Varicose Vein Treatment
Varicose veins are a common medical problem affecting both men and women. They are characterized by a blue, bulging, rope-like appearance and can cause swelling in the legs and feet, pain, burning and tenderness. They occur in the superficial venous system and are mostly commonly related to problems in the greater saphenous vein in the leg, which is the longest vein in the body. The Vein Clinic at PWC provides accurate diagnosis and advanced varicose vein treatment for Portland women and men.
For vein treatment by specialists, choose the Vein Clinic at PWC. Ask a question, book online, or call our office in Portland at (503) 771-1883. We often serve women and men from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Northern California and Alaska.
Varicose veins are related to a number of factors including heredity, obesity, hormone levels, aging, physical trauma or an occupation that involves being on your feet all day. They are generally the result of a condition called venous reflux disease or venous insufficiency. As blood flows up the legs to the heart, one-way valves keep the blood from flowing backward. Venous reflux disease occurs when these valves malfunction. The blood that should flow upward flows backward instead and pools in the veins, causing them to enlarge and bulge out.
Initially, varicose veins might be noticeable as only spider veins. Over time, the larger veins become more prominent, causing physical symptoms and an unsightly appearance. Left untreated, varicose veins can cause skin ulcers, sores, superficial blood clots and even bleeding.
During your initial consultation, your physician will perform a clinical evaluation to determine the cause of your painful or unsightly veins. The evaluation includes an ultrasound. This safe, painless, diagnostic imaging procedure uses sound waves to capture real-time images of internal anatomy. The vascular specialist maps the flow of blood in the leg and documents any backward blood flow caused by venous reflux disease. If you are diagnosed with venous reflux disease, you will likely need to wear prescription support hose for 3 months before treatment. This trial of support hose is required by most insurance companies prior to authorizing treatment for the varicose veins.
Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment for Varicose Veins
Radiofrequency Ablation is the Vein Clinic at PWC treatment of choice for varicose veins. This minimally invasive alternative to surgical vein stripping relieves symptoms and provides a beautiful cosmetic result. Other benefits of this procedure include:
- Little to no discomfort
- No scarring
- Very quick recovery
Drs Rosenfield and Fogelson perform radiofrequency vein ablation on an outpatient basis using a local anesthetic. During the procedure, we insert a thin laser fiber into the abnormal vein under ultrasound guidance. The laser energy is discharged as the doctor slowly extracts the laser fiber, sealing the vein to prevent the blood from pooling in it. The body responds to the loss of the diseased vein by naturally redirecting blood flow to other healthy leg veins. Circulation is improved and symptoms are relieved. Normal physical activity can be resumed within 24 hours.
Continued Vein Care
It is important to understand that varicose veins are a chronic condition. Endovenous laser therapy is a highly effective treatment for existing varicose veins, but no treatment can prevent the development of new varicose veins. Drs. Rosenfield and Fogelson may recommend some lifestyle modifications that have been shown to reduce the incidence of new varicosities. These include maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly and avoiding prolonged standing.
Because varicose veins are a medical condition, treatment is generally covered by health insurance when a patient has documented venous insufficiency and is symptomatic. Qualifying symptoms include:
- Swelling in the legs and feet
- A feeling of heaviness in the legs
- Burning and tenderness
Some insurance carriers also require that a patient undergo more conservative management for a period of time to see if symptoms resolve. This generally involves the use of special elastic stockings called compression hose. Your physician will prescribe these if necessary. Our billing experts are available to check your benefits and assist with preauthorizing your procedure with your insurance company.