Vein Treatment Specialist

Vascular and Endovascular Institute of Michigan

Medical Spa & Vascular Surgeons located in Clinton Township, MI

Vein Treatment Q & A

What causes varicose veins?

The veins are designed to return blood to the heart to get more oxygen. When they aren't working properly, blood can flow backwards and pool in the veins, causing varicose veins. Typically this happens when the veins lose elasticity and stretch or when the valves in the vein become weak.

Are varicose veins dangerous?

Varicose veins aren't dangerous in and of themselves, but they can be unsightly and uncomfortable. They can also point to a deeper health issues that should be addressed, such as problems with the circulatory system. Some health complications related to varicose veins are:

  • Ulcers on the skin
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding when the vein bursts

Patients who are concerned about their varicose veins should make an appointment with Dr. Rizk for a consultation.

What puts someone at risk for developing varicose veins?

Several risk factors for varicose veins exist. These include:

  • Age
  • Being female
  • Family history
  • Sitting or standing for long periods
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy

What can be done for varicose veins?

Some patients can find relief from varicose veins with simple changes, like using compression stockings or socks. Dr. Rizk may ask you to wear compression socks to squeeze your legs and stop the blood from flowing the wrong direction and pooling in the veins. Some patients find this is all they need to alleviate their varicose vein problems.

Varicose veins are easily treated using an in-office procedure that causes minimal discomfort. Dr. Rizk at Vascular and Endovascular Institute of Michigan can perform a procedure called sclerotherapy. In this procedure, Dr. Rizk injects a chemical irritant into the veins that causes scarring so they no longer fill with blood. Eventually the veins absorb and disappear.

Another treatment option is ablation, which inserts tiny electrodes into the vein through a catheter. These electrodes destroy the vein tissue, causing the vein to be absorbed by the body. The same basic process is possible with lasers as well.

Finally, vein stripping is another option. During this procedure, Dr. Rizk will disconnect the vein branches in the leg and remove the veins with a small hook. This procedure causes minimal discomfort and is done in the office at the Vascular and Endovascular Institute of Michigan. Patients who are looking for more information about treatment and prevention can contact Dr. Rizk for an appointment.

What causes spider veins?

Spider veins develop when the veins become weak or damaged, allowing blood to back up in the vein and make it swell. When a network of veins swells in the same area, they present as spider veins.

Do spider veins cause any complications?

Most of the time spider veins cause no symptoms, but for some patients they may cause:

  • Swelling
  • Throbbing
  • Restless legs
  • Skin sores
  • Blood clots

In addition, they're quite unsightly. Patients who want help with their spider veins can contact Dr. Rizk for help.

What treatment is available for spider veins?

At the Vascular and Endovascular Institute of Michigan, Dr. Rizk treats most spider veins with sclerotherapy. This treatment uses a   topical laser in addition to medicated solution injected into the vein to seal the vein, redirecting the blood flow. Eventually the vein is destroyed and reabsorbed into the body. The procedure lasts between 15-30 minutes and causes minimal discomfort. Patients will be asked to avoid aerobic activities in the days following the procedure, but otherwise can return to normal activities the same day as treatment.

Who's a candidate for sclerotherapy?

Patients can't have sclerotherapy if they're pregnant or taking birth control pills. Some patients who've had blood clots shouldn't have the procedure, but Dr. Rizk will determine this on a case-by-case basis. Sclerotherapy shouldn't be performed on veins that could be used for heart bypass surgery in the future.

Can spider veins be prevented?

Wearing supportive or compression stockings and socks can help reduce the risk of developing spider veins. Also, elevating the legs for 30 minutes multiple times through the day can also help. Patients should avoid sitting with their legs crossed. Sitting and standing in 1 position for a long time can also increase the patient's risk of developing spider veins. Finally, wearing flat shoes instead of high heels and maintaining a healthy weight will also help.

Who's at risk for developing spider veins?

Anyone can develop spider veins. Risk increases with age and after pregnancy. Other factors that can cause spider veins to develop include:

  • Family history
  • Jobs that require sitting or standing for long periods
  • Wearing clothing that's too tight
  • Obesity
  • Constipation
  • Hormonal changes
  • Birth control pills
  • Blood clots
  • Sun exposure

Patients who are concerned that they're at risk can contact Dr. Rizk for a consultation to discuss treatment and prevention of spider veins.

What is laser vein treatment?

Dr. Rizk uses a laser—a highly focused beam of light—to treat varicose veins. Laser heat damages a vein, which makes scar tissue form. This scar tissue closes the vein. A closed vein loses its source of blood and dies. After a year or two, the vein is likely to disappear.

Simple laser treatment. Simple laser vein treatment is done on the outside of your skin. It can treat spider veins and tiny varicose veins just under the skin’s surface. Usually, more than one laser session is needed. They are scheduled every six to twelve weeks as prescribed by Dr. Rizk. (If you have poor blood circulation feeding these tiny veins, the larger “feeder” vein must first be treated with surgery, endovenous laser or radiofrequency treatment, or sclerotherapy.)

Are there side effects?

Side effects of laser treatment include: Skin burns Skin coloring changes Feelings of burning, pain, or prickling after recovery, from nerve damage (less likely than after vein stripping surgery) Small or large blood clotting in the vein or a deep vein (less likely than after vein stripping surgery)

How long is recovery from laser vein treatment?

You will be able to walk following the treatment, and recovery typically is short. You are likely to be able to return to your normal daily routine after simple laser treatment.