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Frequently Asked Questions About Vein Disease

What Causes Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are caused by inefficient, faulty vein valves. These valves do not close properly, allowing blood to travel downward with gravity and pool in the vein. This causes veins to bulge and stretch resulting in many unpleasant side effects such as aching and throbbing pain, heavy and tired legs, and poor circulation.

Are Varicose Veins Hereditary?

Heredity is a primary factor in over 80% of cases. Other contributing factors may include pregnancy, obesity, hormone therapy, and standing or sitting for long periods of time. Varicose veins have been shown to be an inherited trait that can develop as early as 10 years old. If you have one parent with varicose veins you have a 40% chance of developing them yourself. If both parents have varicose veins, that number jumps to 90%.

Where Do Spider Veins Come From?

Spider veins may be triggered by pregnancy or hormonal variations and sometimes result in itching, restless leg syndrome, and minor aches and pains. Although spider veins are mainly a cosmetic problem, they can also be an indication of more serious vein disease; particularly if they are located near the ankles.

Why Do I Need An Ultrasound Scan?

During your initial visit, the affected areas will be examined to determine if a Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan will be necessary. It is the first step in finding the right treatment for damaged veins. A Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan provides a window, revealing the damaged, refluxing veins beneath the skin's surface. With this diagnostic capability, we can pinpoint the exact location of varicose veins and customize a treatment plan for each individual patient. Because the problem is dealt with at its source, the treatments are more effective and less painful than traditional methods, such as vein stripping. Once the appropriate treatments have been determined, we will review with you at length the relative details to your specific treatment plan.

Will Insurance Cover My Treatments?

Insurance will reimburse a high percentage of the treatment cost if there is a documented diagnosis of venous insufficiency through a Doppler Duplex Ultrasound Scan. If venous insufficiency is diagnosed, we will forward a letter of medical necessity to your insurance carrier for pre-certification prior to any procedures to ensure your treatment is approved. It is important to note that each insurance company reimburses different amounts for these treatments. We will work with you and your insurance carrier to ensure you receive the most reimbursement possible. Of course typical deductibles and co-payments apply.

What Special Training Do You Have That Qualifies You To Be A Vein Doctor?

Many doctors claim proficiency in the treatment of veins, often making it difficult for the public to discern who really is an expert. Dr. Stephen Rivard, Founder and Medical Director of Illinois Vein Specialists, in 2008 was among the very first group of physicians in the world to be Board Certified in Phlebology—the science of veins (now referred to as Venous and Lymphatic Disease). Board Certification in Venous and Lymphatic Disease is as important as board certification is in any other specialty. It is a guarantee of specific, detailed training, access to the newest thinking and research, ongoing education, and familiarization with specific medical technology and proof of proficiency. Illinois Vein Specialists focuses solely on providing the most advanced and effective treatment of varicose and spider veins-vein disease treatment and Dr. Rivard has successfully treated over 13,000 patients suffering from vein disease. Venous and lymphatic treatments are all that we do.

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How Are Varicose Veins Treated?

Modern technology has enabled us to eliminate the traumatic and antiquated procedure known as vein stripping. Depending on the results of your Ultrasound Scan, you will be considered eligible for one of several treatment options.

What Is Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT)?

Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) is a procedure for varicose veins that normally takes less than an hour and is performed right in the office. By delivering just the right wavelength of laser energy to the affected vein, the varicose veins will close. Your body automatically routes the blood to other healthy veins. While you might feel some unfamiliar sensation, the procedure produces only a mild degree of pain or discomfort for most people. There is no downtime and you are encouraged to carry on with normal activities.

What Is Ambulatory Phlebectomy(AP) or Microphlebectomy (MP)?

Micro or Ambulatory Phlebectomy is an adjunctive method of treating surface varicose veins during which large surface veins are removed through very small incisions. This procedure is done right in the office using a sterile technique with local anesthesia. The biggest results from Ambulatory Phlebectomy are significant relief from pain and excellent cosmetic results. There may be slight bruising following this procedure but this resolves in a week’s time.

What Is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a method of closing veins through the injection of a solution called a sclerosing agent. This causes inflammation and ultimately destruction of the lining of the blood vessel causing it to harden. For superficial veins, the injections are treated by a trained Registered Nurse (RN) using a VeinLite® guidance system for visualization. For injections into larger and deeper veins, an IVS doctor will use an ultrasound to guide their injection. This procedure, in combination with compression bandages and hosiery, will aid in the distribution of the medication and vein closure. Over time, the sclerosed vein will be reabsorbed by the body and fade away.

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