All posts by Dr. Kamran Afzal

What is Sclerotherapy?

You’ve probably heard of varicose veins, spider veins, or bulging veins. You might even have them and may be well aware of the discomfort they cause. They’re a relatively common vascular condition that affects between 20 and 40 million Americans.

You may not have heard of sclerotherapy, however. If you have spider veins or varicose veins, this is a word you should learn. It’s an effective, quick, mostly painless procedure that has immediate results. Your visible and not-yet-visible bulging or purple veins will be a thing of the past after sclerotherapy treatment.

Twin Cities-area residents are lucky to have a highly-trained doctor close by who is skilled in sclerotherapy. Dr. Afzal at Metro Vein Clinic performs more than 25,000 sclerotherapy injections every year to help people relieve their vascular problems. Before you decide whether sclerotherapy is for you, it’s important to know what it is, how it works, and how much it costs.

What is Sclerotherapy?

In simple terms, sclerotherapy is a simple, in-office medical procedure to treat spider veins, bulging veins, or varicose veins. A trained physician injects a solution directly into the diseased veins, sometimes using ultrasound to guide them. The solution irritates the problematic veins, causing them to collapse and the blood within them to clot.

Don’t worry though, your body is ready for sections of veins to collapse. Blood flow reroutes around the closed veins. They fade to scar tissue, and the visible signs of the varicose or spider veins disappear. Your blood only flows through healthy, non-varicose veins.

The word sclerotherapy itself is somewhat daunting to read or pronounce. “Sklair-oh-thair-uh-pea” is a good approximation. “Sclero” is a Greek prefix that means “hard” or “hardened.”

The injected solution is a sclerosing, or hardening solution, which causes the problematic veins to collapse or close up and turn to scar tissue. With the blood flow diverted, the veins no longer have pressure, and you can no longer see them through your skin. Presto. The results are instantaneous and get even better over time as your body reabsorbs the vein.

How Long Does Sclerotherapy Take?

The exact duration of your sclerotherapy session will depend on the extent of your damaged veins and how close to the surface they are. Usually, the procedure is complete within a couple of hours. You can go back to work on the same day if you choose. Patients experience minimal downtime, although doctors do ask that you avoid aerobic activity such as dancing or running for a few days after treatment.

How Effective is Sclerotherapy?

Sclerotherapy treatment is performed in a sterile setting in your doctor’s office or outpatient clinic. Your doctor will use local anesthesia at the injection sites to make you more comfortable. Sclerotherapy has been around since the 1930s and is proven effective for treating varicose veins.

Sclerotherapy is effective when used on the entire length of a diseased vein. So your doctor uses many small injections to close it one section at a time. A typical sclerotherapy session can include between 10 and 60 injections. Physicians often treat the entire leg in a single course to optimize results.

Most sclerotherapy addresses visible veins, which is probably what brought you to the doctor in the first place. Sometimes, however, deeper veins have disease but are not visible through the skin. They can still create problems such as leg pain and pressure or can cause adjacent veins to fail.

In these cases, your doctor will do echosclerotherapy which is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. The doctor uses the ultrasound to guide them to the injection site as well as to monitor the vein after injecting the solution. Traditional treatment for these deeper veins often requires invasive surgery, so the ultrasound-assisted sclerotherapy is a welcome, less-intrusive option.

Sclerotherapy is a permanent solution. The closed veins never become problems again. However, sclerotherapy cannot prevent new spider or varicose veins from developing in the future. If you are already prone to the disease, new bulging veins may develop.

They can also occur with pregnancy or significant weight gain. If new spider or varicose veins do appear later, you can do sclerotherapy again.

How Does Sclerotherapy Help?

Sclerotherapy is both a medical and a cosmetic procedure. Of course, it improves the look and feel of your legs by getting rid of the bulges and visible purple areas. Your legs will be smooth and flawless following sclerotherapy treatment.

Treating varicose or spider veins is more than simply cosmetic, however. After sclerotherapy, you’ll typically find relief from:

  • Aches and pains in your legs
  • Leg pressure and swelling
  • Burning sensation in your legs
  • Night cramps in your legs

After sclerotherapy, you will likely experience some mild bruising or discomfort that may last for a few days. In rare cases, people experience more severe side effects, such as blood clotting or an allergic reaction. Your doctor will stay in touch after the treatment to monitor your progress.

How Much Does Sclerotherapy Cost?

Your health insurance may cover sclerotherapy if it is necessary for medical reasons, rather than for cosmetic purposes. Even if insurance does not cover it, sclerotherapy is an affordable treatment for varicose or spider veins.

The actual cost for your specific treatment will vary, depending on the number and severity of your affected veins, as well as how close to the surface they are. However, there are some figures from 2017 that give you a ballpark idea. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, the average cost of a single sclerotherapy session is between $322 and $369.

Metro Vein Clinic Will Banish Your Spider Veins

Contact the professionals at Metro Vein Clinic to get more information about sclerotherapy and how it can eliminate your painful and unsightly varicose or spider veins. Dr. Afzal will evaluate your veins and determine if you are a candidate. At that time you will receive a specific quote for your treatment. Dr. Afzal has done tens of thousands of sclerotherapy treatments. He and the staff at Metro Vein Clinic are waiting to help you, too.

Traveling Tips to Reduce Your Risk of DVT

We are getting closer to summer which means people are planning their vacations and where they will visit this summer. Traveling is an exciting, albeit hectic, time.

Whether you are traveling by car, plane, bus, or train, there are a few things you should be aware of during your trip. Deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, is a very real risk that affects thousands of people every year.

At Metro Vein Clinic, we know that you don’t want to be slowed down by something like DVT. Call us today and see how we can treat or help prevent a case of DVT in yourself or a loved one if you plan on traveling this summer.

What is Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis, DVT, happens when a blood clot develops in a deep vein in the body. Most times, this occurs when your blood thickens and then forms a clump. Typically, these blood clots happen in your thigh or lower leg. On rare occasions, they can develop in other areas of your body.

People often ask us, “Can blood clots kill?” The answer is yes, in certain situations. The clot on its own is not necessarily dangerous, but you do need to treat it immediately. The major risk with DVT is when a portion of the clot fractures off and makes it way to the lungs. If the part of the clot, or embolus, lodges in the lungs, it will block blood flow. This condition is called a pulmonary embolism.

