Our vein specialist in Mobile, AL, is here when you need answers to your questions. The staff at O’Gorman Vein & Vascular has helped many individuals with venous issues. Depending on the depth and severity of the problem, we offer a variety of treatments—from radiofrequency vein treatment to the more common injection of veins. Browse our FAQs below to learn more about varicose veins in Mobile, AL, and how we treat them.
What causes varicose veins?
Veins work like one-way valves that push blood from our legs back to our heart. When these valves become diseased or damaged, they leak. Instead of blood going toward the heart, it stays in the vein and causes it to distend and bulge. This leads to painful swelling and discoloration in the legs. If left untreated, varicose veins can turn into ulcerations.
Are varicose veins and spider veins the same thing?
Unlike varicose veins, spider veins are small, painless, and near the skin surface. Varicose veins are large, deep, and bulging. They can cause symptoms such as swelling, aching, cramps, itching, and restless legs. Spider veins are typically a cosmetic concern. Varicose veins are prone to clots and can lead to life-threatening conditions, such as a pulmonary embolism.
Who gets varicose veins?
Risk factors for varicose veins include:
- Age - As you get older, your veins can stretch and weaken.
- Gender - Women are more likely to get varicose veins as female hormones relax the vein walls.
- Genetics - You are at a higher risk if you have a family history of varicose veins.
- Overweight - Being overweight puts additional pressure on your veins.
- Standing or Sitting for Long Periods of Time - Your muscles help push blood from your veins in the right direction, so being in the same position for long periods of time makes it harder for your blood to circulate as it should.
- High Heels & Tight/Restrictive Clothing - What may be good for fashion is bad for circulation because it inhibits blood flow.
Does pregnancy cause varicose veins?
Pregnancy can lead to varicose veins. During pregnancy, blood volume increases, but the blood flow from your legs to your pelvis decreases. Additionally, the extra weight in the uterus puts greater pressure on the veins in your legs. This can lead to enlarged veins. Luckily, many varicose veins that develop during pregnancy resolve within the first year after delivery.
Are all varicose veins visible from the outside?
No, sometimes interior veins can become damaged and diseased, leading to painful symptoms and, potentially, blood clots. If you have pain, swelling, and discoloration in your leg(s), then it could be a sign of a vein problem, even if you can’t see the bad vein from the outside.
What procedures are provided in your office?
- Radiofrequency Ablation (RF Ablation) - We put radiofrequency energy through a small catheter (tube) in the vein to heat up the problem vein. This causes scar tissue to form, which closes off the bad vein.
- Sclerotherapy - Sclerotherapy is a procedure during which we inject a chemical into a bad vein to essentially kill it and close it off. It is typically used to treat spider veins on legs in Mobile, AL.
- VenaSeal Glue - We inject a special glue into the vein to seal it.
- Microphlebectomy - We make a very small incision in the leg and remove the varicose vein. The incision is so small it doesn’t even need a stitch.
- Treatment of Venous Ulcers - Venous ulcers are caused by damaged veins. When blood pools in a varicose vein, it can bulge until it breaks through the skin, leaving a painful ulcer. We treat the defective vein to cut off the ulcer’s blood supply and heal it.
- Diagnostic Ultrasound – An ultrasound is a tool we use to get images of veins and see what areas are damaged.
- Injection of Varicose Veins - We inject a chemical to kill the vein and close it off.
You are closing off a vein? Don’t I need that one?
Losing a bad vein is a good thing. Once the damaged vein is closed off, your blood will re-route to healthy veins, improving your overall health and circulation.
How long does the procedure last?
This will depend somewhat on which procedure you have, but typically procedures last less than one hour.
Does insurance cover the procedures?
Procedures are usually covered by insurance. Our office is happy to help with any insurance questions and authorization issues.
Will I be awake for the procedure?
Typically, patients will be awake for vein procedures, but we do use mild sedation for comfort.
How long will I be off work?
This may vary from patient to patient, but usually two days.
When can I start exercising?
Immediately! Exercise is wonderful for the veins.
What will my leg look like after the procedure? Will I have scarring?
There is typically bruising on the leg, which will heal. There may be minimal scarring.
How soon after my treatment will my symptoms improve?
Most patients see improvement quickly. Within a couple of weeks, symptoms should significantly decrease.
Will the veins come back?
It is very rare for the treated veins to return. We follow up with our patients to ensure they understand venous health to reduce their risk for venous disease in the future.
Do I need to wear compression stockings/socks?
We encourage patients to wear compression stockings/socks as they help keep veins healthy. We can provide recommendations for many comfortable, affordable, and stylish brands.
What will happen if I don’t have my varicose veins treated?
In addition to being painful, uncomfortable, and unattractive, varicose veins can be a significant health risk. The vein can expand so much that it pushes through the skin and causes an ulcer. Varicose veins are also prone to blood clots. When a blood clot dislodges and moves to the heart, brain, or lungs, it can be fatal.
We would love to talk to you and answer any other questions you may have! Our staff wants all of our patients to understand their health concerns and options. Please contact us if you have further questions and want to learn more about our varicose vein treatments. We serve patients in Mobile, Alabama, and the surrounding areas.