Frequently Asked Questions

What are varicose and spider veins?
Varicose veins and spider veins are common problems, sometimes painful and always cosmetically unpleasant. They have nothing to do with weight or exercise, crossing the legs, high heals or walking on hard floors, but are rather an inherited condition appearing often as early as teenage years and especially during pregnancies. Nonetheless, it is not uncommon to see them develop much later in life.

What are the most common symptoms?
Typically they cause aching discomfort and a heavy feeling and legs that tire easily, with symptoms often worse as the day wears on. Relief comes with walking or elevating the legs. Regardless, there are many who complain of no symptoms at all.

Is treatment necessary?
Varicose veins and spider veins are always abnormal and will not disappear without treatment. Left unchecked varicose veins can lead to unpleasant and even serious complications such as skin discoloration and sores, bleeding, ankle swelling and phlebitis. Spider veins, not associated with varicose veins, will likely remain only a cosmetic problem although some patients complain bitterly of discomfort for no other apparent reason. While many persons chose not to treat varicose veins, especially when they are not causing pain or discomfort, in the minority of cases that complications develop,treatment may come to late.

Do varicose veins require surgery?
With rare exception surgery is no longer necessary or advisable. In most cases they are treatable with almost painless injections of sclerotherapy, which will cause them to “dry up in a few weeks. Lasers can also be used to treat spider veins and really small varicose veins.

For larger and more severe varicose veins, minimally invasive outpatient techniques can be administered using needles no larger than those used for drawing your blood for lab tests. Laser transmitting fibers can be inserted into veins and permanent closure of even the largest veins achieved by lasering them from within. Patients may drive themselves home and return to work and usual activities the next day.

What is sclerotherapy? Is it also an alternative to surgery?
Sclerotherapy refers to the injection of dilated veins and spider blemishes with medication specifically formulated to cause their disappearance without doing harm to normal healthy veins, the skin or other tissues. Only the finest and highest quality needles are used and strict asepsis is observed, with everything appropriately discarded immediately after use.

No. Except in a few generally isolated cases where foam sclerotherapy is applicable, injection of sclerosing medications is not a wise or acceptable alternative and high-tech sounding terms such as ultrasound guided injections do not make it so.

Many cosmetic dermatologists and plastic surgeons and other trained medical doctors treat patients with varicose veins and spider veins as part of their overall practice in which they provide the highest quality care to their patients. But they always refer patients they know they cannot help to qualified associates.

Why Does Southern Vein & Laser Institute insist on surgery for some patients?
Because some patients with varicose veins cannot be treated without some form of intervention to relieve the underlying causes of their varicose veins. Within recent years, specially developed catheters and fibers have had the same effect on varicose vein treatment as angioplasty has had for many patients who would otherwise have had to undergo open coronary bypass surgery. For varicose vein patients recent catheter and fiber designs allow insertion through nothing more than needles placed directly into varicose veins. Such access permits lasering the vein from within with minimized risk and discomfort.

Is sclerotherapy safe for all patients?
Ninety percent of patients at Southern Vein & Laser Institute are treated with sclerotherpy alone because it is safe, virtually painless, inexpensive and highly effective. As with our minimally invasive techniques, all sclerotherapy patients return to normal activities right away. No convalescence is required as veins disappear while patients go about their usual activities. Relief of heaviness and other symptoms is almost immediate and many veins are completely gone within six weeks. For spider veins and small varicose veins, sclerotherapy is usually all that is necessary and generally speaking results are superior, at least in our hands, to laser treatments.

How effective is treatment?
Varicose vein patients may expect 100% relief. Spider vein patients are advised to expect at least a 70% overall improvement; most will experience more.

What is the cost of treatment?
Treatment need not be expensive but spider vein patients are advised that their insurance will not cover it. Excepting unusual circumstances a consultation charge is not rendered and additional laboratory testing is not necessary. While it is difficult to predict how much treatment will be necessary, we advise that most patients (about 70%) require between three to six 15-20 minute treatment sessions, usually over a period of three to six months. The rest will require one or two, or when the problem is more extensive, some may require more treatment over an extended period of time.