A pulmonary embolism is extremely dangerous. If the blockage is not dealt with promptly, permanent damage can occur in the lungs and other organs. In severe cases, the obstruction is fatal.

Blood clots that form in the thighs are more likely to break apart and cause a pulmonary embolism than clots in other sections of the body.

What Causes Deep Vein Thrombosis?

There are a variety of DVT risk factors. If you have had a recent injury, there may be damage in the veins as a result of the trauma or even from the process of healing. There are also chemical and biological factors that might result in damage to the interior lining of the veins in your legs.

If you have had surgery or a serious injury, be sure your doctor is monitoring you for deep vein thrombosis. Inflammation and immune response are other issues that can lead to blood clots.

If there are times where blood flow slows down, diminishes, or is sluggish, blood clots can form. Typically, people who have lower body surgery, or any serious operation that requires a period of rest are at risk for developing DVT.

Furthermore, if you are traveling for an extended period and are not able to get up and move, you have a higher chance of developing blood clots.

If your blood is thicker, or you have a blood clotting problem, you should be vigilant in watching for signs of DVT. Some genetic conditions can make both of these issues more likely.

Certain drugs, like hormone therapy or birth control pills, can also increase your chances of blood clots.

Unfortunately, sometimes blood clots form for no known reason. In spite of decades of research, much of biology remains a mystery.

Risk Factors for Deep Vein Thrombosis

Certain medical and lifestyle situations can increase your chances of developing deep vein thrombosis.

  • A previous occurrence of DVT makes it likely you will develop it again.
  • Pregnancy and delivery leave you at risk of DVT for six weeks after giving birth.
  • Recent or current treatment for cancer raises your chance of developing DVT.
  • Recent or consistent catheter use places you at higher risk of DVT.
  • Being over the age of 60 and being overweight are factors for DVT as well.

If you have any of the issues mentioned above, either medicines, surgery, injuries, or biological factors, be aware that you have a significant chance of blood clots. The more DVT risk factors you have, the higher your risk for developing the condition.

How to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis During Travel

While it is hard to prevent some of the causes of DVT, there are things you can do to ward it off during travel. First, and most important, is to keep moving. Every time you can get up and move around, do it. On a flight, take frequent walks up and down the aisle. On car trips, stop regularly and walk for ten minutes.

If you are unable to move around, do some leg exercises at your seat. Curl your toes up, then press them down. Do leg lifts by slowly raising and lowering your legs in a controlled manner. These motions will increase blood flow in your legs.

Next, make sure you hydrate adequately. Drink fluids every chance you get, even if it makes you need to use the restroom more often. Bathroom breaks will at least ensure that you get a chance to stretch your legs periodically. Steer clear of coffee and alcohol as they can dehydrate you.

When you are sitting, do not cross your legs or wear socks with constricting elastic bands. Wearing compression stockings can also decrease your risk of developing DVT. If you are concerned with how they look, wear them under long pants or a pair of loose-fitting socks.

Call Metro Vein Clinic Today

If you plan on traveling this summer or have any of the risk factors for deep vein thrombosis, call the experienced staff at Metro Vein Clinic today. We can treat DVT with medication before it escalates into a significant health problem. If you think you have DVT, call us today and schedule an appointment.

We have years of experience and are one of the highest-rated vein clinics in the Twin Cities. Whether you are suffering from spider or varicose veins, restless leg syndrome, leg ulcers, or anything in between, we have the expertise to treat you efficiently and safely.

When you call, you will work with the most helpful staff in the industry. The team will walk you through the process of scheduling an appointment and dealing with insurance. Call us today at 612-789-8346 and see how we can make sure your veins get and stay healthy.

Spider Vein Removal Treatments

If you are a woman of a certain age, you most likely have heard of spider veins. It’s possible you might even have some. Spider veins are not unique to women, however. They affect men and women alike.

If you have spider veins, you probably shy away from wearing shorts even when it is hot. You might not feel comfortable in a bathing suit, either. Thankfully, some treatments can diminish the appearance of spider veins. Sometimes treatment can make spider veins nearly invisible.

At Metro Vein Clinic, Dr. Afzal has spent years treating vein conditions. With three convenient locations in the Minneapolis area, you are not far from relief. Call today and set up your first consultation.

What are Spider Veins?

varicose veins in women

Spider veins and varicose veins are often confused. Both have to do with discolored or enlarged veins, typically on the legs and feet. However, spider veins and varicose veins can appear in other areas of the body.

Spider veins are generally smaller than varicose veins. They will display as thin red lines under the surface of the skin. People describe spider veins as looking like spider webs. Each of these lines is a blood vessel.

Spider veins are most often harmless and rarely pose a serious risk. Some people report slight pain, aching, or burning after standing for a long time.

Spider Vein Treatment Options

While there are several different treatment options available, the primary spider vein treatment is sclerotherapy. Other options include laser surgery, massage therapy, or compression socks.

With sclerotherapy, a doctor injects the affected vein with a solution. This solution causes the damaged vein to scar and close up. This closure forces the blood to find a new route through vessels that are healthier.

After a couple of weeks, the treated veins will show signs of improvement. The red and blue veins fade, and the skin should look normal again. Sometimes, a particular area will require more than one injection. However, sclerotherapy is very effective when done correctly.

Sclerotherapy is a low-risk spider vein treatment. A doctor can perform this treatment in the office with no anesthesia and little or no downtime for you. Potential side effects can include swelling, itching, and skin discoloration in the injected area.

Some doctors choose to utilize laser surgery to treat spider veins. In this method, a laser will pulse bursts of light in the affected vein. This light treatment makes the blood vessel return to the normal color and disappear from sight.

While laser surgery does not require needles or incisions, many professionals see laser therapy as less effective than sclerotherapy. The side effects of laser surgery may include redness, bruising, swelling, itching, and discoloration of the skin around the therapy sight.

Typically, blood vessels will take a couple of months to fade. Sometimes, they do not disappear completely, and you still will notice slight discoloration. There is always the chance new spider veins can appear in a similar area, as well.

Why Get Rid of Spider Veins?

There are many benefits to receiving spider vein treatments. First, and most noticeable to many people, are the physical benefits. You will no longer have red or blue lines throughout your legs. Your legs will look healthier and feel better as well.

