Frequently Asked Questions

The Vein Institute

Faqs

About The Vein Institute

What is The Vein Institutes philosophy?

The Vein Institute was founded to redefine varicose vein care throughout Australia. Patients and their needs are at the heart of our business and everything we do. Everyday, we strive to provide patients with the best varicose veins treatment possible. What does that mean to us? It means high success rates, minimal discomfort, fast recovery, no hospital stays, happy and healthy patients.

How can I contact you?

You can call our clinic on 1300 535 017 to speak to a member of our team or fill out a form to make an enquiry.

Can I visit offices in other cities?

We prefer that you continue treatment in the same clinic you started with. If you are relocating to a different city, please call our office and we will discuss your options.

Are your team all qualified doctors?

All our doctors are fully qualified from top universities. They have all gone on to complete further specialisations in interventional radiology, phlebology, or vascular health. All treatments will be carried out by one of our doctors and may be assisted by a sonographer and nurse. Learn more about The Vein Institute team.

Does The Vein Institute offer urgent care?

Our doctors are on hand throughout your treatment plan to assist with any questions you may have. If you require urgent care, please contact your local GP or hospital.

How is The Vein Institute different?

The Vein Institute believes in patient first care and getting you the best results possible. We offer patients treatment plans so that there are no hidden costs and guaranteed results. Our team of highly trained doctors use the highest quality equipment to ensure the best results with minimal stress and discomfort for patients. We are located in central locations to offer the most convenient services to patients.

Is there parking available near your clinics?

We are located close to train stations in most of our locations or bus routes. Alternatively, there is plenty of on-street parking next to our clinics.

Do I have to make an appointment, or can I just walk in?

The Vein Institute works on an appointment basis. Please give us a call on 1300 535017 and we would be happy to arrange one for you.

Conditions

What conditions do you treat?

At The Vein Institute, we focus on what we are good at, and that is varicose veins. We do not treat spider veins on their own. However, if you have spider veins as a result of with varicose veins we will be able to treat them. If you are not sure if you have varicose veins, try our self assessment tool.

Do you treat spider veins?

We don’t exclusively treat spider veins, we specialise in the medical treatment of varicose veins. However, if you have any pain or swelling associated with your spider veins then there could be an underlying varicose vein, and we would recommend you speak with your doctor.

If you are not sure if you have varicose veins you can try our vein self assessment tool.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, and twisting veins. They can appear protruding from the skin or may not be visible to the naked eye. They form when your vein valves aren’t functioning properly.

What causes varicose veins?

While there is no definitive answer, there are a number of different risk factors which can increase your chances of getting varicose veins. These include; genetics, obesity, taking the contraceptive pill, pregnancy, working in professions where you sit or stand for long periods of time. Learn more about varicose vein causes.

 

Where do varicose veins appear?

Varicose veins usually appear on your legs. Often found on your thighs, the backs and fronts of your calves, or even deep inside your legs and cant be seen by the naked eye.

Can varicose veins appear in one leg only?

Yes this is very common. It is not exactly clear why varicose veins can appear in only one leg. 

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms for varicose veins include:

  • Aching or heaviness in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, swelling in lower legs
  • Worsened from sitting or standing for excessive periods
  • Itching around your veins

Can varicose veins come back after treatment?

Unfortunately you can’t permanently cure varicose veins, you can only treat them. In general, the veins that we treat are treated for good, we have a 98% success rate. On the off chance that the branch would reopen during your treatment plan with us, we would re-laser at no additional cost for you. However, if you have a genetic tendency to develop varicose veins, we cannot guarantee that a separate vein wont appear over time. Learn more about why different treatments types have higher risks of your varicose veins coming back.

Do I need these veins?

No, you no longer need these veins. Varicose veins are veins that have become  incompetent and are now holding back blood instead of pumping it around the body for proper circulation. Closing these dysfunctional varicose veins will allow the blood to be re-routed to healthy, functional veins and improve your blood circulation overall.

Are varicose veins serious?

