Charlotte Radiology has been treating varicose and spider veins since 2001. Our physicians are subspecialized in vein and vascular diagnosis and treatments. We’ve teamed up with one of our expert radiologists to give you the facts on the subject. Vittorio Antonacci, MD is a Radiologist with Charlotte Radiology and is board-certified and subspecialized in Vascular & Interventional Radiology as well as Venous & Lymphatic Medicine. We’ve gone straight to the source to ask him the truth about common misconceptions around veins.
- Avoiding high heels can decrease my chances for getting vein disease
- While wearing shoes with an elevated heel won’t directly cause you to develop varicose veins, it can affect the blood flow to the calves and feet. When wearing shoes with an elevated heel, your foot stays in a flexed position. This interferes with the normal calf pump mechanism which helps blood pump back up to your heart. Over time, the increased pooling of blood in the veins can affect vein health in the legs.
- Crossing your legs can lead to spider and varicose veins
- It’s been validated by several large studies that crossing your legs does not cause varicose veins, however, prolonged sitting without a break can increase the amount of pressure you’re putting on your veins. Overtime, this can harm vein valves which help circulate blood throughout your body. It’s recommended to stand up or sit down for 5 minutes every hour if you are either on your feet or sitting for long periods of time.
- Varicose and spider veins are a part of getting older
- Contrary to popular belief, getting spider or varicose veins are not just for those who are older. Varicose veins are a result of damaged or weakened valves in the veins. The primary risk factor is genetics, with varicose vein disease often running in the family. In our outpatient office, the youngest patient presenting with varicose veins was 12 years old at the time they came in. In a hospital setting, our interventional radiologists will treat children and infants that are born with congenital varicose veins.
- Removing varicose veins requires invasive surgery
- 20-25 years ago, invasive surgery was the gold standard of treatment for veins. Over the last two decades with the advancements in technology and medicines, treatments have improved greatly. Most patients are able to be treated with minimally invasive techniques such as Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) which closes the problem veins internally without going ‘under the knife’.
- My varicose veins aren’t bulging or painful, so I don’t have to do anything about them
- Not necessarily. While the way veins look and the symptoms that can accompany them are often the reason our patients seek treatment, there are other physical signs of vein disease to consider. If you notice any skin changes, hair loss, or bleeding, you may want to schedule a consultation to learn more. Those symptoms can be signs of vein disease even if you have never experienced any pain in your legs.
- Only women get spider and varicose veins
- It’s true that varicose veins are much more common in women than men, however, we do see a large number of men in our office seeking vein treatment. Studies have shown that up to 25% of women and 15% of men are affected with varicose veins. If you are experiencing pain and swelling in your legs, we recommend coming to our office for an initial consult.
- There are natural remedies that can cure my varicose and spider veins
- While some supplements or natural remedies have reduced pain or inflammation from veins, none have been shown to cure the underlying venous disease or even significantly improve the appearance of bulging veins. Our doctors are specialized in vein and vascular treatments meaning we treat vein disease at its source. Instead of masking the pain, we can provide significant and lasting relief.
- If I get my veins treated, they will just keep coming back
- Not always the case. At Charlotte Radiology, our radiologists are experts at the vein and vascular systems and will discover the source of your vein disease. The top reason for patients who were previously treated at other centers and come to CR for additional treatments, is they haven’t had an extensive enough treatment plan to address all of the veins involved. It’s very important to pick the right center to provide the most comprehensive treatment based on an individual patient’s anatomy.
*New varicose veins can develop over time with unresolved risk factors such as obesity or recurrent pregnancies following treatment.
- If my legs feel heavy and painful but I don’t see any veins, it can’t be vein disease
- Visible varicose veins are a sign of vein disease, but heavy and painful legs are common presenting symptoms in patients who have pooling in superficial veins of the leg. Often visible varicose veins don’t develop until much later. Varicose veins can be present but hidden under the skin and only visible with ultrasound in certain patients with obesity or other health conditions.
- My spider veins are just a cosmetic issue
- Spider veins can be just a cosmetic issue in some patients. In many other patient’s, spider veins are a sign of more significant vein disease involving the larger superficial trunk veins. If you’re not sure if your spider veins are signs of something more, schedule a consultation. We evaluate patients in the office with ultrasound to get a better understanding of your anatomy.
Charlotte Radiology owns and operates 2 vein centers in the SouthPark and Lake Norman areas of Charlotte. Are you concerned that you or your patients may have vein disease? Schedule a consultation.