Your body contains thousands of miles of blood vessels, including arteries, veins and capillaries. These various blood vessels make up what is called the vascular system (which also includes the heart, of course). If you develop vascular problems related to the veins and need vein treatment, you need a vein doctor like Dr. Raffi Krikorian, at St. Louis Vein & Endovascular in St. Louis, Missouri.
Although vascular problems can technically include heart disease, most medical professionals use these terms to refer to vein issues such as varicose veins and spider veins. Varicose veins occur in the legs, while spider veins (which are much smaller) can also occur in places like the face. In both cases, these conditions occur because tiny flaps of tissue (valves) inside the vein stop working properly. When the valves fail, blood backs up in the vein and it becomes distended, causing the characteristic bulging, twisted varicose vein or the colored “starburst” of a spider vein. Spider veins may not cause any symptoms, but are often a cosmetic issue, while varicose veins may cause aching, burning or swelling in the legs.
What’s a Vein Doctor?
The term vein doctor isn’t used to describe a medical specialty. Interventional radiologists, interventional cardiologists and vascular surgeons may all be called vein doctors. Although their basic training is the same in medical school, each specialty covers different kinds of medical conditions and treatments. Radiologists specialize in the use of imaging technology to diagnose and treat disease, cardiologists like Dr. Krikorian specialize in heart and vascular disease, and vascular surgeons specialize in surgical treatment of vascular disease. When it comes to vascular problems like varicose veins or spider veins, any of these physicians may offer in-office treatments such as sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy, but only surgeons offer surgical procedures like a vein stripping.
What Services Does a Vein Doctor Offer?
Depending on the practice and specialty, a vein doctor may offer a variety of different treatments. Many of these are minimally invasive and can be performed in a doctor’s office or vein clinic. Recovery time is short (sometimes only a day or so). At St. Louis Vein & Endovascular, we offer ambulatory phlebectomy, endovenous laser ablation (EVLT), radiofrequency (RF) ablation and ultrasound guided sclerotherapy for varicose veins. Sclerotherapy is considered the treatment of choice for spider veins. We can also recannalize (open) major veins that have become blocked and use ovarian vein emobolization to treat what is known as pelvic congestion syndrome. We also offer some of the newest treatments, such as Venaseal (a glue that can close varicose veins), mechanico-chemical ablation (MOCA) – which improves the results of sclerotherapy – and Varithena foam, which lasts longer and is more effective than regular sclerotherapy solutions.
If you have varicose or spider veins, we can help. Please contact us to schedule an appointment. We’re also happy to answer any questions about vascular disease, varicose vein treatment, insurance coverage or other related issues.