MYTH 1: VARICOSE VEINS ARE NOT PAINFUL.
FALSE. Although patients may have varicose veins which have no symptoms, the majority of these veins are associated with some symptoms. They include a tired feeling in the legs at the end of the day. Most people notice that as the day goes by the veins will get bigger and more tender. When one elevates the leg the veins drain and the tired feeling usually improves. Some veins, which are quite large, may not cause any symptoms yet the same patient, based on the location of the varicose veins, a small vein could cause pain, stinging or burning perhaps whereas a large one would not.
MYTH 2: VARICOSE VEINS ARE HARMLESS.
FALSE. Although some patient’s may have had veins all of their lives with no significant symptoms, patient’s with varicose veins are more prone to clots, thickening of the skin, dark pigmentation of the skin, rash, breakdown ulcers, and swelling of the legs just to mention a few.
MYTH 3: VARICOSE VEINS SHOULD NOT BE REMOVED SINCE THEY MAY BE NEEDED FOR BYPASS SURGERY.
FALSE. These are disease veins and not healthy enough for bypass surgery.
MYTH 4: VARICOSE VEINS CANNOT RUPTURE OR BLEED.
FALSE. They can erode through the skin or be accidentally cut while shaving causing profuse bleeding.
MYTH 5: THERE IS NO CURE FOR VARICOSE VEINS.
FALSE. They can be treated with stockings, leg elevation and surgical and non-surgical treatments.
MYTH 6: THE REMOVAL OF VARICOSE VEINS INVOLVES GOING TO THE OPERATING ROOM AND REQUIRES GENERAL ANESTHESIA.
FALSE. Almost all of the veins in the leg of any size can be treated under local anesthesia (numbing medicine) in the office with minimal discomfort.
MYTH 7: YOU CANNOT WORK FOR WEEKS AFTER VARICOSE VEIN SURGERY.
FALSE. Although this was true for vein stripping, with laser ablation of the varicose vein in the office patients are encouraged to walk the day of surgery and can usually return to work the next day or with 2 days.
MYTH 8: VARICOSE VEINS CAN COME BACK WITH A VENGEANCE AFTER TREATMENT.
FALSE. Although vein stripping was associated with new vein formation, with laser ablation we do not seem to see this to be the case anymore.
MYTH 9: TREATMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS HAS A HIGH RECURRENCE.
FALSE. Although 40% recurrence rate could be expected in varicose vein stripping, with laser ablation the recurrence rate is about 3%. I have seen less than 3% recurrence rate since 2002 when we started using the FDA approved laser in the office for treatment of varicose veins.
MYTH 10: TREATMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS LEAVES LARGE SCARS.
FALSE. Although vein stripping left up to inch scars, with the laser ablation the small pinpoint scars usually disappear without a trace.
MYTH 11: TREATMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS IS NOT COVERED BY INSURANCE.
FALSE. Insurance companies for laser ablation usually cover symptomatic varicose veins treatment.
MYTH 12: ONCE I HAVE VARICOSE VEINS SURGERY MY LEGS WILL NEVER BE NORMAL.
FALSE. I have had patients who could not show their legs in public places due to the pigmentation and varicose veins. After treatment they are usually able to expose their legs with pride looking as though they never had varicose veins.
MYTH 13: ONLY SOME VEINS CAN BE TREATED.
FALSE. At Scarless Vein Care, we essentially have a treatment for any size varicose vein.
MYTH 14: EVEN IF THE VARICOSE VEINS ARE TREATED, THE SKIN DAMAGE, LEG SWELLING AND DISCOLORATION WILL NOT GET BETTER.
FALSE. The majority of the patients after treatment of diseased varicose veins have very significant improvement of the swelling, discomfort and texture of their skin over time.
MYTH 15: VARICOSE VEINS ARE JUST COSMETIC
FALSE. Although some spider veins are cosmetic in nature, the vast majority of them are associated with underlying disease.
