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Are Your Varicose Veins Making Your Legs Itch?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) lists itchiness among many unpleasant symptoms of varicose veins. This itching often goes hand in hand with other epidermal symptoms that include dry, irritated, discolored, swollen, and/or painful skin.

What is Varicose Vein Eczema?

Consistent with all the symptoms listed above, varicose vein eczema is a long-term skin condition that manifests in the lower legs. It commonly occurs in conjunction with varicose veins. If left untreated, varicose vein eczema can begin weeping and crusting, forming venous ulcers, causing shrinkage in the lower leg, and creating areas of scaly, thickened, and fibrotic skin.

Reasons Why Your Varicose Veins Are Itchy

Varicose vein eczema and itchy varicose veins are byproducts of the natural degenerative processes of vascular disease. Namely, itchiness arises from elevated pressure in the leg veins and fluid leakage into surrounding tissue.

How Varicose Vein Eczema Forms

Healthy leg veins contain numerous small valves that help propel blood upwards against the force of gravity. When these valves malfunction, blood begins to pool in the lower legs causing varicose veins.

Experts point to fluid leakage into surrounding tissue as a primary cause for varicose vein eczema. As the immune system reacts to this leakage, varicose vein eczema spreads across the skin.

Ways to Treat the Symptoms

To ameliorate the discomfort of varicose vein eczema, your doctor may suggest a number of treatments. For the best medical advice, it is important to visit a dermatologist or a vein specialist who has specific expertise in varicose vein eczema.

The most popular pharmaceutical methods of calming the itchiness of varicose vein eczema and the varicose veins that underlie it include…

  • Antihistamines
  • Medicated creams
  • Dressings
  • Antibiotics

Antibiotics become helpful when varicose veins sores become infected with bacteria. Often used in conjunction with medication, compression stockings can help relieve inflammation and itch by placing increased pressure on damaged veins.

Treating the Source of the Problem

In order to address the roots of varicose vein eczema, physicians must treat varicose veins themselves. Outside of medication and compression therapy, the NIH limits effective varicose vein treatments to lifestyle changes and surgical procedures.

While losing weight and exercising can significantly improve circulation and overall vein health, surgery is the only way to directly and dramatically repair damaged leg veins. Fortunately, there are surgical options to choose from, and most of them are noninvasive in nature.

Today’s safe and effective varicose vein treatments include…

  • Sclerotherapy  – This procedure involves the intravenous injection of special chemicals that create scar tissue to form within damaged veins, causing them to close and rerouting blood to healthy veins nearby. Eventually, the closed veins will reabsorb into the body and disappear.
  • Endovenous ablation therapy – Physicians begin this procedure by making a tiny incision in the legs to inert a thin venous catheter under the skin. This catheter channels radiofrequency energy that heats up at its exposed tip. Closing any vein that it touches, it produces effects that are very much like those of sclerotherapy.
  • Other forms of vein closure – Similar methods of closing diseased vein may employ medical grade adhesive (VenaSeal) or medical grade foam (Varithena).

Your specific course of varicose vein treatment should meet your specific wants and needs. In many cases, physicians will recommend a combination of treatments. Furthermore, patients will often need to undergo a series of procedures in order to achieve and maintain relief.

Get Vein Treatment at Premier Heart & Vein Care in California

Located in San Luis, CA, Premier Heart & Vein Care operates under the leadership of Dr. Ken Steven, a board-certified physician and surgeon who has completed extensive cardiology and vascular postgraduate training, Dr. Steven has operated Premier in San Luis Obispo for more than a decade. If you have questions about varicose vein eczema or varicose veins in general, contact Premier today.

Health Insurance & Medicare Coverage Concierge Medicine

Does Health Insurance or Medicare Cover Concierge Medicine?

As more Americans struggle to pay for various types of medical services, many believe the system is simply broken and needs a major overhaul. 

To address the problems of inefficiency, exorbitant treatment costs, and lack of optimal outcomes, many healthcare providers are turning to concierge medical service. A fee-based direct primary care option, this offers a variety of advantages and also some disadvantages to patients and doctors alike.

