What are Varicose and Spider Veins?

The function of a vein is to carry blood back to the heart. Larger veins have one-way valves which aid in the blood flow back to the heart against the pull of gravity. In varicose veins, valves are faulty which allows the blood to flow backward causing the veins to dilate and swell. The veins can be small and threadlike (spider veins) or large and ropey (varicose veins).

What causes vein disease?

Heredity is a major factor in the development of vein disease in both men and women. Women are more prone to vein disease due to hormonal influences and pregnancy. Men who are involved in physically demanding occupations are also prone to varicose veins. Other factors include standing and sitting occupations.

What are the symptoms?

Vein disorders can produce a variety of symptoms such as aching, pain, throbbing, heaviness, swelling, cramping, restlessness, tiredness and fatigue. These symptoms are aggravated with prolonged standing and can worsen around the menstrual cycle. Leg cramping and restless leg syndrome frequently interfere with normal sleep patterns. Symptoms are produced by the stagnation of blood in the diseased veins. If left untreated, varicose veins can cause discoloration, scarring, bleeding, blood clots and ulceration.

How is ultrasound used in vein disease?

Ultrasound is used to visualize and evaluate the size and function of veins under the skin surface. Ultrasound allows Dr. Kuefner to diagnose problems under the skin surface that may be causing varicose veins to develop and which may need to be treated first to obtain the best long term results. Ultrasound is also used to help place injections and position laser fibers in the course of treatment. Ultrasound is often used to diagnose whether there are blood clots in the veins under the skin surface. Dr. Kuefner takes pride in performing his own ultrasound evaluations in his office being credentialed as both a Registered Vascular Technologist (RVT) and a Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) by the American Registry of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers (ARDMS).

What is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy is a popular and effective method of eradicating large varicose veins to the smallest spider veins. It involves micro-injections of an FDA approved medication into the abnormal veins. The medication causes an irritation in the lining of the vein and the vein wall. The treated veins are compressed with a compression stocking, which promotes closure of the abnormal veins. Ultrasound is sometimes used to place injections under the skin surface precisely where they will be of most benefit. Walking each day promotes healing. The veins are such thin walled vessels that once they are closed you cannot see them and the legs feel better because the blood is no longer allowed to pool and stagnate within the abnormal veins. Dr. Kuefner is one of the most experienced sclerotherapists in the country. He uses only FDA approved sclerosing medication.

Who needs prescription support hose?

Prescription support hose are used in conjunction with sclerotherapy and EVLT to minimize risks and promote healing of the treated veins. We use graduated compression stockings which are manufactured in such a way that the greatest compression is at the foot and ankle and the compression gradually decreases as the stocking goes up the leg. This physiologically aids in returning blood back to the heart. Graduated support stockings prevent stagnation of blood in the legs thereby reducing swelling, risks of blood clots, formation of varicose veins during pregnancy and symptoms often associated with varicose vein problems. We stock an extensive supply of graduated prescription support stockings for all applications which we fit specifically to the individual patient.

How can I get more information?

Call the Vein Center of Orland Park at (708) 460-8800 for more information or a personal consultation appointment. Sclerotherapy and EVLT treatment is covered by most insurance companies when medical need for treatment can be established.