Help! How Can I Choose a Vein Clinic?

Vein disease can be an indicator of a more serious problem, so it is important to get help if you have it. Even if your vein disease is not a serious health problem, varicose veins and spider veins can interfere with your daily life. They can prevent you from feeling comfortable in shorts, skirts, and short sleeves, or cause your legs to ache when you are walking.

Once you decide to get help for your vein disease, the next step is to choose a vein clinic for your care. This can be a tough decision if many clinics are in your area, but you can narrow your options by checking for some specific aspects. These are some tips when choosing a vein clinic.

Focus on the vein specialist.

The vein specialist is in charge of your treatment, so you want to be sure you are under the care of a top doctor. Look for a board certified doctor such as a board certified cardiologist and a fellow of the American College of Cardiology. Other experience can include interventional cardiology training in the form of fellowships and residencies.

Think about other services.

Some vein clinics are part of larger facilities that offer additional services. If you need any of these services, you might want to choose a vein clinic that is housed in the same building. That way, you can get all of your treatments done in one place and make life simpler. Some of the possible options include cosmetic treatments such as Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels, facial skin rejuvenation, and waxing.

Ask for proof of results.

Your vein clinic should be able to provide evidence of satisfied patients. You may be able to see before and after photos of patients who have had varicose and spider veins removed, for example. You could also ask to talk to patients who can describe their experiences and results for you.

Consider logistics.

Real life comes into play when selecting a vein clinic for your treatment. You cannot base your decision solely on the quality of the doctor and the comfort of the vein clinic. Instead, you need to consider factors such as location. A clinic near you is easier to get to and less of a hassle when attending your scheduled appointments.

Financing is also important. Check to see if the vein clinic accepts your insurance coverage or financing options that make payment more manageable for you. Some clinics offer specials for vein treatment or other cosmetic procedures. Taking advantage of these specials can be a reason for choosing one vein clinic over another.

Go with your gut.

Sometimes, you can gather all the available information and still not have a clear cut favorite choice. At that point, you can use your intuition to choose a clinic. Consider which location and vein doctors make you feel most comfortable and confident. That vein clinic may be the best one for you.

Should I Have Professional Vein Treatment?

If you are suffering from the symptoms of varicose veins or spider veins, you may wonder whether your condition is serious enough to warrant professional vein treatment. To determine whether you should schedule an appointment with a vein specialist, ask yourself the questions below.

1. What are my symptoms?

Patients with spider veins may notice small, web-like veins on their hands, face, neck and legs. These veins are not raised above the skin’s surface and they rarely cause discomfort. Patients with varicose veins, however, will see larger, swollen veins that seem to be twisted and gnarled. These veins may be raised or deep. They also tend to cause other symptoms, such as pain, cramping, tingling and weakness.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, you may benefit from professional vein treatment.

2. Can I handle this on my own?

In some cases, patients are able to relieve the symptoms of abnormal veins with at-home treatments. For example, if you are suffering from painful varicose veins, you may be able to improve your condition by wearing compression stockings, avoiding long periods of sitting or standing and elevating your legs as much as possible. However, for many patients, these conservative measures are not enough. If you have already tried at-home treatment with no success, or if you don’t believe you would benefit from at-home treatment, it may be time to make an appointment at a vein clinic.

3. Am I comfortable with the idea of professional treatment?

Professional treatment can dramatically improve the appearance of abnormal veins, as well as any accompanying symptoms. Various treatment options are available for patients with abnormal veins, including sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, laser therapy and more. Depending on the type of treatment you choose, injections and/or surgery may be required. Although these procedures carry very little risk and require only limited recovery time, they are still more invasive than at-home therapy.

If you are ready to try a minimally-invasive treatment to resolve symptoms of varicose veins or spider veins, making an appointment with a vein doctor is the most appropriate course of action. To learn more about your vein treatment options, contact the St. Louis Vein & Endovascular today.



What to Expect from a Visit to a Vein Specialist

Your first visit to a vein specialist can be a nerve-wracking experience. Here is some information to help you prepare for your appointment.