You Deserve Personalized Service with Extra Care

Rather than continually dealing with the many shortcomings that go along with traditional medical care, many doctors and patients are now viewing concierge services as a viable solution to the healthcare system's problems. Under a concierge plan, doctors who are primary care physicians charge their patients a retainer on a monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. By doing so, primary care services generally become more affordable, overhead costs are reduced, and preventive care becomes more readily available to patients.

Advantages of Concierge Medicine

As for the advantages of concierge services, there are many. One of the most important involves those patients who are concerned with Medicare coverage guidelines, since this has often been a sticking point in terms of what services patients can or cannot afford. For patients whose doctors use the Fee for Extra Care concierge model, Medicare can be used to cover services not included in the retainer, such as prescription medications and outpatient procedures. In addition, patients have shorter wait times for office visits, which is invaluable for most patients.

Disadvantages of Concierge Medical Service

When it comes to disadvantages of concierge service, the most common is expense. However, at Premier Heart & Vein Care we offer very affordable concierge medical services through our new program, Concierge Choice for a low annual fee of just $100, which comes out to less than five dollars a day. Most patients agree, that is extremely reasonable, considering the time and quality of care!  

Premier Heart & Vein Center Concierge Service

Here at Premier Heart & Vein Center, we are proud to offer a concierge program within our practice that we believe is one of the best you'll find anywhere. A unique hybrid plan, it is one of the few in the nation combining internal medicine, cardiology, and phlebology. Working with our patient's insurance plans when applicable, Premier Heart & Vein Center offers many options under our concierge services. Some of these include direct phone and email access after-hours and on weekends, personalized fitness and nutritional evaluations, same-day and next-day visits, extended and unhurried consultations, and much more.
If you would like to meet our vein physician in San Luis Obispo, CA, there is no better time than now to book an appointment with Premier Heart & Vein Care. To do so, give us a call at 805-979-4777 or visit us online at premierheartandveincare.com/contact/ and fill out the online form. By doing so, you'll be taking the first step to receiving the individualized care you deserve.

Can Radiofrequency Ablation for Vein Treatment be Repeated?

If you have had radiofrequency ablation but your varicose vein has returned, you may wonder if you can undergo this vein treatment again.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive vein treatment. The procedure uses radio waves that create heat to kill, or “ablate,” tissue safely and effectively. The RFA procedure typically takes less than an hour, can be done in an outpatient clinic, and most people do not find radiofrequency ablation to be uncomfortable.

To perform RFA, a vein doctor inserts a small, flexible catheter into the diseased vein then delivers consistent and uniform heat to the walls of the treated vein. The heat contracts the collagen in the walls of the vein, which causes the vein to collapse and close. The treated vein breaks apart and nearby tissue absorbs the remnants of the vein.

Patients can get up and walk around immediately after the procedure. In fact, walking helps speed healing. Patients should avoid strenuous activity for a couple of weeks – since each patient is different, the attending vein doctor recommend a different recovery plan for every patient.

Why Someone Might Need a Repeated Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure

Varicose veins may appear to return after professional vein care for two reasons. First, vein treatment with RFA and other approaches causes the diseased vein to close, and your body routes blood through nearby veins; these nearby veins can also turn into varicose veins and require treatment. Secondly, radiofrequency ablation successfully reduces the appearance in about 90-95 percent of patients, so about 5-10 percent of patients who undergo RFA need a second procedure.

Women who get varicose veins during pregnancy may need repeat treatments after each pregnancy. Gaining weight, sitting or standing for long periods, or having a genetic predisposition can increase a person’s risk for developing varicose veins several times. In these cases, patients need another treatment. Fortunately, Dr. Stevens can repeat radiofrequency ablation if the varicose vein appears to return.

For more information about radiofrequency ablation and repeating RFA, make an appointment with Premier Heart and Vein Care by calling 1-805-979-4777.

How long does pain last after vein ablation?

