Frequently Asked Questions
About Vein Disease in Chicago
More than 80 million people in the United States suffer from venous disorders – 40 million suffer from varicose veins. Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing in the proper direction, from the lower extremities back to the heart. If these valves malfunction, blood can flow backwards and pool in the vein, causing it to stretch and damage other healthy valves.
These enlarged blood vessels fall into three groups: varicose veins, reticular veins, and spider veins (telangiectasias). Spider veins are visible on the surface of the skin as red, blue or purple lines. Varicose veins are larger and deeper and often look like bluish bumps under the skin.
Let’s face it. The routines to cover up those embarrassing veins are a daily struggle. And what they are trying to tell you could be more than just ‘skin deep’. The fact is unsightly spider and varicose veins are symptoms of circulatory failure, a more serious underlying medical condition. As are fatigue, rough skin, cramps and restless legs that only get worse with time.
At Chicago Vein Institute, our board-certified physicians specialize in treating vein disease utilizing the latest minimally-invasive techniques.
What are Varicose Veins?
Varicose veins are swollen, dark blue or purple blood vessels. They often look like twisted cords, and usually appear on the calves, inside of the legs, and ankles. Symptoms associated with varicose veins include pain, heaviness, fatigue, burning, swelling, cramping, throbbing and restlessness. See our Varicose Vein page for information regarding varicose vein treatments and give us a call today to schedule your consultation with Chicago’s preeminant vein doctors. Insurance may even cover your veins so you can stop covering them up.
What are Skin Ulcers
Skin Ulcers are a very serious condition and typically require prompt attention to reverse the effects and prevent further damage to the skin and leg. A skin ulcer is caused by a disorder called venous stasis ulcers. One of the warning signs that a venous stasis ulcer is about to occur is a rapid darkening of the skin around the ankle or foot. Over time, the skin may take on leathery or wax-like qualities. Eventually, the skin will breakdown completely if the problem isn’t treated. Learn more about the causes and risk factors of vein disease.
I don’t see any red or purple vessels or any bumps. Could I still have vein disease?
Yes. Physical examination and complete color Doppler ultrasound can detect problems with blood vessels that aren’t visible otherwise. Ruling out an underlying medical condition, which is critical to getting to the issue of swollen, red, restless legs, that will only continue to get worse over time and lead to more serious medical conditions.
What are the benefits and risks associated with Color Doppler Ultrasound?
- Ultrasound scanning provides clear and more concise images than x-rays or various other imaging methods.
- Venous ultrasound can detect blood clots in the veins, and thus can help prevent the onset of a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that is dislodgedand flows to the lungs), a much more serious condition that is treatable if caught early.
- Ultrasound scanning is an inexpensive and widely available method of imaging. The procedure is quick, pain-free, and the body is not exposed to any radiation. In addition, an ultrasound is completely non-invasive.
- The procedure may be repeated as often as is necessary without risking patient health.
- There are no known risks associated with ultrasound imaging – sonography has no harmful effect on humans.
What is Sclerotherapy?
Please visit our cosmetic sclerotherapy page page for more information on sclerotherapy.
What is Endovenous Laser Treatment and which vein conditions is it used to treat?
Please visit our EVLA page for more information on Endovenous Laser Treatment.
Is Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy different?
Please visit our medical sclerotherapy page for more information on ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy.
What are Spider Veins?
Spider Veins or telangiectasias, are small, thin, blood vessels visible beneath the top layers of skin. They appear most commonly on the face, thighs, and feet, and may look like a series of lines, tree branches, or a spider- or web-like shape with a dark center. Although usually considered only a cosmetic problem, spider veins can show symptoms of a burning sensation or a dull, throbbing pain, and can lead to varicose veins and other serious complications. See our Spider Vein page for information regarding the treatment of spider veins.
What is Venous Insufficiency
As your arteries move nutrient rich blood from your heart to the rest of your body, veins consisting of periodic valves carry blood back to your heart to complete the circulatory system. These valves are responsible for preventing blood from flowing backwards in your veins. Venous insufficiency occurs when your veins struggle to send blood from your limbs back to the heart, causing blood to pool in the veins in your legs.
Several factors can cause venous insufficiency, though it’s most commonly caused by blood clots (deep vein thrombosis) and varicose veins. Even if you have a family history of venous insufficiency, there are simple steps you can take to lower your chances of developing the condition.
Symptoms include fatigue, aching, itching, burning, throbbing, cramping, restlessness, and heaviness. Managing these symptoms and the daily routines to cover up unsighlty veins can be a daily struggle you don’t have to put up with anymore.
What is an ultrasound and do I really need an ultrasound even for spider veins?
In general terms, ultrasound is an imaging method that uses sound waves reflecting off of the tested area of the body to create an image. The created image provides important information to the doctor, and assists in diagnosis and treatment. The created images are captured in real time, and provide “video” of internal tissues and organs in their normal environment. Ultrasound scanning provides clear and more concise images than x-rays or various other imaging methods. At Chicago Vein Institute, our Registered Vascular Technologist performs a complete color Doppler ultrasound of the deep and superficial venous systems. With the ultrasound, we can see veins smaller than a millimeter. The ultrasound is used look for blood clots in the lower circulatory system, identify any trouble areas, and provide information on the severity of the condition. Your initial visit, which includes a medical history exam and the venous ultrasound procedure, usually takes 1½ to 2 hours. The Ultrasound procedure itself is usually less than 1 hour, and is generally painless.
Please visit our Color Doppler Ultrasound page for more information.
What are compression stockings and why would I need to wear them?
Compression stockings are generally the first method of treatment patients use before they undergo more intensive/invasive treatments. They are meant to be worn all day, applying permanent pressure to the blood vessels in the leg, which helps the blood flow back up to the heart more easily. Aside, from being used as preventative aid, compression stockings should also be worn after more intensive treatments. This ensures that the blood is redistributed to the remaining blood vessels quicker, as well as speed up recovery time. Properly fitted compression stockings can help temporarily reverse the effects of vein disease, as well as lessen discomfort and skin damage. Compression stockings are available in a variety of colors, styles and strengths.
What are my risk factors for developing vein disease and what can I do about it?
Learn more about the causes and risk factors below.
Chicago Vein Institute is a practice solely dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of vein diseases. The experts at CVI perform the latest and most effective treatments for painful varicose veins, spider veins, and other vein-related disorders. CVI offers minimally invasive treatment options, including Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy, Surface Sclerotherapy, Elastic Compression Stockings and wound care for venous ulcers, performing more than 11,000 vein-related procedures annually.