How Do I Talk To My Doctor About Varicose Veins?

As an ultrasound technician, I have the opportunity to spend a good amount of time with our patients. Something I hear over and over again from our patients is they have been suffering from varicose veins for some time and they are frustrated their doctors did not send them to seek treatment sooner.
I have seen so many patients who have been amazed by the relief they receive after vein treatment. Another common thing that I hear is I wish I would have known about this sooner. With that in mind I have decided to share some ways in which you can talk to your doctor about varicose veins.

Discuss Your Varicose Vein Symptoms

First thing that you need to do is speak up! Your doctor wants to know about your symptoms. Before you visit your doctor take some notes on how your feeling. Make notes on how your legs or pelvis feel (tired, achy, heavy, etc) and if there is anything that you do that makes it feel worse or better (standing, sitting, exercise, etc). Always remember you can never give too much information when you are trying to diagnose a reason for symptoms.

Explore Treatment Options

Second step is to discuss treatment options. When it comes to varicose veins there are treatment options. If you have pelvic varicose veins you could do treatment through hysterectomy or you could have a procedure done where varicose veins are closed in the pelvis. Within the leg there are a few treatments ranging from injections or laser on spider veins to heating and closing the vein and potentially removing varicose veins. Sometimes varicose veins are connected to open ulcerations on legs. When there are open ulcerations on the leg sometimes treatment with wound care needs to be part of the discussion.

Lifestyle

Third and final suggestion is discussing lifestyle changes. Sometimes you are not ready for treatment of varicose veins and you would like to treat conservatively. This can be accomplished thru suggestions for low impact exercises, prescriptions for compression socks, ideas to alternate standing and sitting at work, or similar conservative actions.

In the end the best suggestion I can give is to never be afraid to begin an honest conversation with your doctor. Never hesitate, a doctor can not treat what they do not know as a problem.

What is Superficial Venous Thrombosis (SVT)?

Superficial venous thrombosis (SVT) is an attack of blood clots in the veins that are just under the skin surface within the fat layers. SVT is something that can reoccur and is a common medical issue. The percentage of patients affected by SVT is unknown and it affects both women and men equally. SVT produces an area of redness and warmth on the skin surface with associated pain and firm lumpiness under the skin. Swelling can be seen but is not always present. Ultrasound and physical findings are used to diagnose SVT.

Etiology

The cause of SVT is not always known or easy to find. A common cause is recent injury or trauma to the area affected. There is a large number of patients who have a hypercoagulable state or a clotting problem. Identifying the clotting problem may change how your physician may treat the SVT.

Treatment

Mild pain medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen will help with the discomfort from the SVT. Warm compresses over the affected area and the use of compression stockings will also help. If the SVT is in the upper thigh or near the deep veins more aggressive treatment may be needed such as anticoagulation.

Conclusion

Most cases of SVT go unnoticed or are not taken seriously and resolve on their own within in few weeks. Treatment is most often conservative if found by your physician and the SVT will eventually resolve with time.

Insurance Terms and Coverage Explained

Insurances can be very confusing when it comes to healthcare, but don’t worry. At IVC, we go over your insurance coverage to help you understand what they will cover for your medical procedures in our office. So when you leave our office, you will have a better understanding of the cost for treatment as well as budgeting and financing for your health.

Do I pay monthly, or yearly?

Premiums, those are set amounts that individuals pay each month, to have insurance coverage. Think of it like your electric bill, you need to pay the bill each month to have electricity in your house. A premium works the same way; it’s a set amount of what you pay each month.

Deductibles –whatever that means

Next is your deductible. Deductibles are amounts that an individual will have to pay before their insurance will even start to pay. Sometimes depending on the benefit plan, insurances will waive the deductible and just make you pay coinsurance. Deductibles can be tricky, because oftentimes insurance plans can have a family deductible, individual deductible or even both. Deductibles range in amounts and oftentimes people think that once they have met this amount they will be covered at 100%, but it is often not the case.

Insurance Plans

Coinsurance is usually the amount you have contracted with the insurance to pay for your visits. Insurances pay a certain amount and leave the patient with their contracted or co-insurance amount. Let’s look at the 80/20 plan, insurances would pay 80% of the bill and the individual would be left with 20% of the bill. Coinsurance seems pretty self-explanatory, but there are more small facts inside of a plan. Insurance plans can range all over- from a non-covered benefit, meaning the patient would be most likely left with the full amount, to having 100% of their treatment or plan covered.

Out of Pocket Max, or Max out of Pocket?

The Out of Pocket Max is another limit that you have worked towards throughout the year before the insurance will pay 100% of your procedure costs. Out of Pocket Maximums can range in the amount you will pay per year. A maximum is typically the most money you would pay for your health care per year. Just think that if you’ve maxed out, you’ve reached your limit.

Out of network benefits or in-network?

Going to the doctors contracted with your insurance is always a smart idea. To have benefits in-network means that your insurance is contracted with a provider and both parties have agreed to negotiated rates. Oftentimes you will end up paying less to go to the contracted provider. To have an Out of network rate, means that your insurance will allow you to go to providers that aren’t contracted with them. However, the provider is not obligated to take that negotiated rate and the patient can be left with their out-of-network percentage and the adjustment amount that typically is written off by a contracted provider. Most of the time, insurances will pay a lower percentage of your visit, as compared to a visit paid at a higher rate with a provider that is in network.