The procedures are simple and very common. The methods for treating spider veins are state of the art and happen thousands of times a day across the country. With low risk and little downtime, there is no reason to wait.

What to Expect?

At Metro Vein Clinic, Dr. Afzal has performed more than 100,000 injections. He has devoted his career to treating vein problems for patients throughout Minneapolis. You can feel comfortable receiving spider vein treatment from Dr. Afzal.

After your initial consultation, sclerotherapy treatment will begin on the affected area. All procedures occur in the clinic in a sterile environment. General anesthesia is not necessary, so you receive only local anesthesia. Our patients often return to work the same day.

During the procedure, the doctor injects a solution into the diseased vein. Because spider veins are visible to the naked eye, doctors don’t need to rely on ultrasound images during the procedure. The solution irritates the damaged veins, causing them to collapse. Your body reroutes the blood through healthier veins. Your body eventually will absorb the closed vessels.

During one sclerotherapy session, the patient receives anywhere from ten to thirty injections. When necessary to treat a diseased vein properly, Dr. Afzal has done up to sixty injections in a single session. There is no prescribed number of doses as each patient is different, and each spider vein is unique.

Patients might experience some bruising or aching after the procedure. There are some uncommon side effects like allergic reactions, ulcers, or blood clots. However, these are extremely rare. At Metro Vein Clinic there has never been an allergic reaction, and side effects occur in fewer than .01% of cases. This rate is much lower than the national average.

Call Metro Vein Clinic Today

clinic reception desk, she is answering phone and making notes

If you are seeking treatment for spider vein removal, call Metro Vein Clinic today at 612-789-8346. We are ready to help you have healthy and beautiful legs again.

Metro Vein Clinic has served the Twin City area for more than seven years. Our physicians have a combined 75 years of experience. Our patients leave our office satisfied, and their reviews speak for themselves. Our Facebook and Google reviews elaborate on the incredible care our patients receive and how happy they are with the treatments.

For the convenience of our patients, we offer Saturday appointments. We know life is busy, and Metro Vein Clinic wants to ensure we are available when you are. We also have patient care coordinators that will walk you through the steps to deal with insurance and HSA.

At Metro Vein Clinic, our goal is to make the process as easy and comfortable as possible. Call us today and set up your first appointment. Healthy legs free of spider veins are in your near future.

Top 5 Symptoms of Circulation Issues

Thousands of people in the United States deal with circulation issues every day. Poor circulation can cause numbness, fatigue, pain, and cold hands and feet. If left untreated, poor circulation issues can lead to varicose veins, phlebitis, deep vein thrombosis, and leg ulcers. Additionally, poor circulation can be a sign of a more severe health problem, such as cardiovascular issues, scleroderma, or diabetes.

Poor circulation generally results from a blocked or narrowed blood vessel. Hypertension, diabetes, thyroid disease, and obesity can lead to circulation issues, as can poor health habits such as smoking, excess drinking, bad diet, and lack of exercise. People who sit for long periods in the same position can also develop poor circulation.

Many of the symptoms of circulatory problems are easy to overlook or to be mistaken for something else. But these symptoms should not be ignored. Circulation issues should be taken seriously and justify a visit to your doctor. There may be some simple steps you can take to improve your circulation, or you may discover a deeper issue that requires medical treatment. You owe it to yourself to pay attention to your circulatory system.

At Metro Vein Clinic, we specialize in treatable conditions that often arise from or are exacerbated by circulation issues. These include varicose veins, leg ulcers, and phlebitis. As you improve your circulation, these issues don’t always clear up on their own, and that is where we can help. We are also here to help diagnose and make recommendations to treat circulation issues.

What are some signs that you have poor circulation symptoms? There are quite a few, but there are five main symptoms that are cause for concern.

5. Numbness

If you have “pins and needles” in your limbs, especially in your feet and hands, then you may have circulation issues. The numbness and tingling are caused by restricted blood flow. The circulatory system has to work the hardest when taking blood to the extremities, so this is where circulation problems tend to show up first.

4. Joint Pain and Cramping

In addition to numbness and tingling, circulation issues can cause pain in your arms, hands, legs, and feet. They may ache or throb, especially as blood flow returns. It often worsens if you have been sitting or standing for long periods. Cramps in your feet and calves are also signs of poor circulation. The lack of oxygen and nutrients from the improperly circulating blood is the cause of this stiffness and cramping.

3. Swelling in the Lower Extremities

 

Leg of diseased patient who suffers from Edema.

Fluid accumulating in certain areas of the body is a symptom of poor circulation. This fluid buildup is called edema, and it most often occurs in your legs, ankles, and feet but can also be in your hands. Edema is caused by pressure from improper circulation, forcing fluid from nearby blood vessels into the surrounding tissue.

All of the following symptoms can be signs of edema:

  • tight, warm skin
  • stiff joints
  • a feeling of heaviness
  • visible swelling
  • pain in the affected area
  • an indentation remains when you push on the swollen skin

An early sign of developing edema is when your jewelry gets too tight, or when socks and shoes no longer fit or leave visible marks.

2. Skin Discoloration

A sure sign of poor circulation is a change in the color of your skin, especially in your extremities. When insufficient blood reaches your body’s tissues due to poor circulation, the skin may appear pale or even blue. If blood is leaking from your capillaries, the skin may appear purple. Skin discoloration is most noticeable in the ears, lips, nose, nipples, hands, and feet.

1. Cold Hands and Feet

The number one symptom of poor circulation is feeling cold, especially when others do not. In particular, people with circulation issues tend to have cold toes, feet, hands, and fingers. You may have heard your grandma use the aphorism, “Cold hands, warm heart.” While that may be true metaphorically, it’s not true medically. It would be better stated, “Cold hands, overworked heart.” Cold hands are a sign of circulation issues because the reduced blood flow to your extremities makes them much colder than the rest of your body. Cold fingers and toes mean that your blood is not flowing at a healthy rate, creating temperature fluctuations in the skin and the nerve endings, leading to the numbness and tingling we discussed above.

How Can I Improve My Circulation?

couple hiking on path in forest with walking sticks

If you’ve been wondering how to improve circulation in your body, here are some tips we have found to help our patients.