About Vein Specialists

A vein specialist is a physician who is trained to evaluate and diagnose vein condition. Vein specialists are also capable of administering various treatments to patients with vein disease in order to improve their symptoms.

The Exam

During you first visit to a vein specialist, the doctor will examine your abnormal veins. To make this part of the appointment as easy as possible, be sure to wear loose fitting clothing that will allow your doctor to access the affected veins without difficulty. Your doctor will also ask you questions about your symptoms, as well as any at-home treatments you have tried. Be prepared to answer these questions in as much detail as possible.


Once the doctor has completed the exam and reviewed your medical history, he or she will diagnose your condition. Depending on the circumstances, you may be diagnosed with spider veins, varicose veins or both. If the doctor suspects another issue or complication, further testing may be recommended before you decide on a course of treatment.


A vein specialist will offer a range of treatments to meet the needs of various patients. Here at the St. Louis Vein & Endovascular, for example, we offer multiple treatments for both spider veins and varicose veins. Some of the treatments you may consider for these conditions include:

  • Sclerotherapy – During sclerotherapy, a special solution is injected into spider veins or varicose veins. This solution irritates the walls of the vein and causes them to collapse. It may be performed with or without the help of ultrasound guidance.
  • Endovenous Laser Ablation – Endovenous laser ablation treats abnormal veins with laser energy, which seals them off and diverts blood into healthier blood vessels. This treatment is appropriate even for varicose veins located deep within the skin.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy – Ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure used to remove superficial varicose veins from the body entirely.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation – Radiofrequency ablation involves the administration of radiofrequency energy into the interior of the vein with a small catheter.
  • VeinGoghOhmic Thermolysis – VeinGoghOhmic Thermolysis is a superficial laser treatment designed to improve the appearance of spider veins.

Make an Appointment

If you are interested in visiting a vein specialist, please contact the St. Louis Vein & Endovascular today to make an appointment.

Financing Your Spider Vein Treatment

Many patients suffer from spider veins, but are unsure about the financial burden that spider vein treatment may carry. Our clinic words to provide flexible payment options to ensure that every patient is able to afford spider vein treatment.

Health Insurance

Because varicose veins are a medical condition that can pose a serious risk to your health, treatment is often covered by health insurance. Patients whose health insurance covers treatment are only responsible for their out-of-pocket expense, which may include copayments, coinsurance, and deductible. At St. Louis Vein & Endovascular, we work with your insurance company to obtain prior authorizations and ensure you are informed in advance.

Care Credit

To ensure every patient receives the treatment they need, we kindly accept Care Credit. Care Credit is a low-interest credit account that can be used for health expenses. Promotional specials vary, but they frequently offer no interest on services paid in full within 6-12 months, which may be a better option than other financing for many patients.

Credit or Debit Cards

Many patients finance their portion of the procedure using a credit card to break down the burden into feasible monthly payments. Patients on a fixed income following retirement might consider credit options such as credit cards or Care Credit to ensure the monthly payments fit in to their monthly budget.

Personal Loans

Patients seeking uncovered (such as cosmetic) services or patients who are uninsured sometimes draw a small loan from their personal bank to pay for the cost of treatment. Personal loans often have much lower interest rates than credit cards and the payment plan is often more flexible.

Cash or Check

To provide the most convenience possible to our patients, we continue to accept cash or check for the cost of treatment. Patients who choose to take out personal loans can have the loan deposited into their account and then simply write a check for the cost of treatment.

To learn more about spider vein treatment, contact Dr. Raffi Krikorian’s office today!

Choosing a Vein Doctor in St. Louis

Choosing a Vein Doctor, Step by Step

Choosing a vein doctor to treat your varicose veins can feel intimidating, but following these simple guidelines can make the selection much more comfortable and improve your confidence during the process.

Do Your Research

Research providers in advance. Look at reviews submitted online by their patients, search the internet for their name and practice to see if there is any negative media or publicity, and carefully review their website to learn which services are offered. You can also check the clinic’s better business bureau score to ensure they handle complaints quickly and appropriately.

If you’ve been referred by your primary care provider, ask if and why he or she recommends a particular vein doctor.