Varicose veins are not considered a serious medical condition. However, they can be the sign of an underlying condition or can become a serious issue if left untreated. As varicose veins are a circulatory disorder, left  untreated, your circulation may become worse, leading to changes to the colours and textures of your skin. There are increased risks of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVTs) and venous ulcers.

 

How can I stop the formation of Varicose Veins?

There are a number of things you can do to try mitigate against varicose veins, however there is currently no way to prevent them.

Can varicose veins cause heart problems?

Heart disease and varicose veins are not related. Varicose veins are caused by genetic predisposition, sitting or standing for long periods of time, pregnancy and obesity. Heart disease is caused by genetic predisposition to heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure.

Does crossing your legs cause varicose veins?

There is no evidence that crossing your legs for long periods of time causes varicose veins. Read more about other varicose vein myths.

 

Are varicose veins only a problem for older women?

Varicose veins can affect people of any age or gender. Whilst there is no definitive cause for varicose veins, there are a number of things that could increase an individual’s chances. These include; genetics, professions where you are sitting or standing for long periods of time, being overweight, taking the contraceptive pill. You can learn more about varicose vein causes.

Will my diet affect my varicose veins?

Eating a diet high in fiber, avoiding excess salt, staying well hydrated, and maintaining a healthy weight will all have a positive impact on both your vascular health and overall health. However, if you already have varicose veins, changing your diet will not fix the faulty valves.

Treatments

What treatments are there for varicose veins?

There are a number of different treatments available for varicose veins; these include Endovenous Laser Ablation, Radiofrequency Ablation, Sclerotherapy and VenaSeal. At The Vein Institute, our doctors will recommend the appropriate treatment for each patient after an assessment and ultrasound scan at your consultation.

Are the treatments safe?

All treatments carried out at The Vein Institute are performed by doctors specialising in the field. New treatments, in general, are considered safer than surgery yet there will always be the rare possibility of complications as with any medical procedure.

Does treatment hurt?

It shouldn’t be painful. The treatment is described as more of a discomfort rather than a pain, similar to an injection or getting your bloods taken. You will be given a local anaesthetic to the leg area via a needle, so this is the only sensation you should feel. The treated leg my feel heavy and tight after laser treatment, as a fluid anaesthetic is given at the site.

 

Will I need to take time off work?

The Vein Institute is a walk-in walk-out clinic, and the treatments are minimally invasive so patients rarely need to take any time off of work.

What is the recovery plan?

  • Minimal to no downtime or time away from work.
  • You can drive after the procedure, if you haven’t taken any medications to reduce anxiety.
  • No long-distance travel greater than 5 hours is recommended.
  • We recommend that all patients wear compression stockings or bandages for a minimum of five days after treatment to assist the healing process.

If there is any discomfort following the treatment the doctor may recommend pain reliever medications.

 

Do I need to follow up after treatment?

All patients must have a review scan within four weeks of the laser procedure to ensure that the laser treatment was successful in sealing the trouble veins. Following the laser treatment, a few sessions of sclerotherapy injections may be required to treat the more superficial veins.

Do I need a GP referral?

A GP referral isn’t required to see one of our doctors, however if you will require one if you’d like to access the Medicare rebate. The cost of your initial consultation is $290 – with the referral you will receive around $70 back from Medicare. Download the referral form.

Do I have to wear compression stockings?

Yes, initially a compression bandage is applied directly after treatment which you keep on for two days. After the two days, you can change over to the compression stockings for a further 5 days. This helps to promote the best possible healing and outcome. Learn more about what to expect post treatment.

Do I need to prepare for the procedure?

If your procedure is scheduled for the morning, be sure to eat breakfast and take any normal medications. You should wear loose-fitting pants because your legs will be wrapped with elastic bandages after the procedure. Avoid shaving your legs the morning of the treatment.   

Is it possible to receive treatment on the same day as my consultation?

No, we do not perform the treatment on the same day of your initial consultation. At the consultation, your doctor will use an ultrasound to make an accurate assessment of your veins and discuss your different treatment options. In order to allow you time to consider the treatment options thoroughly, we keep the consultation and treatments separate.

