Varicose Veins Overview

Varicose Veins Overview

Dec 15, 2023 | General Surgery

Varicose Veins are common in both women and men as they age. Varicose veins are not just a cosmetic problem…they can lead to complications such as skin changes and skin ulcers. Because of medical issues like these, insurance will sometimes cover treatment of the varicose veins if the treating provider can document that the patient is having leg pain or heaviness. Insurance companies will also take into account if the veins are causing symptoms severe enough to cause issues standing or walking, or if the veins are causing skin changes or ulcers.

Why do varicose veins happen?

Varicose veins most often occur due to backflow or reflux into the superficial (saphenous) veins. Veins have valves to push blood up the legs to the heart against gravity. If those valves stretch apart, they can allow blood to flow down the leg to the foot rather than up the heart. These leaky valves can occur from prolonged standing, pregnancy, and many other reasons.

How do I know if I have a vein valve issue?

A special type of ultrasound can be done with the patient standing and lying to measure the amount of backflow or reflux in the veins. Both the superficial system (saphenous) and deep (femoral) systems are evaluated.

What can be done if I have leaky valves?

Usually, using compression stockings is recommended first. If this does not help and symptoms are worsening despite wearing the stockings, different procedures could be recommended. One of these procedures is called a vein ablation. Ablation is where a catheter is placed into the vein. Usually, superficial veins are the culprit when leaky valves are involved. The vein is then closed with the ablation. Blood then flows back to the heart through the femoral system.

Will ablation fix the bulging varicose veins?

In most cases, the ablation will decrease the size of the varicose veins and help with symptoms such as leg heaviness and fatigue. Sometimes a separate small incision is made to pull out the bulging veins. This is called an avulsion or phlebectomy procedure.

Lakeview Clinic has three surgical vein specialists that your primary doctor can refer to for varicose veins evaluations: General Surgeons, Dr. Todd Elftmann, Dr. Dawn Stapleton and Dr. Steven Turner. Consultation appointments are available at the Chaska, Waconia, and Norwood offices.

Dawn M. Stapleton

Dawn M. Stapleton


Dr. Stapleton’s practice includes surgical and endoscopic services. She has special interests in breast surgery, laparoscopic surgery and robotic assisted surgery for cancers and benign conditions including hernia repairs. She also performs upper endoscopy and colonoscopy.


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