Dr Aquino's Blog Articles
Melinda L Aquino MD
Health insurance is complicated and when it comes to vein treatment it can be even more complicated. Different insurance policies have different rules on what they cover and some insurance companies can be inconsistent. My staff spends a lot of time working with insurance companies getting authorizations, eligibility verifications, and filing claims. It’s a lot to keep up with. Here are some general guidelines that may be helpful to understand how insurance coverage works with varicose vein treatment.
Does diet and health affect varicose veins? There are many different factors that can cause varicose veins such as heredity, pregnancy, gender, age, injury and trauma to the veins, and prolonged standing. While it can be difficult to impossible to control these factors, diet and lifestyle are a few of the factors we do have control over. But does diet affect varicose veins? Indirectly, the answer is yes. That is, eating a diet of health foods and exercise is the key to avoiding obesity and will probably help delay or avoid the onset of varicose veins.
Sometimes patients ask me if a cosmetic med spa is a good place to go to treat their spider veins and varicose veins. Is a medical spa as safe and effective as going to a boring doctor’s office? Personally, I think this is a good question. Med spas are very popular these days, and many of my patients visit them regularly for other treatments. They are luxurious and fancy and make us all feel pampered. I go to them myself.
Many med spas have a doctor on staff because only a licensed medical professional is allowed to perform sclerotherapy and other medically based procedures. However, having a medical doctor who is not a vascular treat your spider veins or varicose veins is not an assurance of quality treatment. There are a few things that differentiate a vascular surgeon’s office from a typical med spa:
Is exercise for varicose veins a good idea? This is an interesting question as some think that exercise can cause varicose veins and some think it can prevent them. Both answers are correct. There are many different factors that can cause varicose veins such as heredity, pregnancy, gender, age, prolonged standing, and injury or trauma to the veins. While it can be difficult or even impossible to control these factors, exercise is one of the factors we do have control over.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) finds that 1 in every 3 Americans is obese or overweight. Obesity contributes to major diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Excess body fat is also a leading factor in developing varicose veins.
Obesity puts extra pressure on the leg veins and their valves making it harder to pump blood against gravity back to the heart. Effective valves in the leg veins are important because they prevent blood from flowing backwards and pooling in the legs. Over time the added stress of extra body weight can cause the valves to fail. The resulting backpressure can cause the vein branches to expand and become varicose veins.
I often get questions from pregnant patients asking about the best approach for treating varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins often get worse during pregnancy and patients want to know if they should get vein treatments during or after they are pregnant. Many factors, such as hormone fluctuations, weight gain, increased blood volume, and the physical pressure from the fetus' growing head in the pelvis can cause or worsen existing varicose and spider veins. All of these factors can contribute to the failure of the vein valves and the worsening of backflow (or reflux) in the veins.
Many patients come to my office for vein sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy most often used for spider vein treatment involves injections directly into very small veins. The injected sclerotherapy solution causes them to gradually disappear. The procedure is relatively painless and has few serious side effects. Still, sclerotherapy is not for every vein patient and there are some things that one should know prior to having sclerotherapy.
Many patients come to my office after already having researched sclerotherapy on the internet. There is a lot of mention about different solutions used for sclerotherapy. There are many different names and it can get confusing. One of the questions I am often asked is, “Which solution do you use for sclerotherapy?”
If you have checked out the San Francisco Vein Center’s website, you may already know the full range of surgical treatments for vein disease. You may also have learned about the non-surgical option of compression stockings or varicose vein socks, which are an extremely effective way to hold the disease at bay as well improve symptoms.
But what about alternative medical therapy? Is there a “magic pill” that will help varicose veins and venous insufficiency? In fact, there are medicines which can help alleviate venous insufficiency and the symptoms that accompany it. They can be quite effective in some patients.
I am often asked which of the two ablation procedures are better: RF ablation vs. laser ablation. It’s actually a very good question. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) techniques are both “minimally invasive” procedures that treat venous insufficiency of the large superficial veins (the greater and lesser saphenous veins, specifically). These are the veins that are the usual source of varicose veins. Unlike older surgical-based techniques, both laser ablation and radiofrequency ablation involve no incision, and require minimal recovery time. Usually, patients find ablation relatively painless.