Exercise is your best friend when it comes to improving your circulation. Sitting at a desk all day, only getting up for bathroom breaks or lunch, is not helping your circulation issues. You need to get up and get moving. While cardiovascular exercise is great, your activity does not need to be strenuous to improve your circulation. A brisk walk, housecleaning, grocery shopping, or some yard work are all ways you can get your heart pumping and your circulation moving.

Some people find improvement by adding fish oil or other omega-3 supplements to their daily regimen. Vitamin B and magnesium supplements have been shown to improve circulation as well. If you’re cold all the time, consider using a heated blanket, heating pad, or hot water bottle to warm yourself up. An under-desk space heater may also be a good solution.

Seek Diagnosis and Treatment

If you’re experiencing poor circulation symptoms, don’t put off seeing a doctor. At Metro Vein Clinic, we will evaluate your limbs and listen to your testimony to screen you for circulation issues. We can make recommendations for specific treatments, and we can assist you with vascular problems that arise from or are made worse by circulation issues.

Contact us today at 612.789.8346 or email us at hello@metroveinmn.com. We proudly serve Edina, Fridley, Burnsville, and the entire Twin Cities area.

We are your partner in improving your circulation and your quality of life. We look forward to speaking with you and helping you feel better today.

Current Treatment for Leg Ulcers

Do you suffer from leg ulcers? A leg ulcer is a symptom of severe varicose vein disease and results from veins not returning blood to the heart correctly. Leg ulcers can be quite painful and usually show up around your feet or ankles. The resulting sores can affect the skin and cause it to bleed or deteriorate. Left untreated, leg ulcers may turn into a severe problem.

While a leg ulcer may be indicative of vein disease, it is also a potentially painful and worrisome condition that requires medical attention. A leg ulcer can develop into a painful sore and leave you in discomfort.

You don’t have to live with leg ulcers. Leg ulcer treatment is advancing and is less invasive than you might think.  Through treatment, your leg ulcers can heal, and varicose veins can close. By increasing blood flow, treatments can effectively reduce symptoms and close varicose veins.

If you are wondering what type of leg ulcer treatment is available for you, the Metro Vein Clinic can provide you with outpatient treatment options that can fit your schedule and are completely customizable for your needs. With state-of-the-art treatments, you’ll be back to doing the things you love in no time. Metro Vein Clinic can treat your leg ulcer in several different ways and provide the healing you need.

The options we have for treating your leg ulcers will ensure that you don’t have to worry about invasive or time-consuming procedures to feel better. The current choices for leg ulcer treatment are practical and comfortable. A doctor can help you determine the right course of action.

Compression Bandages

Woman bandages leg with elastic bandage against varicose veins

Once your leg ulcer is clean, and a dressing is in place, a compression sock will help promote blood flow from the legs back to the heart. There are different compression stockings available that will fit your style and needs. Knee high, waist high, and even maternity compression stockings are available, depending on your needs.

Compression legwear is a simple way to get the blood flowing to the heart and heal your leg ulcer. By keeping a clean dressing on the wound and changing it weekly, while also wearing a compression sock, you will help the sore to heal.

Compression legwear effectively promotes treatment for varicose veins and leg ulcers and also has other benefits such as improving circulation and blood flow.

Radiofrequency Ablation Vein Treatment

Radiofrequency ablation vein treatment uses heat to close the walls of varicose veins, which in turn reroutes blood to the existing healthy veins. This state-of-the-art treatment is minimally invasive and occurs in the doctor’s office.

This procedure has very few side effects and will leave you able to complete your daily activities. You will experience very little discomfort with this procedure.  

Echo Sclerotherapy Vein Treatment

An effective alternative to surgical vein stripping is echo sclerotherapy, which injects foam or liquid into the veins. A doctor monitors this process by ultrasound, allowing them to see and treat veins that are below the surface.

The ultrasound allows a doctor to administer medicine to varicose veins to close and eliminate them, even when they are not easily visible on the skin’s surface.

Visual Echo Sclerotherapy

Spider veins on female leg with injection syringe

Visual echo sclerotherapy is much like echo sclerotherapy but does not use ultrasound. As the name implies, this treatment is for varicose veins that are visible on the skin’s surface, thus not requiring an ultrasound.

Doctors use a needle to inject a chemical solution into damaged veins, causing them to collapse. Blood then reroutes to healthy veins and back to the heart. The collapsed veins then absorb back into the body, which reduces the appearance of “spider veins.”

After Treatment Care

After you receive treatment for your leg ulcer, it is essential to take care of yourself to promote quick and effective healing. Staying active can help ensure proper circulation. Walking and exercising your legs will help you heal and prevent future issues.  

Be sure to elevate your leg when you are sitting or lying down. Not smoking, keeping a healthy weight and diet, and reducing alcohol intake will also promote healing of your leg ulcer.

Following up with your healthcare provider is also important. They will determine how your healing is progressing, and assess any need for further care. Once your leg ulcer heals, you may want to continue using compression legwear to help prevent future leg ulcers and other circulatory and vein related issues.

When To Seek Help

If you are experiencing “spider veins” that you can see, venous stasis, varicose veins, leg ulcers, or restless leg syndrome, you can reach out to the Metro Vein Clinic for a consultation to assess your vein condition and plan a course of treatment.

Your noticeable vein condition may be a serious health risk and not just a cosmetic inconvenience. In either case, Metro Vein Clinic can assist you in treatment and in identifying your condition.

Metro Vein Clinic Is Here To Help

If you are looking for outpatient leg ulcer treatment that you can trust to be minimally invasive but highly effective, Metro Vein Clinic is here to provide you with safe treatment options. With expertise and experience, Metro Vein Clinic will select a treatment that best suits your condition and will help your leg ulcer heal effectively.

You don’t have to live with painful or unsightly leg ulcers. You don’t have to worry about invasive treatments that will prevent you from going about your daily life, either. Metro Vein Clinic is here to provide state-of-the-art treatment and solutions for your leg ulcer and varicose vein needs.

Metro Vein Clinic is committed to treating your leg ulcers and other vein related health concerns with care, knowledge, and expertise. Contact us today for a free screening appointment, and let us help you with your leg ulcers, varicose veins, spider veins, and more.

Start living your best life and stop letting your varicose veins and leg ulcers keep you from the things you enjoy. Treatment is easier than you may think and will have you feeling and looking better while avoiding invasive procedures.