Ask the Right Questions

Before your appointment, prepare questions that you have about the clinic, doctor, or your treatment plan. Bring these questions with to your appointment. When you’re with the doctor, it’s easy to forget your questions if you don’t plan them in advance.

Some helpful questions include:

  • Are you board certified? Board certified vein doctors meet stringent guidelines to keep their education on sclerotherapy and other vein treatments  and conditions up to date.
  • How many times have you done this procedure? This can help you gain insight on the doctor’s level of experience and comfort.
  • How can I reach staff after hours if there are complications following the procedure? It’s important to know in advance that you will be able to reach somebody in an emergency.
  • Do you accept my insurance, and what will be my out-of-pocket expense for the course of treatment you recommend? Learning more about cost can assist you in comparing clinics quantitatively.
  • Do you have some before and after pictures of patients you’ve treated that you would be willing to share?

Compare and Contrast

After taking notes at your consultation appointments, compare and contrast the doctors you visited with. Some factors to consider include bedside manner, qualifications, accessibility, experience, office cleanliness, and cost.

Dr. Raffi Krikorian at St. Louis Vein & Endovascular is eager to visit with you regarding your symptoms and treatment goals. Call to schedule your consultation today.

Preventing the Development of Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are known as unsightly, and many people consider treatment cosmetic. However, what many people don’t know is that varicose veins can be painful, limiting and life-threatening. While varicose veins can’t be prevented by lifestyle changes alone (heredity and other medical conditions still play a role), make positive lifestyle changes can greatly reduce the risk of developing vein conditions.

Weight Loss

Obesity is a leading risk factor in the development of varicose veins. Losing weight through healthy meal choices and an active lifestyle is a significant step toward prevention. You can lose weight by following a healthy meal plan, drinking plenty of water, and exercising regularly. However, many patients aren’t sure where to start when it comes to planning their meals or exercising; visiting a weight loss specialist may be a good idea if you’re struggling to lose weight without professional help.


Standing in one place for hours at a time can increase your risk of developing varicose veins. Those with certain occupations, such as cashiers, hair stylists, and construction flaggers, are at increased risk due to the nature of their daily work. You can improve your circulation and assist in prevention by walking throughout the day and resting during your break periods.


Those who smoke tobacco are at increased risk of health problems, including varicose veins. You can decrease your risk by quitting smoking. Over-the-counter nicotine replacements are sometimes helpful, but many patients require assistance from a help line, doctor’s office or prescription medications to quit permanently.

Unfortunately, some risk factors cannot be reduced. Women are much more likely to develop varicose veins than men, and all patients are more likely to develop varicose veins as they age. Heredity plays a role, too; patients whose parents or siblings have varicose veins are more likely to suffer from the condition. If you’re suffering from varicose veins, contact a vein specialist today.

Exploring Your Vein Treatment Options

Abnormal veins can be embarrassing, painful and unsightly. Unfortunately, this condition is all too common. Experts estimate that as many as 25 million people are currently suffering from varicose veins or spider veins, and many of these people don’t seek treatment.

If you have abnormal veins, you don’t have to continue to struggle with this condition. Effective vein treatment options are available to relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life.

Understanding Abnormal Veins

Abnormal veins are blood vessels that no longer function properly. In most cases, these veins develop because of venous reflux or venous insufficiency, a condition that affects the valves on the vessels that prevent blood from flowing backward.

Two basic types of abnormal veins can develop: spider veins and varicose veins. Spider veins are small, twisted blood vessels that often form web-like patterns beneath the surface of the skin. Varicose veins, on the other hand, are large, gnarled veins that may be raised above the skin’s surface. Varicose veins may also cause a number of uncomfortable symptoms, including:

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Cramping
  • Pain
  • Heaviness
  • Weakness
  • Throbbing
  • Restlessness

Treatment for Spider Veins

If you suffer from spider veins, you may benefit from one or more of the following treatments:

VeinGoghOhmic Thermolysis

VeinGoghOhmic thermolysis utilizes a small insulated probe that emits heat. The probe targets abnormal blood vessels through the skin and uses heat energy to force the vessels to coagulate. Although some differences appear immediately, you may need up to three treatments in order to achieve maximum results.


