Q: Is vein treatment covered by insurance?
A: Oftentimes, patients who have large bulging veins and symptoms such as heaviness, aching, or swelling are found to have an underlying medical condition known as venous insufficiency. Most insurance plans (including Medicare) do cover treatment of venous insufficiency and the associated veins. Cosmetic treatment (such as for spider veins) is never covered by insurance.
Q: What can I expect at my first visit?
A: Every patient at South Shore Vein undergoes an ultrasound to assess the state of the veins in the legs. This will determine if the issue is cosmetic or medical in nature. A physical exam will then be performed, and a customized treatment plan discussed.
Q: What can I do to alleviate discomfort in the legs prior to my visit?
A: Almost all patients with vein disease benefit from wearing compression stockings, exercising their legs, leg elevation, and weight loss.
Q: Is vein treatment painful?
A: For cosmetic treatment of spider veins, we use very tiny needles to inject medication. These needles are so small that they often are not felt at all as they go through the skin. For needle-phobic or very sensitive individuals, a jet of cold air (“cryo-sclerotherapy”) can be applied to the skin during treatment.
For medical treatment of larger veins, anesthesia is injected into the treatment area so that there is no pain. Patients will often opt for a mild oral sedative (such as Xanax or Valium) to make them more relaxed during the procedure.
Q: What is the recovery period like?
A: For cosmetic treatment, patients can resume normal activities right away. For more involved procedures, patients can return to work the very next day with minimal limitations on physical activity. Some procedures result in mild discomfort, which is alleviated with over-the-counter pain medication.
Q: Where are these procedures performed?
A: All procedures at South Shore Vein are performed in-office. There is no hospitalization, no general anesthesia, and no need for overnight stays. Most procedures take less than 1 hour (many as short as 30 minutes).
Q: What can happen if I leave my vein disease untreated?
A: Some patients simply experience cosmetic effects such as bulging veins and mild swelling. Over time, many patients will develop worsening of these symptoms, with aching, heaviness, cramping of the legs, and itching. In late-stage disease, the skin of the legs can become brittle and discolored, leading to cracks or ulcerations, which can become sites of infections. Obviously, this leads to major quality-of-life issues, so it is preferable to treat the vein disease before it gets to that point.