There was a time not too long ago when having your ugly, painful varicose veins treated meant undergoing a surgical procedure, with prolonged downtime and significant discomfort afterward. Thankfully, that’s all changed. Today’s vein treatment procedures use advanced techniques to significantly reduce pain and downtime, and minimally-invasive options offer surprisingly fast recovery time and very few uncomfortable after effects.

Radiofrequency ablation or RFA is one of those minimally-invasive vein treatment options that offer very good results coupled with a fast recovery. During RFA, tiny incisions are made in the skin over the affected vein and a thin fiber is inserted into the vein. The fiber emits controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy, which irritates and damages the vessel lining, causing the vein to close off to the flow of blood.

RFA Recovery: What to Expect

RFA can be performed right in the office as an outpatient procedure, and the incisions are so tiny, they can be closed with bandages and adhesives - no sutures required. Most patients resume many of their normal activities within a day or two.

After your surgery, you’ll need to wear compression hose (or a compression bandage, if the vein isn’t on your leg or foot) for a week or two. Compression helps by preventing fluids from accumulating around the treatment area, speeding healing and keeping swelling and bruising to a minimum. You will have some swelling and bruising, but you can expect these effects to resolve within a few days for the mild swelling to a week or so for bruising.

Many patients are concerned about the level of discomfort they’ll experience after radiofrequency ablation, but there’s good news here, too. Most patients experience only minor discomfort, and only for about a week or two after treatment. There may also be some minor numbness in and around the treatment area, but this too typically lasts for only a few weeks, or until healing in the area is complete.

To help with healing - and also to reduce swelling and discomfort - it’s important to stay active after your surgery. While you’ll need to avoid strenuous physical activity, moderate amounts of regular walking are an idea for ensuring adequate blood flow, which is important for proper healing and to avoid clot formation. Always follow the post-op guidelines provided by the doctor, and never take any medicines - including aspirin and supplements - without speaking with the doctor first.

Put an end to painful, unhealthy varicose veins.

As a leading provider of state-of-the-art vein treatments in and around San Luis Obispo, CA, Premier Heart & Vein Care offers advanced vein care options optimized for each patient's unique and individual needs. If you’re suffering from varicose veins, learn how you can relieve painful symptoms and improve your vascular health. Call Premier Heart & Vein Care at 805-979-4777 and schedule a consultation visit today.

Is radiofrequency ablation considered surgery?

Millions of people suffer from varicose veins, along with symptoms like pain, swelling, and heaviness in the legs and feet. Without proper medical care, those ugly, twisted veins can cause skin changes and stubborn sores, increasing your risk for infection and other serious medical problems. In addition to being physically unattractive, varicose veins can also be a sign of a more serious underlying vein condition, and no matter what, these diseased veins prevent areas of your body from receiving the normal blood flow they need to stay supplied with important nutrients as well as oxygen.

Fortunately, today there are a variety of vein treatment options that can help eliminate varicose veins and restore normal, healthy circulation. One of the most popular options is radiofrequency ablation (or RFA), a state-of-the-art outpatient procedure that offers patients fast results with little to no downtime.

Radiofrequency Ablation: The Procedure

Strictly speaking, you might classify RFA as surgery, but more frequently, it’s referred to as a medical procedure. That’s because unlike many types of surgery that require general anesthesia and large incisions, RFA uses tiny openings in your vein, and it’s most commonly performed under local anesthesia used to numb the area being treated.

Prior to the RFA procedure, your veins are carefully evaluated and “mapped” so Dr. Stevens can plan the best “approach” for removing the damaged vein. Just prior to the procedure, the insertion site is determined, and the area is carefully cleaned, then numbed. Once the area is completely anesthetized, one small incision is made into the skin, and a very thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the vein through an introducer sheath. The catheter serves as a conduit for the RFA energy delivery.

Once the catheter is inserted into the vein, it’s “triggered” to emit tiny, controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy, which in turn heats up the vein lining, damaging it and causing it to collapse or close, preventing the flow of blood through the vein. Once the entire length of the damaged vein is treated, the catheter and introducer sheath are removed, and the incision is closed with a steristrip. No sutures or stitches are needed.