Sclerotherapy uses a special medication to cause spider veins to collapse. This medication is injected into each vein with the help of a thin needle. Results from this procedure may not be immediately apparent, and you may require more than one treatment session.

Treatment for Varicose Veins

Some of the treatments that may be effective for patients with varicose veins include:

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy

Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy is similar to standard sclerotherapy. However, it involves the use of ultrasound technology to visualize varicose veins deep within the patient’s tissues. During the procedure, the doctor will use ultrasound to locate the vein before injecting it with sclerosing solution.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Used to treat even the deepest varicose veins in the legs, endovenous laser ablation forces abnormal veins to seal off by introducing laser energy into the vessel. Veins are then absorbed by the body.

Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation procedures treat varicose veins with heat energy. This energy is delivered to the vein via a thin catheter. Local anesthesia is required for this procedure, but patients are able to return to their normal activities within 24 hours.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

For immediate results, ambulatory phlebectomy is an ideal choice. During this procedure, abnormal veins are removed surgically through small incisions in the skin.

To learn more about any of the procedures above, contact the St. Louis Vein & Endovascular.

What You Need to Know about Endovenous Laser Ablation

Endovenous laser ablation, also known as EVLA or simply as “laser therapy,” treats varicose veins. EVLA is a newer technique that harnesses the power of a laser energy to create intense heat in the diseased vein. This heat closes the varicose vein so that it no longer functions. In time, the destroyed vein breaks apart. Tissue surrounding the vein absorbs the old vein. Your body simply reroutes blood flow to healthy veins nearby.

As compared with other techniques, such as ligation and stripping, many patients discover that undergoing EVLA results in less discomfort and a faster return to a normal lifestyle while providing similar cosmetic results.

Why Vein Doctors Perform Endovenous Laser Ablation

Vein doctors perform endovenous laser ablation to reduce symptoms, including aching and bulging veins, and to reduce the risk for complications from vein disease. Varicose veins and other types of vein disease can cause dangerous blood clots and painful sores known as venous ulcers.

You may benefit from EVLA if you have large varicose veins. EVLA is also an effective treatment for an incompetent saphenous vein, which occurs when the large vein running near the inside surface of your leg from your ankle to your groin does not function well.

EVLA essentially takes the place of vein stripping, an older procedure that involves removing the diseased vein through a hole in your skin. Since endovenous laser ablation leaves the veins in place, the procedure causes minimal bleeding and bruising.

Risks and Potential Complications of EVLA

You and your vascular surgeon will discuss your specific risks and potential benefits of EVLA. Endovenous laser ablation is generally a very safe procedure but, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks. Complications after EVLA may include pain or bruising along the treatment site, the development of a blood clot, and irritation to nerves located near the treated veins.

Your vein doctor will take special precautions to decrease these risks.

What to Expect with EVLA Varicose Vein Treatment

Our vascular surgeons evaluate each patient and individualize a treatment plan according to each patient’s particular circumstances.

A few days before EVLA, you may need to undergo some tests to make sure it is safe for you to have endovenous laser ablation. You might need to discontinue some medications before EVLA. The vein clinic healthcare team will provide specific instructions.

You will receive a sedative and anesthesia before the procedure. Your vein doctor will use an ultrasound to indentify the location of the diseased vein. The doctor will insert a thin flexible tube, known as a catheter, into the vein and inject a solution of salt water and an anesthetic into the vein. The surgeon will then expose the vein to laser energy.

Vein doctors typically perform EVLA at an outpatient vein clinic. Recovery time is quick – you can expect to walk shortly after the procedure before discharge home. You can resume normal activities the next day but you should avoid strenuous activity for a few weeks. While some pain is expected, discomfort is usually mild and short-lived. Wear compression stockings for the week following the procedure to reduce pain, swelling and bruising. 

