Frequently Asked Questions: Answered by Dr. Brennig
I have extensive experience treating varicose veins, spider veins, reticular veins, as well as more complex vein conditions including DVT, SVT, postphlebitic syndrome, venous dermatitis, ulcers and edema.
Dr. Brennig does not do “FREE” initial visits. Like most other physician evaluations we will work with your insurance provider to obtain coverage for your initial evaluation with Dr. Brennig. We will gladly work with your primary physician for referrals as needed. We work with all private insurance providers and medicare for coverage of you health care including your first evaluation.
Dr. Brennig feels free initial exams for health care are right up there with free brake inspections for your car… except it’s your body and your lifelong health at stake. While “FREE” initial medical visits are a very effective technique of some clinics to get new patients in the door, the savings to the patient may be short lived. Ultimately what may seem like cheaper care initially can add up to more than just costing more money down the road. Care from a less experienced or less qualified provider can increase the risk of misdiagnosis; as well as inappropriate, ineffective or even unindicated treatment. This can lead to increased likelihood of dangerous complications and medical misadventures; not to mention increased cost.
So, the perceived saving from a “free” check might become significantly less appealing in the long run. Most services of exceptional quality have a cost associated. This is true for doctors and their practice. Somewhere along the line the cost associated with the “free” evaluation must be recouped perhaps at a follow-up visit to complete a more thorough examination, or through procedures planned at a later date. This approach may create a situation where there is undue pressure on the doctor to recoup the costs of that “free visit” down the road.
No. Pregnancy and aging usually advance the problem, bringing on the need for more extensive treatment that might have been avoided if intervention had been sought before pregnancy.
No. Varicose veins are unattractive, but they are also unhealthy. Diseased veins will not get better on their own, nor can they be effectively treated with superficial, cosmetic-based approaches. The underlying problems will likely worsen over time and should be evaluated by a vascular specialist.
Treatments for clinically significant vein problems are often covered by health insurance plans, so we always work with our patients and their insurance provider to obtain the appropriate treatment coverage. Factors such as yearly deductible, coinsurance, and policy-specific exclusions may affect coverage. Our administrative team will do their best to help get you this information.
For those who have recurrent varicose veins, we perform what is known as ‘rescue therapy.’ We perform our comprehensive evaluation to determine what factors are present that have caused the recurrence. Then, we put together our treatment plan to correct the problem in order to obtain the most durable results.
Patients with long-standing varicose veins are at an increased risk for phlebitis and thrombosis (blood clots and inflammation in the veins), which are very painful and potentially dangerous. This condition can lead to the possibility of clots breaking loose and traveling to the heart and lungs known as a pulmonary embolism. The longer varicose veins are left untreated, the more they will spread around to other areas of the legs and feet, eventually becoming even larger and more numerous. As time passes, more damage will accumulate in the surrounding tissues. The most common signs of damage related to varicose veins are leg swelling, pain, heaviness, skin itching (dermatitis) and skin darkening (hyper-pigmentation) increasing with time. Bleeding is also a well-known complication of varicose veins and happens as the veins bulge, pushing up closer to the skin’s surface. In the later stages of vein disease, open skin sores known as venous skin ulcers develop in about 25% of patients. Venous ulcers are most commonly seen in the skin around the ankles.
There are some simple steps to keeping your leg veins healthy. These include:
- Remaining active. Exercises like walking, jogging, swimming and the elliptical are particularly good for your leg veins.
- Wearing support socks can help some of the leg veins remain healthier overtime. These are especially helpful for people who spend many hours sitting or standing during the day.
- A heart-healthy diet is beneficial for your entire vascular system and this includes the veins within your legs.
- Avoiding smoking is very important for maintaining vascular and vein health. Along with its many well-documented health consequences, smoking also significantly increases the risk of blood clots in leg veins.
Varicose veins are known for being a cosmetic nuisance, however, what many people don’t know is if left untreated, they can result in significant health problems. As a board certified vascular surgeon and founder of the Austin Vein Institute, I will share what those risks are and how I treat varicose veins so that future health problems can be avoided while restoring the appearance of my patients’ legs.
I see and treat a variety of patients, including those with only spider veins that are cosmetically displeasing, to complicated varicose veins and everything in between. If someone has a question about the way their legs look; if they notice spider veins or bulging veins that are associated with symptoms of discomfort or heaviness, it’s probably an indication that they should be evaluated. The earlier a vein problem is treated, the simpler the treatment. Complications from varicose veins worsen with time.
All patients receive a comprehensive initial evaluation and any treatments directly from me, rather than a nurse or associate. As a board certified vascular surgeon with many years of experience successfully treating all types of vein problems, patients can be assured they are receiving a uniquely high level of care.
During the initial evaluation I take a thorough health history, perform an examination of the affected veins and then perform a thorough diagnostic venous ultrasound. The ultrasound allows me to see what is going on below the surface of the skin and determine how effectively each of the veins is performing. The treatment plan is then developed based on those findings and discussed in detail with the patient.
A procedure, called endovenous laser therapy (EVLT), lets me treat many failing veins in the quickest and most effective way currently possible. EVLT uses laser light to essentially cause the faulty vein to close down and later dissolve as part of the body’s natural healing process. We use one of the gentlest, yet most effective venous lasers currently available. The procedure is done in our private and comfortable medical office and takes less than an hour. Patients can walk out after the procedure and resume most of their regular activities right away. For patients with more advanced or complicated varicose veins, subsequent treatments may be necessary to complete the therapy and prevent recurrence.
After a comprehensive evaluation, we will discuss the treatment options for your spider veins. These typically include use of a sclerotherapy solution, which is injected with a very tiny needle under magnification and specialized lighting. Asclera is our sclerotherapy solution of choice for most patients due to the excellent results and minimal discomfort. We also offer Sotradecol as a sclerotherapy solution for larger varicose veins, along with a variety of surface lasers including the 532nm KTP laser and the 1064nm Nd: YAG laser.
As an experienced board certified vascular surgeon with extensive training and expertise in catheter based therapies, I have successfully performed almost every type of vein procedure in the modern medical armamentarium. The most successful and commonly performed procedures for varicose veins include EVLT, utrasound-guided foam-sclerotherapy, micro-phlebectomy, traditional sclerotherapy, as well as sclerotherapy with refracted light and magnification assistance.
No. When properly evaluated and treated by an expert, only failing veins will be treated. Removal of these veins will not adversely impact venous blood return. In fact, more efficient blood return can be accomplished through the remaining healthy veins as the pooling of blood in the faulty veins is eliminated.
Send a message in this contact area on the right or call me:
P: (512) 346-2727
F: (512) 346-2728