As savvy Scoop readers know, unsightly varicose and spider veins are a problem that can be fixed with help from our local experts Dermatology, Laser & Vein Specialists of the Carolinas (DLVSC). The downside to vein treatment has been wearing those tight, itchy compression hose afterward.
Good news. Now the pros at DLVSC are among the first in the area to offer a state-of-the-art vein treatment that doesn’t require you to shimmy into compression hose at all. Dr. Payman Kosari sat down with us to talk about VenaSeal, along with who’s most at risk for having vein problems in the first place.
How VenaSeal is different
Dr. Kosari said laser ablation (sealing the vein with gentle application of heat) is the “gold standard” for fixing unsightly veins, but patients are generally required to wear tight compression stockings for two weeks after the procedure — not ideal in warm spring and summer months.
With VenaSeal, however, a doctor will essentially use a special adhesive to seal the diseased vein closed, re-routing blood into other healthy veins. It’s minimally invasive and you can get back to your daily activities right away, including flying on planes and exercise (both restricted with some other vein treatments).
Dr. Kosari said side effects like inflammation are extremely rare, and there’s very little chance the vein will re-open. One caveat: Since VenaSeal is a cutting edge treatment, it’s not currently covered by insurance like some others. Although given the high deductibles on many insurance plans, the cost to you for VenaSeal may end up comparable to traditional treatment covered by insurance. And DLVSC offers CareCredit healthcare financing so you have the option to pay in installments.
Who’s at risk?
Just being female dramatically increases your risk of developing vein insufficiency, Dr. Kosari says. Among many other factors, women are known for wearing high heels which can aggravate the picture.
Prevention tip: Switch to flats or a more supportive shoe — at least for a few days a week.
There is a misconception that the size of the baby during late pregnancy is the cause of varicose veins. It is now known that “estrogen and progesterone, during pregnancy, have a major effect in the weakening of the the vein walls.” Therefore, it is important even in the beginning of pregnancy to take preventive measures to help support your veins.
Prevention tip: Dr. Kosari says moms-to-be should consider wearing compression stockings for their entire pregnancy. He says you don’t have to go out and buy the longest, tightest pair of compression stockings you can find. “Stockings with mild compression will give protection and help keep the legs feeling comfortable,” he said.
People who sit — or stand — all day long
Dr. Kosari says both prolonged sitting and standing can impede on proper circulation in the lower extremities. He often sees office workers who are behind their desks all day, as well as hairstylists, teachers, and retail staff who spend the day on their feet.
Prevention tip: Try to change your sitting or standing position regularly. If you’re a desk jockey, get up and walk around once an hour. If you’re on your feet all day, take a few minutes to sit down and elevate your legs. Dr. Kosari said if that’s not possible, exercise your calves under your desk or while you’re standing. “The calf is like the heart of the lower extremities. It’s a strong pump so it assists in maintaining proper circulation .” To combat the effects of prolonged sitting or standing, Dr. Kosari recommends wearing compression stockings at work. This not only helps with any discomfort lingering in the legs but also helps with improving circulation.
People whose parents have varicose veins
If your parent has evidence of spider or varicose veins, it’s possible you’ll have them too. Even one parent with venous disease puts you at risk but your risk of complications increases dramatically if both parents have vein disease.
Prevention tip: Unfortunately you can’t fight genetics, but you can be aware of yours. As soon as you see or feel evidence of a vein issue, see a professional. “Once you develop vein issues, unfortunately they won’t take a step back,” Dr. Kosari said. “Getting them treated, however, will slow the process.”
Extra weight means extra pressure on your veins.
Prevention tip: Work with your doctor to make a diet and exercise plan that will help you shed the weight. Bonus: Even light walking will help increase circulation in the legs. Dr. Kosari recommends wearing compression activewear whenever possible — regardless of athletic skill level.
Want to learn more?
DLVSC offers Venaseal and a variety of other varicose vein treatments. Check out the full list here. and reach out for your consultation today. You can have this fixed by summer!