Treatment of Varicose Veins in Portland, Oregon
Dr. Richard Hamilton of Women's Healthcare Associates offers treatment for varicose veins in our Lloyd District office. Contact us at (503) 249-5454 for more information or ask your provider for a referral.
Read below to learn more about varicose veins, venous reflux disease and vein ablation, or watch a brief video:
What are varicose veins?
Varicose veins are enlarged veins that are often raised above the skin on legs and look like twisted, bulging cords. They may be associated with pain, aches, heaviness, restless legs or burning and itching of the skin. If left untreated, symptoms may worsen and can lead to ulcers in advanced stage disease.
Women’s Healthcare Associates offers in-office treatment using a procedure known as vein ablation. Ablation is a non-surgical procedure for the treatment of venous reflux disease, a condition that is behind many cases of varicose veins. The procedure is performed comfortably in our office and most patients resume normal activities within a day.
What is venous reflux disease?
Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart. Venous reflux disease develops when those valves become diseased or damaged, preventing healthy blood flow back to the heart. As a result, blood will pool in the leg veins, leading to varicose veins and other symptoms. Risk factors for venous reflux disease include:
- Family history
- Heavy lifting
- Professions requiring prolonged standing or sitting
- Trauma to the affected area
Traditionally, people diagnosed with venous reflux would undergo painful, lengthy vein stripping surgery. Now, patients of Women’s Healthcare Associates can be treated in our office with vein ablation, which is fast, easy and comfortable.
Determining if vein ablation is right for you
If you have varicose veins, determining whether you are a candidate for vein ablation involves:
- Ultrasound of your leg veins and consultation with the physician who performs the vein ablation procedure.
- “Conservative management” of your symptoms using compression stockings.
- Follow up consultation with physician .
- Vein ablation procedure.**
**The vein ablation procedure will only be approved by most insurance companies if a medical need is demonstrated and If conservative management has not been effective.
What to expect from vein ablation
The vein ablation procedure is performed in our office. Using ultrasound, the physician will position a thin catheter in the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. The tiny catheter uses radiofrequency energy to deliver heat to the vein wall.
As the heat is delivered, the vein wall shrinks and the vein is sealed closed. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood re-routes itself naturally to other healthier veins.
Frequently asked questions
Is the procedure painful?
Patients generally report feeling little or no pain during and after the procedure and minimal to no bruising, scarring or swelling.
How long does it take to recover and see improvement?
You’ll be walking right after the procedure and most patients are back to normal activities within a day or so. You will wear compression stockings for about 10 days to aid healing, and we may ask you to refrain from extended standing and strenuous activity for a short time. Many patients notice relief of symptoms like pain, leg heaviness and fatigue right away. The full benefits of the procedure may take a few weeks.
How is vein ablation different from other treatment options?
Only one tiny incision is made at the insertion site and the vein is then closed and re-absorbed by the body over time. This approach greatly reduces the pain and bruising associated with treatments like vein stripping surgery.
Will my insurance company pay for vein ablation treatment?
Vein ablation is covered by most insurance plans and Medicare for patients diagnosed with symptomatic venous reflux disease. This means you are bothered by pain, swelling, leg heaviness and/or fatigue, and the screening ultrasound shows impaired blood flow.
Many insurance plans require “conservative management” of your symptoms using compression stockings for a period of time before approving the vein ablation procedure. We will go over these requirements with you in more detail at your consultation.