Max out Medical Expense Deductions With Vein Treatment

It’s almost the end of the year, which means you only have a little bit of time to max out your medical expense deductions. If you are not tracking how much you are spending on medical expenses, you could be missing out on money in the form of tax breaks.

If you want to save money during tax season in a few months, read on to learn how to max out your medical expenses. Call the friendly staff at Metro Vein Clinic, too. There are experts on hand to walk you through how and when to file insurance claims.

How to Max Out Medical Expense Deductions

Hand writing co-payment on tablet.

Even though taxes aren’t due for several months still, it is essential to think ahead. There are certain things you can do to ensure you get the most money back.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the cost of health care rises every year. In 2017, household spending on health care was at $4,928—up nearly seven percent from 2016. American families are spending more and more on health care every year. It is wise to take advantage of tax breaks aimed at saving you money.

The most important thing to note with tax deductions is that the base percent is expected to rise next year. For 2018, it’s permissible to deduct medical expenses that are above 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. In 2019, that percentage will increase to 10%. The House passed a bill to extend the 7.5%, but it isn’t likely to get through the Senate.

So, if you itemize your deductions, and you have more considerable medical expenses, you will want to take advantage of what little time you have left in 2018. If you can accelerate scheduling and get things done in 2018 instead of 2019, you can save money. You will have to pay the bill in 2018 to take advantage of this.

Only medical expenses that are not reimbursed are eligible. So, if you use a flexible savings account or a health savings account to pay for the procedures, they will not qualify. However, many other medical expenses are eligible, including co-pays, co-insurance payments, dental work, travels costs for health care, and most insurance premiums.

A helpful hint: you can count any money you pay in 2018 towards the medical expense deduction, even if the procedure or treatment is not until 2019. This includes January premiums. You can also include any medical expenses you pay for a non-dependent, like an elderly parent.

What Are Spider Veins and Varicose Veins?

Spider veins and varicose veins are ultimately damaged veins. These damaged veins occur when small valves inside the veins become weak. In a normally operating vein, blood is pushed back to the heart through these valves.

However, in weakened valves, all the blood is not pushed to the heart, so it flows backward. When this blood isn’t able to be forced to the heart, it accumulates in the vein and pools. This extra blood creates pressure inside the vein.

As more and more blood pools in the vein, the vein will begin to bulge. Over time, we see these growing veins, also known as spider veins or varicose veins.

Many people get these unsightly veins. If you have family members with either of these, you are more likely to get them yourself. If you sit or stand for long periods for many days during the week, you are likely to get varicose or spider veins. If you are or have been pregnant or have other hormone fluctuations, you are a higher risk. As you age, spider and varicose veins become more likely. Prolonged exposure to sunlight or injuries to your legs could cause damaged veins, as well.

What is Vein Treatment?

Adult woman legs with varicose veins on dark background

If you have spider or varicose veins, there are some things you can do at home that might help. There are also medical procedures a professional can perform to ease the discomfort of these veins.

When you are at home, elevate your legs to decrease blood flow to the damaged veins. Do not sit or stand for long periods, and take a brief walk every 30 minutes or so. Also, avoid long, hot baths.

Compression stockings will apply pressure to your legs throughout the day. This pressure will help the blood to flow back to your heart. It can also reduce swelling in your legs. All these tips will help prevent future varicose or spider veins, but will not fully heal existing ones.

A medical professional can use a vein treatment technique called sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy is a safe and effective treatment method in which a doctor injects a chemical into the affected vein. This chemical agitates the wall of the vein, causing the walls to stick together. This should improve circulation.

After treatment, doctors encourage massage and compression stockings. Spider veins should diminish in three to six weeks. Varicose veins take a little longer to heal but usually disappear in three to four months. Often, more than one treatment is needed, though.

Endovenous laser therapy and radiofrequency ablation are also available. While slightly more invasive, both these methods have great results. A medical professional uses local anesthesia to numb the treatment area. They make a small incision to insert a laser fiber or catheter into the vein. The vein is heated, which will cause it to collapse and close. You will need compression stockings for a period after treatment.

Why Should I Get Vein Treatment?

The old age and sick of a woman. Varicose veins on a legs of woman.

Spider veins and varicose veins aren’t just unsightly; they can be uncomfortable or downright painful. Beyond the discomfort, you might be at a higher risk for health complications, like blood clots or open sores.

Getting vein treatment will improve your quality of life. Not only will your legs look better, but you also will not have the negative symptoms of spider and varicose veins anymore. Say goodbye to pain and fatigue!

To get the best treatment available, call the experts at Metro Vein Clinic. They have the experience you need at the affordable prices you want. The friendly staff will work with you to ensure you have the best possible scheduling, and that you are paying what you should. Leave the insurance questions to them. Call Metro Vein Clinic today.

6 Reasons to Give the Gift of Med Spa

We all want to look our best, feel attractive, and age gracefully. With the gift of a med spa certificate, you can give a loved one the ability to turn back time, contour their body, erase wrinkles, or clear up acne. You’re giving the gift of health and beauty, along with boosted confidence and self-esteem.

At Metro Vein Clinic and Med Spa, we know how important your appearance is to your mental and physical health. For years, we have been helping clients feel better about themselves with quick results. When you give the gift of a med spa session, you’re giving options for someone to control their appearance and achieve lasting results.

Here are six reasons to give the gift of med spa sessions to help you understand why this choice will be well-received for any gift-giving occasion.

1. Safe, Professional Treatment

Women resting and receiving facial spa treatment

Many people give spa treatments such as a facial or massages as gifts. These are lovely retreats and pampering sessions that show you care, but they do not achieve anything beyond the comfort of the session. A medical spa combines cosmetic treatment with medical knowledge to create visible results.

Choose a med spa that has a physician on site at all times and who trains their aestheticians with the latest techniques to maximize comfort. Med spas can do more than relieve muscle tension and exfoliate dead skin cells. With ingredients and procedures only available to board-certified doctors, a med spa treatment can make real changes to your skin and body.

2. Clear Up Acne

Some people are lucky enough only to have an occasional pimple. Others struggle with significant and recurring acne, eczema, or other dermatological issues. A med spa treatment can lead to the immediately visible clearing of acne, and the medications we have available can help keep it at bay. Although acne is most common in adolescence, many people deal with it throughout their lives. Acne often responds better to combination therapy, including the laser treatments and medical-grade peels a med spa offers.

