What to Expect on Your First Appointment With a Vein Specialist

appointment book on the table next to a bouquet of flowers

Table of Contents

  • What Is a Vein Specialist?
  • What Does a Vein Specialist Treat?
  • What Should You Wear to an Appointment With a Vein Specialist?
  • What Should You Bring to Your First Appointment?
  • What Should You Expect on Your First Appointment? 
  • What Are Some of the Treatment Options for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?
  • Schedule a Consultation

Whether you’re considering scheduling a consultation with a vein specialist or already have your first appointment onyour calendar, you might be wondering: What could happen at that initial meeting? The following guide describes how to prepare for your first appointment with a vein specialist and what to expect during the consultation.

What Is a Vein Specialist?

A vein specialist is a medical doctor specializing in the treatment of vein problems. They can spot obvious and subtle signs of vein disease, provide an accurate diagnosis, and recommend a course of treatment suited to your needs. Vein specialists perform most modern vein treatments in their offices as outpatient procedures.

What Does a Vein Specialist Treat?

The two most common conditions vein specialists treat are varicose veins and spider veins. Both are usually caused by leaky valves that allow blood to pool or flow backward in the vein.

Varicose Veins

Swollen veins just under the surface of the skin are called varicose veins. If you have varicose veins, you may seek treatment because of symptoms such as pain, swelling, weakness, fatigue, or a feeling of heaviness in your legs. However, you may also simply wish to have them treated for cosmetic reasons.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are smaller than varicose veins and cannot be felt on the skin’s surface. They are red, blue, or purple and often look like the branches of a tree. Spider veins do not usually cause symptoms and are treated to improve the appearance of the skin.

What Should You Wear to an Appointment With a Vein Specialist?

Your vein specialist will need to look at your problem veins. Do not apply makeup or lotion to the area that will be examined. 

Select comfortable clothing that will be easy to move aside if it covers the problem veins. Loose-fitting shorts are ideal if you have varicose or spider veins on your legs. 

It’s important to dress warmly, as this improves blood flow. If the weather is too cold for shorts or you feel uncomfortable wearing them into the office, consider bringing a pair of shorts to change into when you get there.

What Should You Bring to Your First Appointment?

Follow the instructions given when you make the appointment. Your vein specialist may have specific requests. Drinking plenty of fluids before your appointment is also recommended.

The checklist below covers items often needed at an initial appointment with a vein specialist:

  • A list of current medications and medical conditions
  • A list of questions you have about your vein condition and available treatments
  • A list of your current symptoms and how often they occur  
  • A referral from your primary care physician, if required by insurance
  • All current insurance cards
  • Any forms the vein specialist has asked you to fill out ahead of time

If this isn’t your first time seeking help for vein issues, you should also bring records of any previous vein treatments.

What Should You Expect on Your First Appointment? 

Your first appointment may take up to two hours. In addition to examining your problem veins, your vein specialist will ask about your symptoms, medical history, and lifestyle. If you have varicose veins in your legs, they may check for swelling while you are standing and ask you to remove your socks and shoes.

Your vein specialist may recommend a duplex ultrasound. This painless test uses a small, hand-held device or transducer to send images of your veins to a display monitor. Some gel is applied over the vein to be examined and the transducer is placed on the gel. 

Duplex ultrasound can show the direction and rate of blood flow in the vein. It helps the doctor diagnose the severity of your condition and decide on the best treatment. Ultrasound testing may be part of your first appointment or you may need to schedule a follow-up appointment for it.

Once they have gathered the necessary information, the vein specialist will offer a diagnosis, explain treatment options, and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan.

Another member of the office staff may discuss the financial aspects of your treatment options, including costs and insurance coverage. They will explain how treatments are scheduled and answer other logistical questions you may have.

What Are Some of the Treatment Options for Varicose Veins and Spider Veins?

Depending on your diagnosis and the condition of your veins, your vein specialist may recommend some of the possibilities below.

Conservative Measures

Lifestyle changes can significantly decrease the symptoms of your vein disorder. Your vein specialist may recommend these conservative measures before pursuing other treatments: 

  • Avoiding sitting or standing for long periods
  • Elevating your legs when seated
  • Losing weight
  • Resting more often
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Walking daily
Sclerotherapy

Spider veins are often treated with sclerotherapy because it works well on small veins. The procedure involves injections of a chemical solution directly into the veins to make them collapse. After treatment, the spider veins gradually fade away and are reabsorbed into the body. Microfoam injections are a similar treatment effective on varicose veins.

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)

EVLA uses the heat of a laser to seal off larger varicose veins. Guided by ultrasound, the doctor inserts a thin laser fiber into the vein through a tiny incision or cut. Local anesthetic or numbing medicine is injected around the vein. The laser is activated, and the doctor slowly pulls the laser fiber out of the vein. The heat energy of the laser is applied evenly along the vein’s length. 

Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation

RF ablation is similar to EVLA, except it uses heat from radio waves instead of a laser. Both are forms of thermal or heat ablation. They offer a low risk of complications, a short recovery time, and a high success rate.

Microphlebectomy

A microphlebectomy procedure begins with a local anesthetic injected in the area to be treated to prevent discomfort during the treatment. The doctor makes small incisions in strategic locations and removes the problem veins through the incisions.

Cyanoacrylate (VenaSeal)

This procedure involves inserting a catheter or a thin tube into a varicose vein and sealing it with cyanoacrylate, a medical adhesive. Because the treatment does not require as many anesthetic injections, there are fewer side effects than some of the other treatment options.

Schedule a Consultation

Setting up your first appointment with a vein specialist gets you closer to getting a diagnosis and exploring the treatment options that can relieve your symptoms. Use My Vein Treatment’s vein specialist locator if you need help finding a vein specialist in your area.

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