Have you ever taken your car in for an oil change or minor repair and then found out that there was a major problem that needed to be addressed? The mechanic may even have explained that the larger issue (and a hefty bill!) could have been prevented if the vehicle had been brought in sooner. There is an important parallel between this situation and the progression of venous disease. People often ignore symptoms that seem minor: a persistent ache, a few spider veins here and there, or just having tired legs after a long day at work. However, these symptoms could be early warning signs of potential complications to come if no measures are taken to stop the progression of venous disease.
At Artemis, we tell patients that “any time” is a good time to start vein treatment, because we want people to avoid bigger problems down the road. That said, there are some periods of the year that are ideal depending on a patient’s preferences and circumstances. One of these periods is the winter. Before a vein procedure can take place, patients first wear compression stockings for three months. Because the stockings add a thin layer of warmth, some patients prefer to complete this trial when it’s cold outside. Another benefit of a winter compression stocking trial is that the stockings can be hidden under pants. After completing the trial in the winter, the patient can be treated during the spring and be ready to wear shorts and participate in summer activities pain free.
However, we’re at the time that is perhaps the best for beginning treatment. As the end of the year approaches, many patients will have met most or all of their insurance deductible requirements. This means that their vein treatment may be covered completely by insurance! Most insurance companies require the three month compression stocking trial and, while this means that the patient will be wearing the stockings during warmer months, this shouldn’t be a deterrent. The stockings are thin and won’t feel too hot, and they come in many styles and colors, so it’s not essential to hide them under pants unless that is just what one prefers.
If a patient begins the three month trial in August or September, they will be ready for treatment around November or December, which is when many people have met their insurance deductible. After a short recovery period, the patient will be ready to enjoy the holidays, winter travel, and all the fun cold-weather activities that we are able to take advantage of in Colorado.
While the end-of-year deductible highlights the benefits of beginning treatment now, when deciding whether or not to start treatment it can be helpful to have a bigger picture of the entire process. First, we invite patients to give us a call to discuss any symptoms they’re experiencing, so that we can help determine if an in-person consultation is advisable. We have years of experience diagnosing and treating all types of vein conditions and diseases, though the most common issue is venous insufficiency.
At the first appointment, we use ultrasound to look beneath the skin to detect any signs of venous disease or other issues. If treatment is advisable, our doctor, who is a specialist in the field of phlebology, will carefully customize a treatment plan for each patient. At this point in the treatment process, we can help you determine what insurance will cover so that you know up front what to expect cost wise.
The next step is the three month compression stocking trial discussed earlier. While this is required by insurance, we recommend patients complete this trial whether or not insurance is a factor. We prioritize conservative, non-invasive interventions and then proceed only if the patient’s symptoms persist. In some cases the stockings work so well that further treatment isn’t required.
However, if the compression stocking trial is not successful at relieving the patient’s symptoms, we will then treat the patient’s veins using state-of-the-art laser technology. We pride ourselves on utilizing the gold standard of modern vein treatment, the CoolTouch CTEV laser. The special features of this instrument enable us to remedy venous disease in a manner that results in less bruising, less pain, and a faster recovery.
After the procedure, we ask patients to wear stockings for an additional two weeks. In the days after treatment, it’s fine to resume normal activities, but patients should take it easy for a few days and avoid strenuous exercise. It’s normal to experience some mild discomfort as the body heals, but this pain is not serious and can typically be managed with over-the-counter medications if needed.
We hope that this overview of the treatment process helps you understand what to expect, and helps you envision how it might fit with your own schedule. Our own schedule fills up quickly during this time of year, so consider calling us soon. Visit our website to learn more about us, and to see some impressive before and after pictures. If possible, start the treatment process now so that you can take advantage of meeting your insurance deductible and start next year off with healthy, pain free legs. Our wonderful doctor and staff are here to answer your questions and guide you through the treatment process. We love what we do and are ready to provide you with our best care.