3. Give a Loved One the Incentive They Need

Middle aged woman looking at wrinkles in mirror.

If someone you love has spoken about wanting to try a medical spa treatment but hasn’t yet had the courage to make the appointment, you’ll be helping them with their wish fulfillment. It can be hard for many people to justify the expense for their personal appearance and well-being. A lot of those conversations about the med spa treatments may be subtle hints that they would like to try them out. You can give them their chance. Plus, you’ll have removed the cost barrier, too. They deserve this gift, and now have the funds to spend on themselves.

4. You Don’t Have to Know

When you give someone a med spa gift certificate, you don’t have to know what treatment they choose when they arrive. The person can still have their little secret about how they look younger, more rejuvenated, or slimmer. A med spa gift certificate says, “Go do something just for you; no one has to know.” You’re giving them the opportunity to indulge in something that will help them look and feel more comfortable and confident.

5. The Opportunity to Turn Back Time

Let’s face it. Aging is no picnic. It can be difficult to look in the mirror and not recognize the face looking back as it loses its fullness and elasticity. If you’ve ever seen your friend Google “med spas near me” or heard a loved one mention wrinkles, crow’s feet, smile lines, bags under the eyes, or other common complaints, it’s likely they are struggling with the effects of aging and would appreciate a med spa treatment. The gift of med spa lets them know you’ve been listening, and that you’re opening a door for them if they want to walk through it.

6. A Gift that Keeps on Giving

Unlike single-night outings like gift certificates to restaurants, concerts, professional sporting events, theatre, or movies, a med spa gift provides lasting benefits for as much as a year or 18 months, depending on the treatment. A single injection of juvéderm, radiesse, or Restylane® provides immediately noticeable changes and continues to do so for months following treatment. It takes time for your body to break down the materials in dermal fillers, so the results last.

Furthermore, many of these treatments stimulate your body’s production of collagen, increasing their effectiveness. Finally, you receive a detailed analysis of your skin as part of your treatment. This information will help you create a plan for maintaining healthy and beautiful skin, letting you look and feel younger and more vibrant.

But Isn’t It Rude to Tell Someone They Need to Go to a Med Spa?

Spa. Pretty woman enjoying anti-aging facial massage

Some people worry that giving a certificate for med spa treatments will be perceived as telling a loved one that you wish they looked different. Worrying about how a med spa, gym membership, or another gift will be received is normal and shows how much you care. No one wants to give a gift that says, “Change to please me!” Fortunately, that’s not the message you’re sending with a med spa gift.

A med spa gift certificate is never about you, the gift-giver. It’s always about the loved one. Many people, women, in particular, are socially conditioned to make sacrifices and not to spend money and time on themselves. And if they have a family, it can be hard to justify the expense for personal appearance when there always seems to be another need in the budget.

Simultaneously, we are bombarded with advertisements for cosmetics and creams to help us look younger and be attractive to others. It can be overwhelming and expensive to receive these mixed messages. Purchasing many cosmetic products with the hope that you will see and feel a difference can be disappointing as well as costly.

Unlike some creams and supplements, med spa treatments do what they promise. They produce real results that make people feel good about themselves and their appearance. They feel a bit indulgent, which makes them perfect as gifts for someone you care about. They boost confidence, esteem, and happiness.

At Metro Vein Clinic and Med Spa, you’ll speak directly with one of our certified aestheticians when you call, and our doctor is always available to supervise procedures, giving you peace of mind. Contact us today and let us help you surprise your loved one with the gift of med spa sessions.

How to Find the Right Doctor for Your Veins

Choosing a partner for your health care is an important decision. As medical specialization increases, more often than not you have a team of doctors as part of your health and wellness. If you have a good relationship with your general practitioner—and you can get a prompt appointment to be seen—you can ask them for recommendations for other physicians and healthcare providers. But even then, it helps to have a general understanding of the types of doctors and what they do.

If you have unsightly or painful varicose veins or suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome, you may be searching for a doctor who can help relieve your symptoms. Did you know there are several types of doctors and healthcare providers who specialize in vein care? Here at Metro Vein Clinic, we want you to be informed about the health professionals who will take care of you. Let’s take a look at several vein doctors who may make good partners in your care.

Types of Vein Doctors

Phlebologist

A phlebologist is a doctor who takes care of veins. They are board-certified general practitioners who have also received training in vascular issues and minimally invasive vein treatment. The American Board of Phlebology was established in 2007 and helps oversee these vein doctors and their practices. Don’t be confused between a phlebologist, or a vein doctor, and a phlebotomist, which is someone who is certified to draw blood. They share the same root, phleb, which means vein.

Interventional Radiologist

Relatively new to the medical field, an interventional radiologist specializes in minimally-invasive procedures to diagnose and help treat diseases throughout the body, including veins. IRs use images created from x-rays or other radiation to see inside the body and guide procedures without making large incisions. These procedures have less pain, less overall risk, and lower recovery times compared to open surgeries. These vein doctors often use endovenous laser ablation treatment (EVLT) to treat vein issues, a technique that is guided by x-ray imagery.

Vein Specialist

A “vein specialist” is an umbrella term for a group of doctors, usually cardiologists, dermatologists, and interventional radiologists, who are board certified in their respective specialties, but then take additional coursework and training in varicose vein treatment techniques and other cosmetic venous procedures.

Vascular Surgeon

A vascular surgeon is a vein doctor who has been extensively trained to diagnose and treat all types of arterial and venous disorders and diseases. These doctors do not frequently treat more cosmetic vein issues such as varicose and spider veins. Instead, they mainly focus on placing catheters and stents in arteries and veins, such as for atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) or aneurysms. Vascular surgeons can consult with the other types of vein doctors to provide additional advice or be available should more invasive surgery be required.

Registered Vascular Technologist or Vascular Sonographer

A vascular sonographer is a technical term for an ultrasound technician who specializes in veins. You’ve probably heard of an ultrasound if you’ve ever had a child or known someone who was pregnant. An ultrasound is commonly used to “see” inside the uterus and get pictures of your developing baby. Ultrasounds are also used to examine other parts of the body, such as organs and blood vessels.

A vascular sonographer uses ultrasound to view and analyze your veins and to generate images of blood vessels for diagnosis and treatment. Registered Vascular Technologists (RVT) have proven their knowledge by successfully passing a two-part professional certification exam administered by the American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography (ARDMS).

