Six Steps to Healthier (Lovelier) Legs!

Date Published: March 21st, 2018
Blog Category: Veins
Rick Pittman, MD

Unsightly veins, often greeted with as much joy as wrinkles, bring both cosmetic and physical problems. Genetics, hormones and trauma contribute to their appearance, but there are steps you can take to minimize their occurrence and lessen discomfort.

Your Six-Step Vein Care Plan will ensure you receive the highest level of care and long-term results.

STEP 1: Consultation

Your initial consultation will include visit with our Board Certified Vein Specialist, Rick Pittman, MD. We will obtain a history regarding your vein symptoms and perform a thorough vascular physical examination. We will look for an underlying abnormality that may be causing your symptoms. Based on these findings, a duplex ultrasound may be recommended for a more in-depth evaluation.

STEP 2: Diagnostic Ultrasound Imaging

A duplex study of the superficial and deep venous system is necessary to rule out superficial or deep vein blood clot, and to document sources of reflux (back flow of blood that causes varicose veins). The study is performed by a Registered Vascular Technologist and interpreted by Dr. Pittman who will personally give you the results, usually on the same day. The duplex study is painless and usually takes approximately 20-30 minutes. The study is sometimes performed while you are standing in order to obtain the best assessment of the varicose veins.

STEP 3: Education and Treatment Plan

Following the initial consultation and duplex ultrasound, the findings will be summarized and explained to you, and a treatment plan will be discussed. If you have varicose veins and they meet your insurance company’s criteria for treatment, a period of conservative therapy will be initiated.

Although varicose vein treatment may be appropriate, many insurance carriers require patients to meet strict guidelines to be eligible for reimbursement. In most cases, this consists of three to six months of conservative treatment including wearing compression hose, elevating your legs, pursuing a weight loss program, and taking analgesics for pain.

If you choose to pay out of pocket instead of billing insurance, treatment can begin immediately.

STEP 4: Endovenous Ablation

Endovenous ablation is the primary therapy used for the treatment of varicose veins. The 30-minute procedure is performed in our clinic and is extremely effective in treating varicose veins caused by reflux. Patients are typically “in-and-out”, and promptly resume normal activities, usually the following day. After treatment, patients are usually very satisfied with their results. They report low recurrence rates, as well as less discomfort, less bruising and fewer complications than with other forms of therapy.

STEP 5: Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy

Additional sessions, such as Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy may be required to complete treatment of the varicose vein branches. If these sessions, are necessary, we will obtain prior authorization from your insurance company, if applicable.

STEP 6: Post-Treatment Evaluation

Vein treatment is a process that may take up to 6-9 months to complete. During your post-treatment evaluation, Dr. Pittman will conduct a duplex ultrasound to evaluate the treated veins and determine if additional procedures are needed. Once your varicose veins have been successfully treated, you can begin treatment for spider veins. It is important to treat the underlying varicose veins first, to ensure the most optimum results. It’s important to note that varicose veins are treated, not cured. Periodic follow-up evaluations are necessary to maintain healthy legs.

Vein treatments are performed at our Salem location by Rick Pittman, MD, board certified in venous and lymphatic medicine. For more information or to schedule a consultation, call 503-362-8385.