Vein Myths and Truths

Myth

Leg crossing and wearing high heels will cause varicose veins.

Truth

Crossing your legs or wearing high heels does not cause varicose any more than being struck by a softball will cause varicose veins. It may direct you attention to a specific area of your leg and a prominent vein but the primary cause for this condition is hereditary and is exacerbated by pregnancy, age, obesity and standing or sitting for long periods of time.

Myth

If I have leg pain and I also have varicose and/or spider veins; treating these prominent veins will resolve my leg pain

Truth

There are many health conditions that can cause leg pain. Certainly, if your leg symptoms are consistent and secondary to an underlying chronic vein condition addressing this issue will help decrease your leg discomfort. However, leg pain may also be associated with an underlying artery, bone/joint, nerve or muscle condition. All these areas need to be considered. At the Charlottesville Vein Center we can help assess the cause of your leg pain.

Myth

Performing an ablation procedure on my saphenous vein which has leaky valves will result in all my varicose veins disappearing.

Truth

Treating the saphenous vein alone will fix the root cause of varicose veins but often will not make all the prominent varicose veins disappear. Varicose veins have taken years if not decades to develop and may not fully decompress after a saphenous ablation procedure alone. Sometimes the use of a delicate additional technique called microphlebectomy is necessary to completely remove the varicose veins and will provide a better cosmetic result.

Myth

Varicose veins are just a cosmetic issue.

Truth

Varicose veins may be a sign of a larger problem that should be evaluated and diagnosed by a vascular specialist. Swelling, skin changes, itching, aching, superficial blood clots (phlebitis) and even skin breakdown with ulceration can be caused by varicose veins.

Myth

Insurance companies don’t cover varicose vein treatment.

Truth

Most insurance companies do offer coverage for varicose vein treatment if people have leg discomfort and documented abnormalities that can be attributed to a chronic vein condition. In addition, patients are often required by insurance to perform a period of conservative treatment to see if their symptoms resolve before any intervention will be approved. At Charlottesville Vein Center, if it is found that you have a medical need for treatment, we work with your insurance company to obtain the pre-authorization you need for coverage.

Myth

I have to go to the hospital to have my vein procedure performed.

Truth

Most of our minimally-invasive vein procedures can be done in our state-of-the-art office setting. In some cases we may perform a procedure at the Sentara Martha Jefferson Outpatient Surgery Center or at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. Regardless of location, however, you will find our facilities to be inviting and comforting.

Myth

Varicose veins can be definitively treated by wearing graduated compression stockings.

Truth

Although compression garments often make a patient feel better while they are being worn, when they are removed symptoms usually return. Thus, they provide temporary relief, but are not a realistic long-term solution in most cases.

Myth

Only women get varicose veins.

Truth

Varicose veins are a condition that may be accelerated by a woman’s pregnancy. However, both men and women can get varicose veins and can benefit from vein therapy.

Myth

I am too old or too young to have my varicose veins treated.

Truth

Charlottesville Vein Center has treated patients from ages 18-92 for the appropriate reasons. There are varying causes of varicose veins, even in younger patients, and they should always be evaluated by an experienced vein specialist to determine the appropriate treatment whether it is conservative or interventional.

Myth

There is no difference among vein doctors.

Truth

The field of phlebology (vein surgery) has traditionally been managed comprehensively by vascular surgeons. Now the field has become populated by a variety of physicians who have various and limited skill sets. No doctor starts out as a ‘phlebologist’. They start out as a specific type of physician but brand themselves as a phlebologist or vein specialist. A doctor’s ability to perform phlebology well is the result of a combination of the doctor’s original definitive training (i.e. vascular surgery) and how much vein-care experience the doctor has delivered. A vascular surgeon’s entire career after medical school has been directed towards treating all aspects of the human circulation particularly diseases of veins and arteries. Typically, when there are complications in treating veins it is vascular surgeons who resolve these conditions. It is important to understand the different kinds of doctors and vein care specialties in order to receive the proper diagnosis and treatment and if they can understand and manage all acute and chronic venous conditions appropriately and with the highest level of expertise.

Myth

Diabetes can cause varicose veins.

Truth

Diabetes does affect blood vessels but it effects arteries not veins. Diabetes my affect the affect the arteries of the legs, kidneys, and eyes. However, diabetes does affect vein or lead to varicose veins.

Myth

There is no difference in Vein Practices that appear on the Internet.

Truth

There is a difference between vein practices. Make sure you vein practice has achieved IAC Vein Center Accreditation. An 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 for patient with venous disease. Before allowing anyone to treat your veins, make sure you are educated about the IAC Vein Center Accreditation. Read more about this standard for our practice when considering where to go for evaluation and treatment of your varicose and spider veins.

Myth

If I had vein stripping or treatments in the past, but my varicose veins have reoccurred, nothing more can be done for me.

Truth

Recent changes in varicose vein diagnosis and treatment mean that you may have additional treatment options. Charlottesville Vein Center can re-evaluate your veins, identify the reasons for the re-occurrence, and determine if our new minimally invasive procedures may help you.

Myth

My neuropathy will improve after fixing my varicose veins.

Truth

Varicose veins are corrected by treating superficial venous disease. This treatment will improve such symptoms as aching, tiredness, heaviness, itching and sometimes swelling. Unfortunately, neuropathy is not caused by varicose veins but by sensory nerves and will not improve as a result of these treatments.

Myth

Varicose vein treatments usually have long recovery times.

Truth

Modern varicose vein treatments, like the ones performed at the Charlottesville Vein Center, are very minimally invasive and usually do not require any type of surgery. Most patients return to normal activity in 1-2 days, although heavy lifting and vigorous exercise is avoided for 1-2 weeks.

Myth

Varicose veins can be prevented

Truth

While there are certain lifestyle changes that can be made to slow the progression or relieve discomfort from varicose veins, there is no way to actually prevent the condition. Depending on symptoms, varicose veins require an evaluation by an experienced vascular professional like the vascular surgeons at Charlottesville Vein Center. Typically varicose veins is a condition that progresses and worsens.

Myth

Varicose veins can be cured.

Truth

Modern treatments of chronic vein conditions are very effective but are never completely curative. Most studies suggest that approximately 15% of treated patients will have some level of varicose vein recurrence after appropriate treatment at some period in the future.

Myth

Closing of or removing veins will cause circulation problems later in life.

Truth

It is a logical concern is that closing, collapsing or removing veins may cause future circulation problems. Don’t I need all my veins? In actuality the deep veins (deep to your muscle and bones) are the most important ones. The truth is that superficial veins, particularly damaged ones, are not necessary for normal circulation and treating damaged or abnormal veins will make your circulation more efficient. The human leg has an extensive network of deep and superficial veins and treating abnormal branches will allow healthy veins to take over.

Myth

Varicose veins should not be treated unless they are painful.

Truth

Aside from their unappealing physical appearance, leg varicose veins can produce symptoms of heaviness, throbbing, itching and fatigue in the legs. But there is no need to always wait for these symptoms to develop to have the veins treated. With treatments that can be performed in the office with very limited recovery, being proactive is easier than ever.

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Our Location

595 Martha Jefferson Drive, Suite 270
Charlottesville, VA 22911

Monday – Friday 8am – 4:30pm
Phone: (434) 654-1700
Fax: (434) 244-4579