How to Choose the Right Doctor for Your Veins

Phlebology. Surgeon performing surgery operation for varix vein treatment

Now that you know about the types of doctors and what they do, it’s up to you to choose the best vein doctor for your needs. Let’s go over some important considerations when choosing a health professional for your vein issues.

Is the Health Professional Well-Trained and Experienced?

All doctors go through years of schooling as well as on-the-job training as residents and fellows. Every vein doctor listed above has been through a rigorous program and passed specific examinations to become certified by a medical board.

You’ll need to determine which type of specialty and experience is most relevant for your needs.

You wouldn’t go to a dermatologist for trouble with your kidneys; you’d go to a nephrologist for that. In the same way, you don’t need to go to a vascular surgeon who specializes in stenting arteries for open-heart surgery for help with reducing the spider veins in your legs. While a vascular surgeon may be able to help with your spider or varicose veins, that is not something they regularly do.

A vein specialist or phlebologist may not have training or experience in arterial stenting or open surgery, but they have performed hundreds or thousands of sclerotherapeutic injections, endovenous laser treatments, and radiofrequency ablations to help patients with cosmetic vein issues.

Is the Health Professional Board-Certified?

Again, all vein doctors are board-certified by one or more medical boards. While the American Board of Phlebology does not administer an examination in one of the 24 currently recognized medical specialties, a phlebologist is board-certified as a medical practitioner. Likewise, a cardiologist is board-certified in diagnosing and treating heart ailments, and a dermatologist in conditions and treatment of the skin.

There is no board certification specifically for vein issues. Any doctor working with them has their board certification in something else and has then completed additional coursework and training to become registered as a vein specialist.

Does Your Health Plan Provide Coverage for This Service?

health insurance form with stethoscope on it.

Treatment for varicose veins is often deemed medically necessary, which means it meets the criteria for coverage by insurance. To do so, a doctor must conduct an ultrasound of the veins to determine if you have venous insufficiency. This is the medical term for veins that have “gone bad” because their valves now permit a backwards flow of blood, which creates the painful and unsightly bulges. Before they will approve treatment of varicose veins, all insurance plans require a venous ultrasound.

Most vein doctors participate in several insurance plans for your area, but you’ll want to determine if they accept yours. Other treatments for vein issues are considered cosmetic, so they’ll expect you to pay out-of-pocket. Your vein doctor can help you determine the costs and payment plans for these services.

Metro Vein Clinic Specializes in Vein Issues

The healthcare professionals at Metro Vein Clinic have been helping patients with their vein issues for many years. The team has performed hundreds of procedures to provide relief from varicose veins and Restless Leg Syndrome. Contact us to set up an initial consultation by calling 612-789-8346. You may also speak directly with one of our doctors at this number.

Why do I Have Blue Veins and What Can I do to Reduce Them?

Have you noticed blue veins on your legs or another part of your body? Do you find yourself avoiding shorts or knee-length skirts that would show off your legs and knees, and therefore your blue veins? Or maybe you have blue veins on your chest and arms and avoid tank tops or swimsuits.

Wherever your blue veins are visible, you are not alone. Blue veins affect many people in our country and around the world. If you are concerned about blue veins on your body, consult an expert at a vascular vein center for a professional diagnosis and advice. There are options to help you cover or fade your unsightly veins.

What Are Blue Veins?

Women holding leg skin tight to show blue veins.

Veins are responsible for returning blood to the heart after it has dispersed oxygen throughout the body. Sometimes called reticular veins, feeder veins, or intradermal veins, blue veins appear blue or green under the skin. Typically, blue veins are more extensive or more prominent than spider veins, but not as large or painful as varicose veins.

Blue veins are most common around the knees and thighs and regularly noticed on the chest. They can range in diameter from one to three millimeters. They are also usually flatter than varicose veins. Many people accept blue veins as a normal part of life or aging, but this does not have to be the case.

Generally, blue veins do not denote a significant problem. However, in some instances, these veins can point to a more severe, undiagnosed concern. Most often, blue veins on the chest and legs are cosmetic and make the patient uncomfortable with the sight of them, but are not dangerous. This issue affects both men and women and is the result of a variety of causes.

What Causes Blue Veins?

While there can be many causes of blue veins on your chest or legs, the most common ones are genetics, medical conditions, hormones, quick weight loss, exercise, or a combination of these factors.

  • Genetics: As the most common cause, it is easy to know if you have a chance for blue veins. You will notice visible veins on the chest or legs of family members.
  • Medical Conditions: There are a variety of medical conditions that can lead to visible blue veins on your body. However, cirrhosis, as well as other liver conditions, makes you more susceptible to blue veins. Also, any condition that results in an increased amount of fluid in the abdomen makes you more likely to have blue veins visible.
  • Hormones: Blue veins on the chest, in particular, the breast area, are often related to the development and menstrual cycles of women. Visible blue veins in the breasts respond to changes in levels of hormones and often fade at the end of a cycle. Sometimes, however, they remain apparent. Pregnancy can also lead to blue veins because of the drastic changes in hormones.
  • Quick Weight Loss: When you lose weight rapidly, the skin in areas with drastic changes often becomes fragile and thin. When the skin is weaker, blue veins can appear.
  • Exercise: Vigorous activity, such as heavy weightlifting or running, cause an increase in blood flow, causing the veins beneath the skin to become enlarged and more visible.

These are a few of the common symptoms of blue veins. If any of these issues cause your blue veins, you have options for treatment. However, there are a variety of other reasons you might be experiencing blue veins. If you want more information on your blue veins, a doctor at a vascular vein center will have answers to help you understand your choices.

How Can I Treat Them?

treating veins by injecting medication.

If you have noticeable blue veins on your chest, legs, or another part of your body, you have options. Visiting a vascular vein center will help you determine if your blue veins are temporary from hormonal changes, or permanent, requiring assistance to remove them. An expert will also help you determine if there is an undiagnosed issue, such as liver disease, that is causing your visible veins. If this is the case, the underlying problem would need to be treated first.

If your blue veins have no underlying cause and are superficial, you have several treatment options.