For patients with more serious varicose veins problems, venous duplex peripheral vascular examination is scheduled at a future date. These patients are told a treatment fee in advance and we then make every effort to obtain maximum reimbursement that is permitted under their insurance plan

Will my insurance plan cover the costs of the treatment?
Traditional indemnity and PPO managed care plans should help pay for treatment of varicose veins, but different plans within the same company will vary widely in their reimbursement allowances. Only spider vein treatment is not likely to be covered. Regardless, treatment at Southern Vein & Laser Institute may still be your wisest decision.

If insurance coverage is a matter of concern, you can get a great deal of information from us over the phone. You need not make an appointment for a consultation to benefit from what we have learned from dealing with your insurance company for numerous years.

How can I get more information on Southern Vein & Laser Institute?
If you would like more information on Southern Vein & Laser Institute, call us at 504-349-6713 or request a free brochure, which will be forwarded to your home address or email us at info@southernvein.com

How can I make an appointment?
To make an appointment, call Donna at 504-349-6713, weekdays between 9:00am and 5.00pm, or email us at info@southernvein.com

What are compression stockings?
Compression stockings are specialized long socks, which are worn from the foot to the knee/thigh. These specialized stockings have a gradient of pressure (tighter in the foot and gradually less tight at the knee). These stockings when worn properly reduce the swelling in the feet and also decrease the chance of blood clot formation in the legs. Back to top

HHow do compression stockings work?
Compression stockings are made of strong elastic material and fit tightly at the feet and gradually become less tight at the knee/thigh. The pressure in the stockings is graded and this allows for the stockings to constantly squeeze the leg muscles. This motion helps to drive blood back to the heart, reduce swelling in the feet and prevent blood clot formation.

What are Compression Stockings used to treat?
Compression stockings are an excellent and simple method of treating disorders such as chronic venous insufficiency, varicose veins, lymphedema, post phlebitic syndrome and prevention of blood clots in the leg. The stockings can be worn as either in-patient or out patient. The stockings do not eliminate the varicose veins but do help reduce the swelling, aching and heaviness feeling that individuals with varicose veins experience. It is also recommended that such stockings be worn during long plane rides to decrease the probability of blood clot formation in the legs.

How long should compression stockings be worn?
The stockings should be worn daily as long as patient is at increased risk of forming blood clots in the leg. The stockings should be worn during the day and removed at night. For those with varicose veins, venous ulcers and lymphedema, the stockings must be worn for years and even for life. It is highly recommended that whenever possible, individuals keep their legs elevated at night when they do not wear compression stockings.

How does one wear compression stockings?
The stockings should be worn first thing in the morning before one gets out of bed. Some practice is required to wear compression stockings. One may either turn the stockings inside out or apply a small amount of silicone lotion to assist in wearing the stockings. One may also place a rubber glove on the toes and then pass the stockings over them to wear the stockings. A good deal of pulling is required to get the stockings past the ankle. This gets easier when one is used to wearing the stockings.

Who should not wear compression stockings?
Compression stockings squeeze the muscles of the leg and drive blood away from the leg. In those patients who are diabetic, or those who smoke or those who have a decreased blood supply to the legs, compression stockings are not recommended. The compression stockings can decrease the blood supply further and worsen the disease.

Does one need a prescription to buy the stockings?
The stockings with good quality compression can be bought in most pharmacies and medical supply shops with a prescription. The stockings come in 3 different sizes from small, medium and large. The knee high stockings are much easier to wear and better tolerated than the thigh high stockings. Before buying the stocking, one should get the health care worker to assess the size of the leg and the best type of stocking. The compression stockings also come in various colors.
There are a variety of non prescriptions stockings but these do not provide the adequate level of compression required to prevent blood clots or leg swelling.

How much do compression stockings?
The price of stockings may range from $40-100 per pair. One pair may usually last about 6-12 months. It is best to hand wash these stockings to maintain their elasticity.