FAQs

If you have a question that is not answered in our FAQ section below, please call our office at (603) 898-3461 to speak to one of our qualified staff members.

Varicose Vein Questions

Will insurance cover my procedure?

Several procedures for varicose veins are covered by insurance plans. During your initial consultation, we will collect your insurance information. As we make a decision regarding your best option of treatment, we will work with your insurance company to determine your eligibility and coverage. As these procedures are performed in the office, many large hospital deductibles and co-insurance do not apply.

What is ELT?

ELT stands for Endovenous Laser Treatment. This is an exciting new technique that is replacing traditional vein stripping in practices across the nation. It is predominantly used to treat varicose veins. A laser fiber is inserted into the vein through a small incision and is then used to heat the inside of the vein, sealing it shut. This treatment can be performed in the comfort and convenience of our office using only local anesthesia.

Will I have discomfort from ELT?

The procedure is carried out under local anesthesia. A dilute solution called “tumescent” is used. You will feel the injection of the local anesthetic, but you will be completely numb for the remaining part of the procedure. Many people describe a feeling of pressure as the anesthetic is injected into the tissue, but this only lasts for a few seconds until the medication takes effect. After the procedure, the anesthetic lasts a few hours. We recommend that you take Ibuprofen at regular intervals for 5 to 7 days in order to decrease inflammation and discomfort. Patients will very rarely require stronger pain medication.

How effective are the ELT and RF treatments?

These procedures are 97 to 99% successful in permanently closing the vein. They are considered more effective at treating varicosities than traditional stripping.

Can all varicose veins be treated with ELT?

Unfortunately, not all varicose veins can be treated with ELT. If the vein is very tortuous or “winding,” then it may be impossible to insert the laser fiber far enough into the vein to be helpful. If the vein is located very close to the surface of the skin, ELT is not appropriate. In these cases, an alternative treatment will be recommended by the surgeon.

What is RF or VNUS Closure?

RF stands for Radiofrequency. This is a technique used to treat varicose veins that is replacing traditional vein stripping in practices across the nation. A Radiofrequency catheter is inserted into the vein through a small incision. This catheter is then used to heat the vein, damaging its walls and sealing it shut. As with ELT, this treatment can be performed in the office using only local anesthesia.

How is RF different from ELT?

Both techniques treat the same type of veins. As a rule, RF is a milder treatment and tends to result in less discomfort and bruising than ELT. However, under certain circumstances, the versatility of ELT makes it the preferred method of treatment.

What is a stab phlebectomy?

A “stab” phlebectomy, also called microincisional phlebectomy, is used to treat certain types of varicose veins. The word “phlebectomy” means removing the vein. Once the varicose veins have been marked, the skin is infiltrated with local anesthesia. Through several small incisions or “stabs” of about 2 to 3 millimeters (about 1/8 inch), a special hook is used to grab the vein and tease it out. This gets rid of those unsightly bulgy areas. These small incisions do not usually require stitches and heal nicely with minimal scarring, if any.

But don’t I NEED those veins? What if I need bypass surgery later?

Since those veins are dilated and not working properly, they are doing more harm than good. They are simply not usable for bypass surgery.

Does stab phlebectomy HURT?

Most patients say that the procedure does not hurt at all. You will feel a slight transient burning sensation associated with the injection of local medicine. Beyond that point, it becomes a painless procedure. After the procedure, the vast majority of patients require only extra-strength Tylenol or Motrin to keep them comfortable. Rarely will patients require a stronger pain killer post-operatively.

What is the “down” time for a stab phlebectomy?

The down time for this procedure is usually very short. In fact, you will walk out of the office! Although you will need to take it easy for the first 48 hours, walking is encouraged to promote healing and prevent blood clot formation. After the first two days, you can resume normal activities. However, strenuous exercise, swimming and hot tubs are discouraged for the first 7 to 10 days.

What about scarring?

These small incisions do not usually require stitches and heal nicely with minimal scarring, if any.