After the procedure, you’ll be observed for a brief period before being discharged. A compression bandage or stocking will be placed over the treatment site to aid in healing, and over time, the sealed-off vein will be absorbed by your body and carried away by your body’s “waste disposal” system. Normal blood flow will be redirected to neighboring healthy veins. During a follow-up visit, your vein will be evaluated to ensure it’s completely sealed.

Learn more about RFA in San Luis Obispo.

Premier Heart & Vein Care is a leading provider of vein care for men and women in and around San Luis Obispo, California. Dr. Ken Stevens and the entire staff provide customized, safe, effective vein treatment to relieve varicose vein symptoms and help patients enjoy optimal health at every age. To learn more about RFA and other vein treatment options or to schedule a vein evaluation, call Premier Heart & Vein Care at 805-979-4777 today.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is an effective varicose vein treatment.

Ablation is any medical procedure in which a doctor uses heat to damage tissue with the intent of causing scars to form. Vein surgeons use ablation to treat varicose veins. The heat causes enough damage to shut down the vein. The body routes blood to other veins. The treated vein breaks apart, and nearby tissue absorbs the remnants as the varicose vein fades from view.
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When Should You Get Sclerotherapy Treatment?

Millions of Americans suffer from varicose veins and spider veins. Treatments to get rid of unsightly veins are also very common. One of the best available vein treatments is called sclerotherapySclerotherapy may be particularly useful for targeting tiny veins that are challenging to treat with other methods. Learn when you should get sclerotherapy treatment and when to take the next step.
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What to Expect After a Sclerotherapy Procedure

Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels.  Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it was successful.
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Advances in Technology Provide New Vein Treatment Options for Patients

In the past, patients who were suffering from spider veins or varicose veins could only find relief by going through a lengthy, and sometimes painful, surgical procedure. Recent technological advances have changed the vein treatment options that are available to patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins.
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Choosing the Right Type of Vein Treatment

Upload: October 1, 2015

Many different types of vein treatment are available. Depending on the nature of your condition, some forms of treatment may be more effective than others. Below is a guide to help you choose the right type of vein treatment for your condition.

Treatments for Spider Veins

Spider veins are small dilated blood vessels that can be located anywhere on the body. Because they are close to the surface of the skin, they are usually visible. Because spider veins can be embarrassing, many people seek treatment.

If your spider veins are not too large, widespread or serious, you may be able to improve the condition through conservative treatments, such as losing weight, elevating your legs, wearing special socks and avoiding long periods of standing. However, in many cases, spider veins must be treated with sclerotherapy. When you undergo sclerotherapy, the doctor will inject a medication under your skin that causes spider veins to collapse. Depending on the severity of the case, sclerotherapy may be performed with or without ultrasound guidance.

Treatments for Varicose Veins

A varicose vein is a vein located near the surface of the skin that has become enlarged and twisted. These veins are easily visible, and they may also be painful. As with spider veins, many people seek treatment in order to eliminate embarrassment and discomfort.

Conservative treatments, such as special socks, walking and weight loss, may be effective in the treatment of mild cases of varicose veins. However, this condition often requires more invasive treatments. Options for treating varicose veins include:

  • Ambulatory microphlebectomy
  • Endovenous laser therapy
  • Non-thermal vein ablation

Both ambulatory microphlebectomy are minimally invasive surgical treatment options. Ambulatory microphlebectomy involves the surgical removal of unsightly varicose veins, while endovenous laser therapy involves the use of a laser to reroute blood out of abnormal veins.

For patients that want to treat their varicose veins without surgery, non-thermal vein ablation may be the best choice. During this procedure, the physician uses ultrasound guidance to feed a catheter into problematic veins. He or she then uses the catheter to inject medication into the vein that causes it to collapse.

Choosing the Right Treatment

If you are suffering from spider veins and/or varicose veins, skilled vascular surgeons can help you choose the vein treatment that's best for your situation. For treatment advice, contact the  vein doctors at the Premier Vein Institute today.

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