Vein Centers: Frequently Asked Questions

Why is a medical evaluation important before choosing vein treatments?

Multiple spider and varicose veins may signal underlying venous abnormalities. To address potential underlying venous disease, a medical evaluation or screening is recommended for proper diagnosis and treatment.

What are spider veins and do they cause symptoms?

Spider veins are small threadlike veins that lie close to the surface of the skin. They connect to the larger veins, but are non-essential. Spider veins are usually not associated with symptoms.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are larger, abnormal veins close to the skin surface. They often look like large ropes or clusters of grapes under the skin.

Are varicose veins dangerous to my health?

Although many people with varicose veins complain of discomfort, these symptoms usually are not harmful to your health.

What symptoms are associated with varicose veins?

Leg discomfort, aching, swelling, tingling and numbness, night cramps, and restlessness are common symptoms associated with varicose veins. Varicose veins can also become red, hot, and swollen, a condition known as phlebitis. Rarely, varicose veins close to the surface of the skin can break and cause bleeding.

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the valves in the leg veins do not work resulting in incompetence and reflux. Common symptoms include leg swelling, discomfort, aching, brownish discoloration and itchiness. If left untreated, venous insufficiency may lead to skin break down and ulcers.

What is vein "stripping?"

A traditional vein surgery, “stripping” involves removing a portion of diseased vein that runs up the inner portion of the leg (saphenous vein), thereby closing off the main source of the blood flow to varicose vein branches. By removing or closing off blood flow to varicose veins, additional procedures will be more effective. Although “ligation” and/or “stripping” of the saphenous vein are the traditional methods for removing the diseased vein from circulation, newer, less-invasive techniques such as endovenous laser ablation are also an option.

How are lasers used to treat varicose veins?

Several types of laser and radiofrequency devices are available for the treatment of varicose veins caused by venous insufficiency. Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) and VNUS Closure are minimally invasive techniques used to close off blood flow in the saphenous vein and has replaced the need for “stripping.” Additional procedures may be needed to remove large vein clusters.

Can varicose veins be removed?

Yes, varicose veins can be removed, but often require a minor surgical procedure known as phlebectomy.

What is phlebectomy? 

A phlebectomy involves the removal of a varicose vein through micro-incisions. This technique may be used to remove a single vein or isolated vein clusters and is performed using a local anesthetic, resulting in minimal to no scarring.

Does medical insurance cover vein treatments?

Yes, most insurance plans will cover certain procedures. We are glad to work with you to determine which procedures will qualify for insurance coverage.

How long does treatment take?

Treatment times are brief, and our vein centers are easy to access with convenient locations in Washington, DC and Northern Virginia. Our minimally invasive surgical procedures such as endovenous laser ablation, or laser vein therapy, require more operative and recovery time, but generally can be performed on an outpatient basis. Most cosmetic procedures can be performed in less than one hour in a clinic setting

What cosmetic treatment options do you offer?

Sclerotherapy is the “gold standard” in cosmetic treatment of spider veins. Sclerotherapy involves injecting a sclerosing agent, like saline, into the vein. When this causes the blood to displace, the vessel begins to close. Several treatments are often required.