Colorado’s Vein Specialist Vein Center of Excellence

Vein Disease FAQ

Vein Specialists Serving Colorado Springs & Denver

Here you can find answers to some common questions about vein disease and vein care. If you can’t find the information you are looking for or would like to speak directly with a vein specialist, call one of our locations Denver (303) 857-5111 or Colorado Springs: (719) 550-8346 to schedule a cconsultation at the Albert Vein Institute.

  • What are varicose veins?

    Varicose veins are caused by faulty valves in the superficial (saphenous) veins located in the lower extremities. Varicose veins form because the surface veins can’t drain and they back up and bulge. Most varicose vein problems found on the lower legs can cause, but are not limited to: aching, swelling, burning, throbbing, itching, cramping, heaviness in the legs and ankle swelling. Clots can form within these veins due to slow blood flow if left untreated. The inflammation that results is called phlebitis.

    When superficial thrombophlebitis develops, the clot area may become painful, hot, red and swollen. One of the serious reasons you should seek treatment early for your varicose veins is to prevent the possibility of developing phlebitis. In addition, long-term untreated varicose veins can also cause discoloration (brown or redness) of the ankle eventually leading to ulcers. Seek treatment early for your varicose veins to avoid any of these additional issues. At AVI, Dr. Albert can provide your initial consultation and evaluate your level of vein disease.

  • Does treating the saphenous vein (the cause of varicose veins) completely remove varicose veins?

    Treating the saphenous vein alone will fix the pressure problem but will not make those varicose veins (that have taken many years to form) disappear. The use of a microsurgical technique called microphlebectomy (less than 1-millimeter incision) will completely remove the varicose veins and provide a better cosmetic result.

    There are non-surgeons performing vein care who are either not trained or not comfortable using microphlebectomy. At AVI, Dr. Albert believes in using both techniques—ablating the saphenous vein in combination with microphlebectomy— to give a patient the best results.

  • Aren’t varicose veins just a cosmetic issue?

    Varicose veins are not just cosmetic and can lead to swelling, skin changes, and eventually leg ulcers. Varicose veins are a sign of an underlying problem that needs to be evaluated by a qualified vein specialist.

  • Is vein glue an effective treatment for varicose veins?

    Not all patients are candidates for vein glue. Make sure you get more than one opinion if someone is recommending vein glue to you. All of the medical studies so far indicate that there is no difference in the pain level of today’s minimally-invasive procedures for varicose veins compared with the vein glue. In addition, vein glue will remain in your body forever (it’s not absorbed by the body as some providers are claiming) and you might feel a permanent hardness in your veins where it was injected. Vein glue does not get rid of the remaining varicosities that are left in your legs so you will need further procedures to remove the unsightly veins left behind.

    Vein glue is not covered by insurance at this time, which means that you will need to pay cash for this procedure, unlike many of the minimally invasive procedures performed at AVI.

  • Does diabetes cause varicose veins?

    Diabetes does not lead to varicose veins; however, diabetes can lead to arterial disease. Diabetes can affect the arteries of the legs, kidneys, and eyes.

  • Will treating varicose veins help with my neuropathy?

    Neuropathy is not caused by varicose veins and by treating your superficial venous disease (saphenous vein ablations) your neuropathy will not improve. The symptoms that will improve include aching, tiredness, heaviness, itching, and swelling.

  • Do only women get varicose veins?

    Men and women get varicose veins. For women, the condition can be accelerated by pregnancy. Both men and women can benefit equally from appropriate vein therapy.

  • What are spider veins?

    Spider veins (telangiectasias) are the very small veins seen at the surface of the skin often appearing red or purple. These veins received their name because they often have the appearance of a spider web and can be seen on the legs or face. Spider veins are usually cosmetic in nature unless they are associated with leg symptoms.

    If spider veins are accompanied by the following symptoms, they may be indicative of superficial venous disease:

    • Heaviness
    • Itching
    • Burning
    • Tiredness
    • ankle swelling
    • restless leg
    • cramps

    When spider veins are accompanied with leg symptoms, a non-invasive ultrasound is performed to evaluate the superficial system and determine if there is a more serious underlying vein condition.

    Spider veins that are not accompanied by symptoms can be treated with either visual cosmetic sclerotherapy or topical surface laser. Sclerotherapy is the injection of a pharmacological solution into the vein to cause the vein to be reabsorbed by the body. You may need as little as one session or several depending upon the number of spider veins that you have. Surface lasers are used on the smallest of spider veins and are the preferred method for facial veins.

  • Does crossing my legs create spider veins?

    Crossing your legs will not affect your vein situation. Varicose and spider veins are mainly caused by valve dysfunction from heredity, pregnancy, and standing or sitting for long periods of time.

  • My treated spider veins have returned-why?

    If you have had your spider veins treated in the past, most sclerotherapy was done with a saline solution. Now, there are more sophisticated solutions that have higher efficacy and a longer-term result. That being said, ALL spider veins can reappear throughout the years, and touch-up treatments may be needed for your legs to continue to look their best. A recurrence of spider veins, along with heaviness, pain, itching, and/or swelling may be indicative of superficial venous disease.

  • What if I need a removed vein for heart surgery at some point?