How Sclerotherapy Treatment Treats Problem Veins

For patients with a family history of varicose or spider veins, the appearance of these abnormal vessels is sometimes a familiar cosmetic annoyance or medical problem.  These veins most frequently appear on the leg, foot, or ankle but can also develop on the face and other parts of the body.  For spider veins, sclerotherapy treatment is the most common method that vein doctors recommend.  Doctors also use it to treat some varicose veins.

How Sclerotherapy Treatment Works

According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, this is the oldest and the most frequent treatment vascular surgeons use for spider veins that develop on a patient’s legs.  It is most often performed at an outpatient vein clinic.  While this spider and varicose vein treatment eliminates targeted vessels, it can’t prevent new ones from developing.  Because of this, some patients schedule periodic sessions.

Many people believe that spider veins are a type of varicose veins.  They’re actually smaller and closer to the surface of the skin than varicose vessels are, the University of Maryland Medical System indicates.

Vein doctors destroy vessels by using a tiny needle to inject a chemical known as a sclerosing agent or a sclerosant.  This substance has been specially manufactured as a liquid or a foam to irritate a vein and cause it to scar.  Eventually, the vessel’s walls collapse.  Then the vein closes, leaving nearby blood vessels to handle blood flow.  Targeted veins eventually resorb and disappear to the eye.

This type of treatment is most appropriate for spider veins or small varicose veins relatively close to the skin’s surface.  For deeper varicose veins, surgeons use ultrasound to identify the location of vessels that need treatment and to guide the injected sclerosant.  They sometimes use it in addition to other procedures such as endovenous laser ablation.

What Patients Should Expect

Prior to injection of the sclerosing agent, patients lie on their backs with their legs raised slightly.  After cleansing the area to be treated, the vascular surgeon injects the sclerosant.

The physician applies compression after withdrawing the needle, then massages the area in order to disperse the sclerosant and prevent blood from entering the targeted vein.  The Mayo Clinic reports that wearing compression stockings for several weeks after this non-invasive procedure is standard.

Most patients report at most only minor discomfort.  They go home the same day and pick up their normal daily routines.  If they experience side effects, the symptoms are temporary and typically include bruising, red and raised areas, small skin sores, darkened skin, or very small red vessels that appear as multiples.

The most common side effects that might require medical treatment include:

  • Blood clot
  • Allergic reaction to the sclerosant
  • Air bubbles in the blood
  • Inflammation

In some cases, patients require several consecutive treatments to eliminate all problem veins.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

Approximately one-third of Americans are currently suffering with varicose veins. These abnormal veins are not only unsightly and embarrassing, but they can also cause uncomfortable symptoms. Luckily, if you are dealing with this condition, effective varicose vein treatment is available to help you look and feel better.

What are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are abnormal veins that may appear gnarled and twisted. They are typically blue, purple or red in color, and they are most common on the legs. However, varicose veins may develop in other locations as well. In some cases, varicose veins may not cause any physical symptoms other than their appearance. If symptoms occur, they are experienced most often in the legs and may include:

  • Burning
  • Tingling
  • Heaviness
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Restlessness
  • Cramping

In the worst cases, people with varicose veins may develop skin color changes and/or ulcers in the skin.

Varicose Vein Treatment Options

If you are dealing with the symptoms varicose veins, you may benefit from several different types of treatment. Common treatments for varicose veins include:

  • Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy – During this procedure, a vascular surgeon uses a fine needle under ultrasound guidance to treat varicose veins.
  • Endovenous Laser Ablation – This technique uses laser energy to seal off abnormal veins under local anesthesia.
  • Radiofrequency Ablation – Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to force abnormal veins to close off and disappear from view.
  • Ambulatory Phlebectomy – During this procedure, a surgeon removes varicose veins through small incisions in the skin.

Seeking Treatment for Varicose Veins

If you are suffering from the symptoms of varicose veins, you can get the treatment you need by making an appointment at a local vein center. When you visit a vein center, a vascular surgeon will assess your condition, review your medical history and help you understand all of your treatment options. Your surgeon will also help you make the decision that is best for your individual situation.

To learn more about varicose vein treatment options or to schedule an appointment with a vascular surgeon, contact St. Louis Vein & Endovascular.

1 2 3 4 5