Welcome to the FAQ section. This is where you will find answers to many of the most common questions we receive at Canada Vein Clinics. Any other questions can be answered by giving us a call at 1-888-876-8346, or can be addressed during your consultation.
Q: What are varicose and spider veins?
Varicose veins are large, rope-like, swollen veins, visible on the surface of the skin. These veins are commonly seen in the legs, but can develop in the chest, groin, and hands. Spider veins are much smaller than varicose veins and occur in bunches with various branched points in a variety of areas.
Q: How common are varicose veins?
Approximately half of the population has some form of venous disease while varicose veins affect one out of two people age 50 and older, and 15-25% of all adults. On average 18% of men and 25% of women develop varicose veins. Varicose veins are one of the most common venous issues affecting the world today.
Q: What causes varicose veins?
Varicose veins occur when veins do not properly return blood from the lower leg to the heart. All veins have valves that open to allow the flow of blood to the heart and close to prevent backflow (otherwise know as “reflux”) of blood to the foot. When valves fail to function properly, blood leaks through and flows down the leg in the wrong direction. The blood overfills and distends the superficial veins under the skin, resulting in the bulging that you see in varicose veins. Click here to read more about the cause of varicose veins.
Q: Is it necessary to seek treatment for my vein problems?
Yes! Most of our patients come to us because they find their spider veins and varicose veins to be unsightly and uncomfortable. However, it is important to seek treatment for vein conditions regardless of the cosmetic benefits of our procedures, as they can be signs of more serious deep vein disease issues and can lead to serious medical complications, including ulcers, bleeding, infection and blood clots. As a precaution, we screen all of our patients before treatment of varicose and spider veins for these issues and treat them safely and effectively.
Q: What are some of the symptoms of varicose veins?
Here are some other physical symptoms of varicose veins that make them easier to diagnose:
- Itchy or flaky skin around the affected vein, sometimes accompanied by a burning sensation
- Feeling of heaviness in the lower legs after standing or sitting for long periods of time
- Aching in the lower leg area without relief
- Muscle cramps or pain in the lower legs
- Moderate to severe swelling around the ankles – the ankle area appears puffy and swollen, and the ankle bone may not be visible
Not all of these symptoms are present in every case. However, if your veins fit the above description and you have one or more of these symptoms, it is likely you have varicose veins. These symptoms may have already impacted your quality of life, and it may be difficult for you to walk, sit or even stand for a prolonged period.
The good news is that if you suffer from varicose veins, treatment has advanced rapidly in recent years, and Canada Vein Clinics is the breakthrough clinic for varicose and spider vein treatments in Canada. In other words, you do NOT have to live with varicose veins anymore!
Q: What are the symptoms of venous insufficiency?
You may be suffering from any level of venous insufficiency if you are experiencing one or any of the following symptoms:
- Dull aching, heaviness, or cramping of the legs
- Itching and tingling
- Pain that gets worse when standing
- Pain that gets better when legs are raised
- Swelling of the legs
- Redness of the legs and ankles
- Skin color changes around the ankles
- Skin discoloration (bluing and browning of the skin)
- Thickening and hardening of the skin on the legs and ankles
- Ulcers on the legs and ankles
- Restless legs
All the above symptoms, as well as many others, can be caused by abnormal circulation in the veins of the lower extremities. This is a condition called “venous insufficiency.”
Q: How do I know if I have venous insufficiency?
Fortunately, most vein issues are found by looking at the size and color of the vein at the skin’s surface. In some cases, however, the vein issues are deep within the body and are not visible through the skin. As a result, paying close attention to other symptoms is important in diagnosing venous insufficiency. Many patients with venous insufficiency experience cramping, aching, burning, itching, soreness, and “tired” or “restless” legs, especially in the calf muscles. If you experience these symptoms, your CVC physician can quickly and easily perform a test to determine if you have vein insufficiency.
Q: What are the different types of vein insufficiency?
Spider veins are the small, thread-like colored veins that are most often seen on the surface of the skin. While many people seek treatment for spider veins for cosmetic reasons, spider veins can also result in substantial discomfort, ultimately requiring therapy.
Varicose veins are the large, “rope-like” veins which are often 1/4″ or larger in diameter. Varicose veins generally grow over time and can result in substantial pain and complications if not treated.
Depending on the type and stage of venous condition, there are many different treatments. Your physician can explain all of the options.
Q: Can venous insufficiency be prevented?
Generally, no. If you have a family history of vein conditions, your chance of developing venous insufficiency is high. Being overweight can accelerate the progression of venous insufficiency, and long periods of sitting or standing can also contribute to the problem. Diet and footwear are generally believed to be irrelevant in the onset of venous insufficiency.
Q: What can happen if varicose veins are left untreated?
Varicose veins generally worsen over time. Initially, slight pain and restlessness in the affected leg will be felt. If untreated, this pain will increase and result in limitations in walking and cramping during sleep. Eventually, varicose veins can lead to open sores on the foot, blood clots, and tissue loss.
Q: How successful is Endovenous Laser Therapy, ClariVein, Sclerotherapy, VenaSeal, and Mini-Phlebectomy?
Clinical results have been published documenting the success of Endovenous Laser Treatment at 98%, ClariVein at 98.9%, Mini-Phlebectomy at 97%, VenaSeal at 98.9% and Sclerotherapy at 80%. Like any medical treatment, however, all vein therapies have certain risks which your physician will explain as they apply to your individual case. To learn more about each treatment option, visit our vein procedure pages.
Q: Who should not be treated?
Patients should wait at least three months after pregnancy or major surgery before being treated for venous insufficiency. Patients who have suppressed immune systems, persons with deep vein thrombosis or incompetence, and patients who cannot ambulate (walk or move around) for other reasons, are not good candidates for treatment.
Q: If the vein is closed by the treatment, where does the blood go?
There are many veins in the leg – so the blood that would have flowed through the closed vein simply flows through other healthy veins after the procedure. The loss of the affected vein is not a problem for the circulatory system.
Q: Is the loss of the vein a problem?
No. Since there are many veins in the leg, the blood that would have flowed through the closed vein is simply redirected through other healthy veins after your procedure.
Q: What are the complications of vein treatment?
Fortunately, Sclerotherapy, ClariVein, Mini-Phlebectomy, VenaSeal and Endovenous Laser Therapies have rarely been associated with any serious complications when properly performed. Common minor complications of these procedures may include bruising, mild itching, tenderness, and tightness in the treated leg for up to two weeks following treatment.
Q: What should I do after the procedure?
After any of our minimally invasive vein treatments, a gauze pad and tape will be placed over the puncture site, and a compression stocking or compression bandage will be worn on your treated leg for support. You are encouraged to walk immediately following the procedure, and resume your normal activities.
However, during the two weeks following your procedure, you should avoid swimming, vigorous gym workouts, hot baths, and excessive sun. Following your vein treatment, your physician will provide customized instructions for you to follow, including how long you will need to wear compression stockings. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask your Canada Vein Clinics physician. We are available to guide you through any follow-up care as needed.
Q: What should I expect after the procedure?
You should expect to see some bruising at the treatment site as the vein disappears. These side effects are normal, but should subside within a month. You may also feel some tenderness, tingling, itching or tightness in your treated leg during the two weeks following the procedure. If you experience significant pain or have bleeding in the treated leg, contact your Canada Vein Clinics physician immediately.