Frequently Asked Questions

What are varicose and spider veins?

Varicose veins are abnormal, superficial veins that usually appear to be swollen and knotted and develop in the soft tissue beneath the skin. Because the valves in these veins are weakened or damaged they do not transport blood back to the heart efficiently. The result is blood backs up in the veins, making them bigger and causing them to become varicose.

Spider veins are similar to varicose veins. These small red or blue veins are closer to the surface of the skin.

What causes varicose and spider veins?

There are many factors that contribute to the formation of varicose and spider veins. They include heredity, age, gender, female hormones, pregnancy, trauma, obesity and prolonged standing.

Do varicose and spider veins serve any useful purpose?

These veins don’t serve any useful purpose. In fact, they are dysfunctional veins that can compromise circulation in the legs. Today’s varicose vein treatments use minimally-invasive techniques to re-route blood to healthy veins, which improves circulation.

What are the common symptoms of varicose veins?

The most common symptoms of varicose veins in the leg(s) include: aching, ankle swelling, fatigue, itching and heaviness that characteristically worsen throughout the day. Another common symptom is leg pain that worsens the more you are on your feet and improves when legs are elevated.

What can be done to prevent varicose and spider veins?

Many of the underlying factors that cause varicose veins are beyond our control. We can’t control our heredity, for example. But there are steps we can take to lessen the chance of developing varicose veins such as: maintaining a healthy weight, exercising to improve leg strength and circulation, limiting periods of long standing or sitting and wearing surgical grade compression stockings. These stockings, which are readily available online or at medical supply stores, can help your legs pump blood back up to your heart. They are particularly helpful on long plane or car rides.

What are the common treatment(s) for varicose and spider veins?

Sclerotherapy and laser/light therapy are most commonly used to treat spider veins. Laser ablation or radiofrequency ablation treatments in conjunction with or without ambulatory microphlebectomy is used to treat varicose veins. Please see our treatment options to read more about the treatments offered by The Vein Specialists of Carolina Vascular.

Are treatments for varicose veins and spider veins covered by insurance?

Most insurance plans cover symptomatic varicose veins. Before treatment, however, be sure to check with your insurance carrier, as each has its own medical policy concerning the treatment of varicose veins and each plan has its own rate of coverage for treatment. If you decide to proceed with treatment, The Vein Specialists can provide an estimate of insurance benefits prior to scheduling.

Most insurance companies consider the treatment of spider veins to be cosmetic, non-medically necessary treatment. Some insurance companies may state that they do cover sclerotherapy treatment, but this is usually limited to patients that have severe symptoms such as hemorrhaging or ulceration. If you are concerned about your spider veins, The Vein Specialists provide free medical consultations and an estimate of treatment costs following your evaluation.