MYTH 16: INJECTIONS OR TOPICAL LASER CAN CURE ALL VARICOSE VEINS
FALSE. The underlying cause of varicose veins should be investigated and treated prior to considering injections (sclerotherapy). If the underlying problem is not addressed, the varicose veins will almost certainly come back.
MYTH 17: TREATMENT OF VARICOSE VEINS IS NOT A SPECIALTY.
FALSE. As of March, 2001 the treatment of varicose veins is considered as a specialty (Phlebology). The 1st Board Exam was offered in April 2008.
MYTH 18: VARICOSE AND SPIDER VEINS ARE THE ONLY SYMPTOMS OF VENOUS DISEASE.
FALSE. Actually, the symptoms can be extended to aching, throbbing, cramping, swelling, rashes, itching, darkening of skin, restless legs, soreness of skin, bleeding, superficial phlebitis (clotting of superficial veins), DVT (deep vein clotting), Lipodermatosclerosis (the skins above the ankle shrinks and the fat under the skin becomes scarred), poor healing after minor injuries to the leg, whitened scar-like patches on the ankle (atrophy blanche) and even more.
Over the years I am particularly surprised about the effects of venous insufficiency over poor exercise tolerance and night cramps. The number of people with spider and varicose veins seem to be higher at 50 to 55 years of age for women, 40 to 45 for men. The staggering fact is that one in every two people in the US over 50 is being affected by this.
About 35% of people who form DVT (clots in deep veins) seem to be affected by congenital disease which can be diagnosed with a blood test.
MYTH 19: IF I HAVE SPIDER VEINS, I DON'T HAVE VARICOSE VEINS.
FALSE. During our free vein health screening, I am surprised to see how many patients with spider veins also have varicose veins. In my opinion, it is advisable to do an ultrasound to see which should be treated as spider veins and which should be treated as varicose veins. The wrong treatment could lead to clots to propagate into a larger vein, which could then move into the deep veins and could even eventually make its way into the lungs, etc. You need to know what you are treating!
MYTH 20: VARICOSE AND SPIDER VEINS ONLY BLEED IF TRAUMATIZED.
FALSE. If they are very close to the skin and thin walled, they can spontaneously bleed.
MYTH 21: IF I HAVE VEIN TREATMENTS, I WILL GET DVT.
FALSE. Although any treatment has a risk of clots, having varicose veins itself is a strong risk factor for clots (DVT).
MYTH 22: I NEED TO HAVE MY ORTHOPEDIC PROCEDURE DONE BEFORE TREATING MY VARICOSE VEINS.
FALSE. Most orthopedic procedures on the leg need a tourniquet which traumatizes varicose veins causing clotting and potentially DVT. It is my opinion to treat these first if possible.
MYTH 23: ONCE I HAVE MY VEINS TREATED, I DON'T NEED ANY FOLLOW-UP.
FALSE. You go to your dentist on a regular basis, not just for an abscessed tooth, but for maintenance. You should also see your vein doctor for routine check-ups and wear your compression stockings every time you can.
A note from Dr. Kamran:
“It has been 40+ years since I graduated from med school. I spent two years in post graduate training at the University of London and spent another five years of post-graduate surgical training in the United States. I am board certified and re-certified by the American College of Surgeons, have spent 31 years in practice of general surgery and vascular surgery with a large portion of the past ten years dedicated to the disease of veins. And, I was one of the first 250 physicians in the country to be board certified by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. I say all that to make this point – I am still learning everyday about the symptoms, treatments, follow-ups and post-treatment improvements that are not commonly acknowledged by the status quo medical community.
I believe that if we are going to treat this condition, we should dedicate our practice to the art and science of treating vein disease, and we encourage our patients to seek as many opinions and education as possible before considering treatment.”
-Kamran Goudarzi, MD, FACS, FICS
“NICE LEGS DR. KAMRAN”