Ballpark Estimate: $200 to $4,000 for treatment; $10,000 for vein removal surgery.
Are you vain about your shapely legs? Or perhaps your legs are mottled with varicose veins that cause you much despair. The fact is that bulging varicose veins and vanity usually don’t go hand in hand.
A Matter of Aging
Varicose veins affect many women as they age. This unsightly condition can be upsetting, but the good news is that it usually isn’t serious and can easily be treated with a variety of methods that will allow you to truly love your legs again
You probably don’t think much about your veins, but they actually serve an important role in the functioning of your body. On the most basic level, the veins transport blood from your legs back up to your heart, and there are two different types to consider. The deeper veins are the inner ones that are supported by your muscles, while the veins that are closer to the surface are more superficial. When both the inner and outer veins are working up to full speed, you won’t be apt to feel them or particularly notice their existence beneath your skin. However, when your veins aren’t functioning properly, then they can be difficult to miss.
Varicose veins are relatively common, impacting about half of all female adults and also a smaller group of men as well. Varicose veins may occur because you have a hereditary disposition or they could be caused by your lifestyle and choices. Lack of exercise and being overweight can be two risk factors. In addition, you can get varicose veins from standing or sitting for long periods of time, which can put intense pressure on your legs and make it difficult for the blood traveling through your deeper vein system to be able to move up your body, as nature intended. As a result, the main vein walls can swell and cause the blood to pool there. This situation can cause your veins to become darker and ropy looking, and can sometimes even cause a number of symptoms, such as:
- Swelling in your legs
- Aches, pains, burning or heaviness
- Discomfort behind the knee
- Itchiness around the vein area
- Skin discoloration
On occasion, varicose veins can also lead to more serious complications, such as the formation of ulcers when the implicated vein doesn’t allow fluid to drain from the skin. Fluid buildup can also cause bacterial or fungal infections. Further, in more extreme cases, blood clots can even form inside the affected vein, which can be very dangerous.
While varicose veins are sometimes be accompanied by these and other worrisome health risks, spider veins on the other hand are much more superficial. These veins are those small, delicate ones that are closer to the surface of the skin. When impacted, they appear as thin red, blue or purple lines that radiate out like a sunburst. Spider veins most commonly occur on the legs but aren’t limited to this area. In fact, they can also be found on the face or other parts of the body.
Varicose Vein Treatment
Once you have varicose veins or spider veins, the bad news is that they won’t go away on their own. But if their appearance doesn’t bother you and you aren’t experiencing any discomfort or pain, it often isn’t necessary to treat the problem. However, when you feel unhappy with the look of your veins, are experiencing significant varicose vein symptoms or simply find your legs throbbing or feeling very uncomfortable, it’s certainly time to explore the treatment options available.
For many people, the first step in treating varicose veins is to try the do-it-yourself approach. You can try wearing compression stockings, which can provide support for your legs and help to ease the discomfort you’re experiencing. You can also make simple lifestyle changes to see if they bring you any relief. For instance, you can lose weight, begin exercising regularly, avoid sitting or standing for long periods of time, and try elevating your legs and feet when needed. Finally, you can use one of the popular varicose vein creams available today, which can help fade the look of varicose and spider veins and also eliminate any accompanying leg fatigue and pain. Experts recommend looking for a varicose vein cream that contains Vitamin K, which is said to help improve circulation and may make a difference in milder cases.
If these conservative measures don’t help treat your varicose veins, then it could be time to look into some of the professional treatment options described below, which are readily available today.
This procedure, which is done on an outpatient basis, consists of injecting a solution into the affected varicose vein until it dissolves so that normal blood flow can return. A new version of this technique relies on foam to inject the solution. In either form, it can take multiple injections to make the varicose veins disappear completely.
Laser (or Pulsed Light) Therapy
This uses very intense pulses of light to destroy abnormal varicose veins and help them to dissolve. This general technique can be performed using a variety of different light sources. This approach is often used either alone for small spider veins or to complement sclerotherapy.
Endovenous Thermal Ablation (ETA)
This outpatient procedure uses a catheter to direct laser beams to seal off the varicose vein and shrink it. This can often be performed with minimal pain and quick healing time, too, making it an appealing choice for many patients.
This method involves surgically removing the affected varicose vein area. For large varicose veins, this procedure surgically removes the affected vein. This is usually performed by a vascular surgeon and may be done in a hospital setting. While this used to be a very common approach in the past, today it’s often passed over in favor of other, less invasive techniques.
Finding a Doctor
Where you have your vein treatment done can dependent on how serious your symptoms are. Many people go to an outpatient cosmetic surgery center for less invasive techniques. You can also find dermatologists and spas that offer some basic vein treatment methods. In addition, some cities offer walk-in clinics that specialize in schlerotherapy. But more serious problems should always be addressed with the expertise of a vascular doctor or other vein specialist.
To help you learn more about your options and to find a doctor or facility in your area, you can ask your physician for a referral, do a search online or visit one of the many available online resources, including Cosmetic Surgery, Vein Directory.org, Treatment for Varicose Veins.
What It Costs
If you want to know how much is costs to have your varicose veins treated, a lot depends on how bad they are and exactly what you need. But the following guidelines can give you a basic idea of the average costs to expect.
These can be the least expensive varicose vein treatment method. They can be found in many drug stores or surgical supply places for a cost of about $15 for a basic pair. The cost can go on up to about $100 for a designer version.
Varicose Vein Cream
Varicose vein cream is another treatment option. A basic 2-ounce jar of varicose vein cream can cost around $25 to $50 range for basic options, although higher-end creams can run as high as $100 or more. It can be found in drug stores, health food shops, department stores and online.
Sclerothearpy treatment can cost between $200 and $400 for a session. However, as many as 6 sessions may be needed. These must be spaced out about six weeks in between each sclerotherapy treatment, so the process can take quite a while to complete.
Laser treatment for varicose veins can cost between $300 and $500 a session, depending on the technique you use and what needs to be done and how large a section is involved. These varicose vein treatments may also need to be performed up to half a dozen times, so the cost can quickly rise.
Endovenous Thermal Ablation
Endovenous thermal ablation treatment can cost between $1,500 and $4,000 per session. While this may sound pricey, keep in mind that this method can be very effective in treating more serious varicose veins
Surgical Varicose Vein Removal
Surgical removal of a varicose vein is the most intensive option and can cost as much as $10,000 or more, depending on exactly what is involved in the procedure.
So you can expect to treat the varicose veins yourself for $100 or less with compression stockings or vein creams, or you can undergo a professional treatment for between $200 and $4,000 for one session. For more serious cases that require varicose vein surgery, the price can be upwards of $10,000.
If you’re looking to treat spider veins, which are strictly cosmetic and don’t cause any health risk, insurance is unlikely to cover the expense. On the other hand, varicose veins are usually a medical problem, so if the do-it-yourself options don’t work for you, your insurance provider may be willing to pay the bill so you can undergo more intensive treatment to resolve the problem. Always check with your insurance company for details and to find out if varicose and spider vein treatment is covered under your specific plan.