  • Laser therapy: There are two forms of laser treatments commonly used to treat blue veins, YAG laser, and pulsed dye laser. YAG, yttrium-aluminum-garnet, laser deals with blue veins that are slightly deeper with a concentrated laser to help them permanently fade. Pulsed dye laser works similarly. Both of these non-surgical treatments have high success rates.
  • Sclerotherapy: In this treatment method, a sclerosing, or hardening, serum is injected into the blue veins directly, causing them to collapse or break down. This treatment method is most common on the chest and typically happens in the doctor’s office as an outpatient procedure.
  • Superficial or cosmetic treatments: If you are uncomfortable undergoing a more risky procedure, there are some things you can do on your own. Vitamin K cream can help fortify the skin and increase the strength of the blood vessels. All you have to do is apply the cream to your skin near the blue veins. Covering your blue veins with concealer is also an option.

The vital thing to remember is that there are treatment options for blue veins, no matter the cause. And not all treatments are invasive. If you are unsure what you should do about your blue veins, contact a professional for medical advice.

If you are looking for a friendly place with years of experience, give Metro Vein Clinic a call. Patients leave satisfied after receiving the best treatment possible. Metro Vein Clinic is the most highly reviewed vascular vein center in the Twin Cities.

You can be sure you will receive excellent care. Call us at (612)789-8346 or visit us online to read more about vein treatments or schedule a free consultation. Join the countless patients who walk out of our office thrilled by the disappearance of their blue veins.

Why Are my Veins so Visible and How to Get Rid of Them?

women examining her varicose veins

Are you wanting to wear a new, knee-length cocktail dress to a holiday party this season but have concerns about how your legs might look? Do you have spider veins or varicose veins that make you pause and rethink what you can wear? Do you have pain in your legs that keep you from doing things you love?

Thousands of women across the country struggle with the same issues. Whether you are uncomfortable wearing certain clothes because of how your veins look, or you have leg pain that interferes with your daily life, you can do something to help; you can make a change.

So many wonder why their veins are so visible and how they can get rid of them. What can you do? Fortunately, there are many options to treat varicose veins and other vein diseases.

The experts at Metro Vein Clinic have 75 years of combined experience treating spider and varicose veins, among other vein diseases. They are ready and willing to help.

Do You Have Vein Disease?

Inflammation in vein of leg.

Do you have leg pain, swollen legs, aching legs, phlebitis (which is red, hard, and painful veins) or restless leg syndrome? Do you have blue veins, bulging veins, spider veins, skin discoloration or skin breakdown around the ankles?

These are all symptoms and signs of varicose veins or other vein diseases. Has your primary doctor told you that you have varicose veins or venous stasis? If your answer is yes, the staff at Metro Vein Clinic can help.

Vein disease affects many people, but many do not know that treatment is affordable and accessible. Vein disease is a chronic condition either related to or caused by diseased or abnormal veins.

There are many veins throughout your legs, and it is not uncommon for some of these veins to become damaged or diseased and not allow blood to flow back to your heart freely. Blood then collects in your legs which can cause vein disease and all the symptoms associated with it.

If you have noticed discolored spots or bulges around veins in your legs, you might have vein disease. But don’t worry! The staff at Metro Vein Clinic is more than able to help, and the screening appointment is free!

What Kind of Vein Diseases Are There?

Leg ulcur

There are many different kinds of vein disease.

  1. Spider Veins are very common and affect many people. Typically, red or blue veins are visible on the surface of the skin, most often on the legs. This discoloration is the result of blood pooling from varicose veins. Generally, spider veins are superficial but can cause itching, tenderness, bleeding, or burning. Treating spider veins will help ease this discomfort
  2. Varicose Veins are usually large or swollen blue veins most often on the legs. Varicose veins are created by damaged veins not allowing blood to flow back to your body from the legs. This blood pools in the legs. These veins can be painful and cause a variety of symptoms including burning, throbbing, tingling, or heaviness.
  3. Chronic Venous Insufficiency happens when veins are damaged and cause blood to flow in the opposite direction of the heart. This blood flow reversal can occur because of blood clots in deep veins or damage in superficial veins.
  4. Restless Leg Syndrome is an uncomfortable sensation in your legs, feeling like you need to get up and move to relieve the itchy feeling. Many people describe this as “pins and needles.” For many, the symptoms are worse and night and affect one’s quality of sleep.
  5. Leg Ulcers can occur when blood that should return to the heart is not able to. These ulcers are most common around the ankle. While not always painful, bleeding can happen if not treated.
  6. Phlebitis occurs when a vein wall becomes inflamed. Whether it happens to superficial or deep veins, painful swelling and redness are symptoms.
  7. Venous Stasis happens when chronic poor blood flow affects the skin on your lower legs. Consistent pooling of blood causes discoloration and hardening of the skin.
  8. Deep Vein Thrombosis is blood clots in the deep veins, most commonly in the legs. There are many causes of DVT, and it is a severe condition that, left untreated, can be fatal

What Are My Treatment Options?

women consulting with doctor

Treatment will depend on a diagnosis, but there are several options.

  • Compression helps heal veins after treatment, as well as prevent disease.
  • Radiofrequency ablation or endovenous laser ablation is minimally invasive and use heat to affect the vein walls closing the vein, which allows blood to be re-routed to healthy veins.
  • Echo sclerotherapy is a non-surgical alternative to surgical vein stripping. An ultrasound is used to monitor foam that is injected into the vein while you are in the office.
  • Visual sclerotherapy involves a solution injected directly into the vein.

After reading through this information, do you feel you have vein disease? If you do, there is good news. Vein disease is generally easily treated in the office with little to no downtime.

Are you ready to be confident and happy in whatever you choose to wear? Are you prepared to be pain-free in your legs and get back to doing the things you love and not be slowed down?

If you’re tired of missing out on things, big or small, because of leg pain or unsightly veins, now is the time to call Metro Vein Clinic. They have support staff on hand ready to take your call and walk you through the steps of scheduling your initial consultation and managing insurance.

You can take matters into your own hands. Metro Vein Clinic is there to help.

Just ask the thousands of satisfied patients who are thrilled with the results they have seen from the experts at Metro Vein Clinic. The reviews on Google and Facebook speak for themselves. Check them out.  

If you are ready, Metro Vein Clinic is prepared to start on this journey to healing with you. You will not regret the pain-free life without dark or bulging veins noticeable on your legs!