What doctor treats varicose veins? We answer your questions about vein disease in NYC

What doctor treats varicose veins?

Varicose veins are dense masses of twisted and tangled, rope-like blood vessels that bulge out of the skin’s surface. They’re actually damaged blood vessels with a high volume of accumulated blood, which makes them dilate and bulge outwards. As such, varicose veins are vascular problems, and they should be treated by vascular surgeons, vein doctors, or phlebologists.

What kind of doctor specializes in veins?

Phlebologist is the branch of medicine concerned with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of vein problems. As such, phlebologists are the medical specialists with the unique training necessary to treat vein problems. Phlebologists, colloquially known as vein doctors, can come from all fields of medicine, including cardiology, dermatology, or anesthesiology, provided they have specialized training in the diagnosis and treatment of veins.

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Do you see a dermatologist for varicose veins?

Dermatologists generally specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of skin concerns, not vascular concerns. Patients often consult dermatologists for varicose veins because of the misconception that spider veins and varicose veins are skin conditions. In actuality, even though spider veins and varicose veins can affect your skin quality, they’re vascular problems caused by an underlying chronic venous insufficiency.

Most dermatologists can only treat superficial varicose veins or spider veins using cosmetic procedures, i.e., they can remove the visible veins without addressing the root cause. As such, if you only seek cosmetic vein treatment, there’s a strong chance that your vein problems will eventually return, and the underlying venous insufficiency may continue worsening. That’s why you shouldn’t consult dermatologists for varicose veins.

However, if your dermatologist also happens to be a phlebologist, i.e., they’ve undergone advanced training for vein care, then you can go ahead and consult with them. While consulting your dermatologist, please ask them if they have specialized training for the diagnosis and treatment of vein problems. You should also ask them if they run ultrasound scans to diagnose the root cause of your varicose veins before curating a treatment plan.

When should you see a vein doctor?

You should see a vein doctor if you have any of the signs or symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency, the root cause of most vein problems. Venous insufficiency is a medical condition wherein your vein valves collapse, and blood flows backward, eventually accumulating in the leg veins. The continued accumulation of blood in leg veins leads to spider veins, varicose veins, and other vein problems.

You should see a vein doctor if you notice the following signs and symptoms of vein disease: leg heaviness, restless leg syndrome, leg swelling, leg pain, throbbing leg veins, frequent leg cramps, spider veins, and varicose veins. A tell-tale sign of vein disease is if these symptoms worsen at the end of the day or after long periods of sitting or standing still.

Is walking good for varicose veins?

Walking is definitely good for varicose veins because it activates your calf muscles, pushing some of the accumulated blood towards your heart. Walking might alleviate the worst symptoms of vein disease and prevent varicose veins from worsening, but it won’t treat the underlying vein disease, so it’s not a substitute for minimally invasive vein treatments from a vein doctor.

How to take care of veins?

  • Wear Compression Stockings: Compression stockings are skin-tight garments that apply pressure on your leg veins, thus pushing the accumulated blood towards your heart and preventing blood from accumulating in your leg veins.
  • Exercise: Cardiovascular exercises, such as running, swimming, and cycling can improve your blood circulation. These activities also engage your calf muscles, thus pushing the accumulated blood towards the heart, minimizing the risk of vein disease.
  • Elevate Your Legs: When you’re sitting down, elevate your legs above your heart’s level. You can do this by placing your legs on a table. Doing this encourages blood to flow towards the heart, minimizing the accumulation of blood in leg veins. 
  • Stay Hydrated: You should stay hydrated to improve blood circulation and strengthen the vein valves, thus minimizing the risk of vein disease. However, drinking lots of water won’t help you if you already have chronic venous insufficiency.

The aforementioned tips and methods can improve blood circulation in your legs. As such, you can implement these lifestyle changes to minimize the risk of vein disease, prevent your vein problems from worsening, or recover after your vein treatment. However, these methods won’t prevent vein disease for sure or treat your vein problems.

What doctor treats varicose veins?

 What happens if varicose veins are left untreated?

If varicose veins are left untreated, blood continues accumulating in the leg veins, leading to excessive vascular dilation. Over time, as blood continues accumulating, the leg veins dilate and weaken, leading to a high risk of burst varicose veins, which can lead to profuse bleeding, for which you have to be taken to an emergency room.

Can varicose veins go away with exercise?

Varicose veins can’t go away with exercise. However, engaging in cardiovascular exercises that work your calf muscles, such as running, swimming, and cycling, can alleviate the symptoms of vein disease, making you feel better. You will still need minimally invasive vein treatments for complete relief from varicose veins.

What is the newest treatment for varicose veins?

VenaSeal is widely considered one of the newest minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins because it has only recently received FDA approval. During VenaSeal, the vein doctor makes a small incision on the skin’s surface to insert a catheter and inject a medical-grade adhesive that seals its walls shut. The diseased vein turns into a hardened tissue eventually absorbed by the body.

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She is an Internal Medicine and Vein Disease specialist with experience in minimally invasive treatments at our Long Island clinic.

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