    A diseased vein is just that, too diseased to be used in heart surgery. There are other vessel options to use during heart surgery. As an experienced Cardiovascular Surgeon, Dr. Albert has the experience of knowing that diseased leg veins are not good choices for use in heart-bypass surgery.

  • Why do I need to wear compression stockings?

    Compression stockings are often prescribed for patients with venous disease as a preliminary treatment to manage symptoms. It is important to note that compression stockings will NOT cure venous disease; the symptoms will return immediately when the stockings are removed. Many insurance carriers require that patients wear compression stockings for a pre-determined amount of time before they will consider covering a vein procedure. After your treatment at the Albert Vein Institute, you will be required to wear compression stockings for a short period of time to help speed the healing process.

  • I have a previous deep venous thrombosis (DVT). Are there any therapies that can be offered to me, other than compression stockings?

    Patients who have a history of DVT should be evaluated by Dr. Albert to determine the cause of their symptoms. Symptoms can be caused by DVT, a superficial problem or a combination of both. These patients are potential candidates for the treatment of the superficial component of their symptoms. Appropriate treatment decisions are determined by complete venous ultrasonography and possibly venography (dye study of veins). Evaluation and treatment of these cases can be highly complex; it is recommended that patients seek diagnosis ONLY from doctors and/or facilities with an exclusive focus on the treatment of venous disease.

  • I have had previous vein stripping/other vein procedures, and the varicose veins have returned. Are there any treatment options for me?

    Albert Vein Institute frequently sees patients who have previously had different kinds of unsuccessful vein therapies. Many routine therapies, including laser, radio frequency, microphlebectomy, and ultrasound-guided injection therapies, may be applicable for patients who have had previous procedures.

    The key to successful treatment is to identify the source of the problem and utilize appropriate treatments to address the recurrence. A skilled venous ultrasound examination is essential for identifying the cause of the recurrence. Once the root cause is identified, Dr. Albert and his team will develop a plan to treat the underlying problem and prevent future recurrence.

  • Can an experienced topical skin laser physician treat vein conditions?

    Topical lasers require a human eye to navigate their use. On the other hand, Endovenous lasers (lasers that reach under the skin) require the use of ultrasound to correctly place and monitor their effectiveness and safety during procedures. As such, only physicians with extensive training, experience and credentialing (i.e., RPVI) in ultrasound are truly qualified to safely operate Endovenous lasers.

  • Do vein surgeries take place in a hospital?

    Due to extraordinary advances in minimally-invasive vein care and Dr. Albert’s unsurpassed expertise, all of your medical and cosmetic diagnostics and treatments are performed in one center: in our comfortable outpatient settings in Denver or Colorado Springs. We have an inviting reception area for your loved ones to wait while your procedures are performed in our state-of-the-medical-arts surgical suites.

  • Do vein procedures require general anesthesia?

    At AVI, Dr. Albert does not use general anesthesia for any procedures. First of all, general anesthesia is unnecessary. Secondly, Dr. Albert considers general anesthesia to be contraindicated during vein treatment. He believes that communication between the patient and the doctor during treatment is important to obtain a successful outcome.

  • Does my insurance cover the procedure?

    Albert Vein Institute is a participating provider with many private insurance companies and Medicare. We have a professional authorization team that will work with all of our contracted insurance carriers. We will research your insurance for you, so don’t worry if you don’t know the details about your particular plan.

    Most insurance companies will cover your varicose vein treatment. At AVI, once the appropriate criteria for medical necessity have been met, AVI will obtain pre-authorization for your treatment.

  • Do I have to be a certain age for vein procedures?

    AVI has treated patients from ages 14-92. Younger patients may have varicose veins for different reasons and should be evaluated by an exceptionally experienced vein specialist.

  • What makes vein specialists different?

    The field of Phlebology (Vein Surgery) is a young medical specialty with a variety of physicians performing care and minimally invasive surgical procedures. No doctor starts out as a Phlebologist. They start out as a specific type of physician.

    A doctor’s ability to perform Phlebology well is the result of a combination of the doctor’s original specialty (i.e., Cardiovascular Surgeon) and how much vein-care experience the doctor has delivered. It is important to understand the different kinds of doctors and vein care specialties in order to receive proper diagnosis and treatment.

  • What makes vein practices and clinics different?

    There is a difference between a vein practice that has earned IAC Accredited Vein Center status and one that has IAC Vascular Testing Accreditation. Make sure your vein practice has both national accreditations. In order to earn IAC Vein Center Accreditation, one of the prerequisites is IAC Accreditation in Vascular Testing. Other Vein Centers may have IAC Accreditation in Vascular Testing but don’t have the further-needed credential of IAC Accredited Vein Center. AVI has both accreditations.

    IAC Accredited Vein Center means that this Vein Center has undergone a rigorous national evaluation, verifying that it has the highest standards of competence in caring and treating venous disease. AVI is currently the first and only IAC ACCREDITED VEIN CENTER in Colorado.

    Before allowing anyone to treat your veins, make sure you are educated about the IAC Vein Center Accreditation. Please read more about this highest standard for our practice when considering where to go for evaluation and treatment of your varicose and spider veins.

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