown to cause far less discomfort with minimal recovery and rare side effects.
How many patients have been treated at your center?
We have treated thousands of patients with venous disorders. We have eight board-certified vascular surgeons with well over 100 years cumulative experience treating patients with varicose veins.
Why should I choose a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon?
Board-certified vascular surgeons have completed extensive training and national accreditation in the comprehensive management of circulation disorders. They are required to maintain ongoing education to ensure they can provide the most state of the art treatment to their patients. All of the board-certified vascular surgeons in the region are part of Savannah Vascular.
How many years of experience do the surgeons have at Savannah Vascular and Cardiac Institute?
The surgeons at Savannah Vascular and Cardiac Institute have over 100 years of cumulative experience with thousands of patients.
What is the difference between spider veins and varicose veins?
- Spider veins or telangiectasias are small varicose veins located just beneath the skin. In many cases, spider veins are of a cosmetic concern only. In other cases, they may in fact be related to an underlying medical problem known as venous insufficiency or reflux (backwards flow of blood in the veins). In either situation, symptoms associated with spider veins range from itching or a dull ache to throbbing pain and bleeding.
- Varicose veins are superficial veins that have enlarged due to increased pressure in your veins caused by incompetent, or leaking, valves that are much larger than spider veins. Varicose veins may cause an aching feeling in your legs or may result in pain, swelling, skin discoloration or even ulcers. They may be related to an underlying medical problem known as venous insufficiency or reflux (backwards blood flow in the veins). The disease is typically progressive and can eventually involve the entire saphenous vein (the vein that runs under your skin along your calf and thigh) as well as many of its branches if it is not treated.