Everything You Need to Know About Varicose Veins, Straight from the Cardiovascular MD
Being medical professionals in the beauty business, we get a lot of questions about the bane of beautiful legs everywhere: varicose veins.
The truth is, while our Granite Bay skincare pros can tackle smaller spider veins with lasers and other non-surgical skin treatment options, varicose veins are a different animal—you’ll need to see a specialist. We refer our patients bothered by varicose veins to Dr. Robert Coronado at the Coronado Vein Center. A fellowship-trained cardiologist and vascular disease specialist, Dr. Coronado offers the Sacramento area’s most comprehensive options in minimally-invasive technology and treatments for varicose veins.
We sat down with Dr. Coronado for some Q & A about varicose vein treatment and why he’s so passionate about helping people overcome vascular disease. If you’re suffering from varicose veins, the following is a must-read.
You’re a cardiologist. Why did you decide to specialize in varicose vein treatment?
Dr. Coronado: I’ve always wanted to make my patients healthy and happy—I believe physicians are here to help people live longer and to help them live better. That means addressing all of the symptoms that a patient is concerned about, not just what falls into the “life or death” category.
Many patients in my cardiology practice were complaining of venous disease as well as heart problems, but many cardiologists do not treat venous disease—because varicose veins aren’t life-threatening, they tell patients not to worry about it. However, I had patients who were suffering from pain and swelling every single day, complaining of debilitating cramps where they couldn’t sleep at night. How am I, as their doctor, not going to worry about these symptoms?
I realized that patients were being robbed of decades of quality of life. Not only were patients not feeling well, but I was meeting patients in their 20s who were too embarrassed to wear shorts or swimsuits because of how their legs looked. When we offered varicose vein treatment to these patients, the happiness that we saw in them was more than enough for me to say, “So many people suffering, so few people answering that call; I’m going to dedicate my entire career to taking care of these people.”
What exactly is a varicose vein?
Dr. Coronado: Veins are blood vessels that return blood to the heart. They have little one-way valves in them that keep the blood moving in the right direction. A varicose vein occurs when some of these valves break, and the blood moves backwards and leaks to the space between the muscle and the skin. Varicose veins are not normal. They’re a true vascular disorder that can result in pain, swelling, fatigue, cramping and other life-affecting symptoms.
How do I know when to treat varicose veins?
Dr. Coronado: If varicose veins are causing you pain or affecting your quality of life, they should be treated. Symptoms that call for treatment include:
- Cramping or restless legs at night
- Swelling, pain or aching,
- A sense of fatigue or heaviness of the leg
- Discoloration or sores that won’t heal
If you have none of the above symptoms but simply don’t like the way varicose veins look, that is also a very good reason to seek treatment. Treating varicose veins for cosmetic purposes can be quite life-enhancing for patients, allowing them to feel more confident and wear revealing clothing with confidence.
What should everyone know about varicose veins?
Dr. Coronado: First and foremost, it’s important to know that varicose veins are not just a cosmetic issue. This is a big misconception that many physicians carry around, and, with all due respect, they couldn’t be more wrong. This is a true vascular disorder from which millions suffer unnecessarily. Safe, effective treatment options are available, but too often patients don’t hear about them because their doctors don’t refer them to treatment.
Next, I want patients to know that varicose vein treatment does not have to involve major surgery or a long recovery. All of the treatments we offer at the Coronado Vein Center are minimally invasive, office-based treatments that use only local anesthesia. Nearly 100% of our patients have no stitches or incisions, and most patients are able to return to work within 15 minutes of our biggest procedure.
What causes varicose veins? Who is most at risk?
Dr. Coronado: We don’t have a “typical” patient because it’s so common a disorder. We treat patients in their 20s and in their 90s. One in four adult men and women will have varicose veins, but certain things can make a person more prone to them, such as having multiple pregnancies or having a job that requires you to stand in one spot for extended periods (i.e., hair stylists, surgeons, bank tellers frequently develop varicose veins).
Why should patients see a vascular specialist about varicose veins?
There’s a big difference between cosmetic treatment for spider veins and treatment for vascular disorders such as varicose veins. They’re both complimentary. A reputable laser technician at a good medical spa, such as Granite Bay Cosmetic, will do a great job with small spider veins, which are more of a cosmetic issue. They also do a great job in managing expectations, and will refer a patient out when necessary.
However, patients with symptoms, such as pain, aching, swelling, discoloration or protruding varicose veins should be referred to a vascular specialist. Not only can we take care of the major symptoms and issues that a medical spa cannot, but a cardiologist such as myself will perform comprehensive diagnostics to see the bigger picture behind the varicose veins. We ensure the patient receives the best treatment for their health, longevity, and quality of life.
Can varicose veins be permanently removed?
Dr. Coronado: Our treatments offer permanent removal of the veins the patients present with—it is a definitive treatment. This doesn’t mean they can’t develop new varicose veins in the future, but it does “fix” the current problem. A good analogy is fixing a tire with a big nail in it. Getting a brand new tire is a definitive fix to that problem, but it doesn’t mean you can’t get a flat at some point in the new tire. That said, if somebody comes in with large varicose veins and we treat those, they don’t have to come back to treat the same vein. In fact, 95% of our patients don’t require additional treatments.
How much does varicose vein treatment cost?
Dr. Coronado: For patients who are suffering pain or symptoms of varicose veins that are affecting their quality of life based on a physical evaluation, their treatment will usually be covered by insurance or Medicare. Purely cosmetic vein treatment usually is not covered. In these cases, we can help patients find a good financing or payment option to help them pay.
Have more questions about varicose vein treatment in Sacramento? Here’s how to get in touch with Dr. Coronado
Has this been helpful info or what? We sure learned a lot! If you are looking for effective, lasting treatment for vein disorders, we highly recommend you give Dr. Coronado’s office a call. He has four office locations so visit www.coronadoveincenter.com for details.