SAINT JOHN VEIN CLINIC
frequently asked questions
Q: What are varicose veins?
A: The normal function of leg veins - both the deep veins in the leg and the superficial veins - is to carry blood back to the heart. During walking, for instance, the calf muscle acts as a pump, contracting veins and forcing blood back to the heart. To prevent blood from flowing in the wrong direction, veins have numerous valves. If the valves fail, blood flows back into superficial veins and back down the leg. This results in veins enlarging and becoming varicose. Varicose and spider veins are the most obvious and visual symptom of vein disease. If left untreated, varicose veins can sometimes progress to become Chronic Venous Insufficiency with symptoms that may worsen over time. Fortunately, by diagnosing and treating varicose veins you may halt the progression of the disease.
Q: What are spider veins?
A: Spider veins are close to the skins surface and may look thin and wispy like spider webs or thick and squiggly like branches. They are similar to varicose veins, only thinner. Although we tend to think of spider veins as a cosmetic problem, many times there is an underlying medical cause that has created the spider veins. If you have spider veins along with any other symptom of vein disease (stinging, throbbing, aching, numbness, etc.) then you may have an underlying issue. An evaluation and an ultrasound test can establish if spider veins are cosmetic in nature or a result of venous insufficiency.
Q: What is vein disease (Chronic Venous Insufficiency CVI)?
A: Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the leg veins do not allow blood to travel back to the heart. (Arteries carry blood away from the heart, while veins carry blood to the heart). Problems with valves in the veins can cause the blood to flow both directions, not just toward the heart. These valves that are not working properly can cause blood in the legs to pool. If chronic venous insufficiency is left untreated, pain, swelling, and leg ulcers may result.
Q: Who is at risk for varicose veins?
A: Conditions contributing to varicose veins include genetics, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes at menopause, work or hobbies requiring extended standing, and past vein diseases such as thrombophlebitis (i.e. inflammation of a vein as a blood clot forms.) Both men and women are at risk for experiencing varicose veins. Although approximately 45 percent of men suffer from vein disease, it's still women who are mainly affected.
Q: Why does vein disease occur more in the legs?
A: Gravity is the culprit. The distance from the feet to the heart is the furthest blood has to travel in the body. Consequently, those vessels experience a great deal of pressure. If vein valves can't handle it, the backflow of blood can cause the surface veins to become swollen and distorted.
Q: What are the symptoms of varicose veins?
A: Varicose veins cause leg symptoms of aching, pain, heaviness and swelling through the day. Other symptoms can include itching, leg cramps and restless legs. Some patients do not have symptoms but are concerned with the appearance of their legs.
Q: How is vein disease diagnosed?
A: A venous ultrasound is a painless, noninvasive method to thoroughly assess the venous circulation of the legs. The study does more than simply rule out a “blood clot”. It will reveal the source of your varicose veins. The ultrasound (sonogram) shows abnormal veins and reversed flow (reflux), which are the cause of your varicose veins. This information is essential to allow Dr. Omotoso to formulate a customized plan for you.
Q: What is the best treatment for varicose veins?
A: The goal of varicose vein treatment is to address the underlying source and then approach the existing visible varicose veins. The Venefit Procedure uses radiofrequency energy to precisely and effectively treat patients suffering from vein disease. Dr. Omotoso closes the diseased or damaged vein by inserting a catheter and heating the vein wall using temperature-controlled radio-frequency energy. After the vein is sealed shut, blood naturally reroutes to healthy veins and the body dissolves the closed vein over time. Sclerotherapy is a non-surgical office procedure that treats spider veins and varicose veins. A very small needle is used to inject a medicated solution into the veins causing them to close down. They are gradually reabsorbed by the body. Both of these procedures are performed at the Saint John Vein Clinic.
Q: How soon can I return to work and other activities after a vein procedure?
A: As one would expect, it depends on the procedure. Sclerotherapy often will involve no activity limitations, or very minimal restrictions. Patients usually return to work that same day. The Venefit Procedure (radiofrequency ablation) requires roughly a week of limitation regarding strenuous activity (running, biking, tennis, weight machines, etc.). Discomfort and bruising vary considerably from patient to patient. Most patients return to work the next day, depending on the nature of one’s job. Dr. Omotoso will discuss any specific limitations depending on the extent of the procedure.
Q: How long does it take to get an appointment?
A: The Saint John Vein Clinic offers a short waiting time to be seen and treated for in office procedures. In most cases you are usually seen within two weeks.
Please call the Saint John Vein Clinic for a free consultation. 1-506-648-7013 or toll free 1-855-551-VEIN (8346)