Varicose vein cure - when to be examined by a specialist?

a dr from Austin wrote a detailed answer to another question. I am confused about when veins should be examined by a specialist. I have large veins in upper calf of one leg that I am not sure are medical or cosmetic problem. my grandmother had veins that "broke through" her skin creating a "hole" In Her leg that required bandages. now I am concerned my veins may become a problem. I am not sure if I should be concerned.

Doctor Answers 8

Large veins

If your large veins are tortuous, they are certainly varicose veins and should be assessed by a vascular physician. If they are relatively straight, they might be only large normal veins (more common in men, or women lifting weights or working out a lot). An ultrasound doppler will show a reflux in those veins if they are incompetent (retrograde flow) .


Brisbane Physician

Large veins

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If your large veins are tortuous, they are certainly varicose veins and should be assessed by a vascular physician. If they are relatively straight, they might be only large normal veins (more common in men, or women lifting weights or working out a lot). An ultrasound doppler will show a reflux in those veins if they are incompetent (retrograde flow) .


Brisbane Physician

Varicose veins, Leg Swelling, Vein Treatment

Varicose veins are largely due to genetics, and can lead to problems.  Some of the issues many people do not even realize come from veins.  This includes leg swelling, cramps, achiness, heaviness, fatigue, hair loss in men, skin discoloration, as well as visible veins.

If you are having symptoms, I would recommend seeing a vein specialist for an ultrasound study and consult.  You may or may not need treatment right away.  If you just have ugly veins, but no symptoms, then these can be corrected with sclerotherapy or phlebectomy, depending on size.  Or at the least you can wear compression socks to help support the veins and slow down the progression.

With symptoms, most insurance companies including Medicare will pay for the vein treatments.  Again, find a specialist who does a comprehensive treatment plan.

Best of luck,

Dr. Powell

Varicose veins, Leg Swelling, Vein Treatment

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Varicose veins are largely due to genetics, and can lead to problems.  Some of the issues many people do not even realize come from veins.  This includes leg swelling, cramps, achiness, heaviness, fatigue, hair loss in men, skin discoloration, as well as visible veins.

If you are having symptoms, I would recommend seeing a vein specialist for an ultrasound study and consult.  You may or may not need treatment right away.  If you just have ugly veins, but no symptoms, then these can be corrected with sclerotherapy or phlebectomy, depending on size.  Or at the least you can wear compression socks to help support the veins and slow down the progression.

With symptoms, most insurance companies including Medicare will pay for the vein treatments.  Again, find a specialist who does a comprehensive treatment plan.

Best of luck,

Dr. Powell

Large veins

Many vein practices will offer a free screening to patients that are not sure if their problem is medical versus cosmetic.  This might be an option for you to determine if you need further evaluation or not.

Lisa Perez, MD
Atlanta Physician
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Large veins

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Many vein practices will offer a free screening to patients that are not sure if their problem is medical versus cosmetic.  This might be an option for you to determine if you need further evaluation or not.

Lisa Perez, MD
Atlanta Physician

When to seek a vein specialist?

Vein problems definitely have a genetic component and run in families.  Superficial veins are classified based on diameter. Veins smaller than 1 mm are called spider veins. Reticular veins are between 1-3 mm. Varicose veins are greater than 3 mm in diameter. You should be evaluated by a vein specialist and may need a venous ultrasound to help determine if you vein valves are dysfunctional. Lack of function of vein valves is called chronic venous insufficiency due to valvular reflux.

When to seek a vein specialist?

{{ voteCount >= 0 ? '+' + (voteCount + 1) : (voteCount + 1) }}

Vein problems definitely have a genetic component and run in families.  Superficial veins are classified based on diameter. Veins smaller than 1 mm are called spider veins. Reticular veins are between 1-3 mm. Varicose veins are greater than 3 mm in diameter. You should be evaluated by a vein specialist and may need a venous ultrasound to help determine if you vein valves are dysfunctional. Lack of function of vein valves is called chronic venous insufficiency due to valvular reflux.

Varicose Vein Treatment.

If you have varicose veins or a vein problem then you should see a vein specialist.  Varicose veins are progressive without treatment.  All you may require right now are support hose but you should have a venous evaluation to see the significance of your veins and whether or not they are strictly cosmetic.

John Landi, MD
Naples General Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 reviews

Varicose Vein Treatment.

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If you have varicose veins or a vein problem then you should see a vein specialist.  Varicose veins are progressive without treatment.  All you may require right now are support hose but you should have a venous evaluation to see the significance of your veins and whether or not they are strictly cosmetic.

John Landi, MD
Naples General Surgeon

When to seek evaluation for varicose veins

Seek consultation if you have symptoms: aching, pain, heaviness, tired legs, itching over veins (venous eczema), cramping legs, throbbing of the veins, ankle or leg swelling and/or discoloration of the skin (bronzing). 

If you have a family history of stasis ulcers, it is likely that you may develop such trophic skin changes if they are left untreated. 

We have an office in Santa Monica CA.

When to seek evaluation for varicose veins

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Seek consultation if you have symptoms: aching, pain, heaviness, tired legs, itching over veins (venous eczema), cramping legs, throbbing of the veins, ankle or leg swelling and/or discoloration of the skin (bronzing). 

If you have a family history of stasis ulcers, it is likely that you may develop such trophic skin changes if they are left untreated. 

We have an office in Santa Monica CA.

Family History

What you describe with your grandmother sounds like a venous ulcer which is an advance stage of Varicose Veins (venous insufficiency).  Varicose veins always represent an abnormal vein but they do not always cause symptoms. If the veins are large and you have a family history of varicose veins I would recommend seeing a specialist.  You may or may not need treatment but it is good to have a diagnosis. If needed, treating symptomatic Venous Insufficiency can prevent worsening complications of more advance disease that is often harder to treat. 

Family History

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What you describe with your grandmother sounds like a venous ulcer which is an advance stage of Varicose Veins (venous insufficiency).  Varicose veins always represent an abnormal vein but they do not always cause symptoms. If the veins are large and you have a family history of varicose veins I would recommend seeing a specialist.  You may or may not need treatment but it is good to have a diagnosis. If needed, treating symptomatic Venous Insufficiency can prevent worsening complications of more advance disease that is often harder to treat. 

Varicose veins and venous insufficiency

Superficial venous reflux happens when the valves that maintain blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart no longer function. This causes the blood to pool in the legs and one of the signs is varicose veins or as you mentioned large veins among other signs and symptoms. Venous insufficiency is hereditary, your grandmother probably had a venous ulcer complication from venous insufficiency, and it would be wise for you to visit a vein specialist so he/she can examine your veins. A lower extremity venous ultrasound will confirm what is happening in your venous circulation and that way the specialist can manage your care and options to treatments to prevent any future complications.  

Varicose veins and venous insufficiency

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Superficial venous reflux happens when the valves that maintain blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart no longer function. This causes the blood to pool in the legs and one of the signs is varicose veins or as you mentioned large veins among other signs and symptoms. Venous insufficiency is hereditary, your grandmother probably had a venous ulcer complication from venous insufficiency, and it would be wise for you to visit a vein specialist so he/she can examine your veins. A lower extremity venous ultrasound will confirm what is happening in your venous circulation and that way the specialist can manage your care and options to treatments to prevent any future complications.  

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.