Can all of my veins be treated in one sitting?

The majority of the deeper veins will be treated in the laser sessions, however you will have some sclerotherapy injections sessions at a different time after your laser therapy to treat the smaller surface veins that can’t be treated with the laser.

Can I travel throughout treatment?

Long-haul travel (more than five hours) is not recommended for a few weeks following treatments.  It is important to discuss your travel plans with the doctor prior to your treatments.

 

Can I have a treatment close to a major operation?

While it depends on the operation, generally if it’s a major procedure, it’s best to wait until your surgery and recovery is complete before having vein treatments.

Can I take antibiotics during treatment?

Yes – As long as you don’t have any active systemic infection at the time of treatment.

Is there anything I need to avoid while having treatment?

You should avoid:

  • Shaving your legs just prior to treatment
  • Really hot shower pre and post treatment
  • Laser hair removal for the duration of treatment and for a couple of months post treatment
  • Waxing for the  duration of treatment and for a couple of months post treatment
  • Overseas long haul travel for at least 3 weeks post treatment
  • Strenuous exercise for one week

Can I take the contraceptive pill during treatment?

Generally (but not always) your doctor will recommend that you stop taking the contraceptive pill for four weeks post laser treatment and sclerotherapy treatments, however, this will be determined based on a few factors which will be explained to you in your consultation. 

Can I take hormone replacement therapy during treatment?

Ideally you should stop taking hormone replacement therapy during treatment as it can slightly increase the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis / Pulmonary Embolism. However, if it is necessary to continue taking HRT, many patients have been safely treated with laser and sclerotherapy.

Can I see a Physiotherapist /Chiropractor/Osteopath for treatment whilst undergoing treatment for my veins?

Yes – There is no problem with having this treatment at the same time.

Do traditional remedies or vitamins work for varicose veins?

Remedies, supplements and vitamins on their own will not fix your varicose veins. However, they may help to reduce symptoms or their appearance. Read more about varicose vein natural remedies.

 

Is it best to do it in winter or summer?

This is a personal choice. Some patients like to schedule their treatment prior to an event. Though healing varies between patients, we recommend commencing treatment six months prior to any event for optimal results. The recommended compression stockings are lightweight and easily worn in summer or winter. Some people prefer to have them treated in winter to have the extra layer and because they are less likely to be wearing shorts.  

Can I go to the gym after treatment?

We recommend you abstain from rigorous activities like gym work, running, heavy lifting, aerobics etc for 10 days post laser and sclerotherapy to let veins heal – Gentle walking every day is advised! You can carry on with normal work or home duties as long as they are not overly strenuous.

 

Am I too young, or too old for treatment?

There are no age limits for varicose vein treatment, however if a patient is younger that 16 we would advise speaking to your pediatrician.

I was told I needed surgery, is there an alternative?

Modern varicose vein treatments have come a long way since vein stripping and other surgical procedures that required patients to be hospitalised and needing lengthy downtime and recovery. Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) and Foam Sclerotherapy injections are excellent alternative treatment options for most patients.

Prices, Billing and Insurance

How much is treatment?

The cost of varicose vein treatment varies depending on the severity of your case. At your initial consultation the Doctor will assess your vein concerns and advise whether you require treatment. If you do, they will provide you with a tailored plan and a quote for treatment. Most patients out of pocket cost is between $3,400 – $4,500 for the total treatment plan including laser, sclerotherapy and compression stockings. The initial consultation fee is $290 and with a GP referral you will receive approximately $75.00 back from Medicare. Read more about what is included in our treatment plans.

What is the cost of the consultation?

The consultation fee is $290 and with a GP referral you will receive approximately $75.00 back from Medicare. Download a referral form.

Do you have payment plans?

Payments plans are available, we offer an in-house payment plan for 60 days or longer plans are available through Medipay. This will allow you to begin the procedure immediately, then pay over a period of time that suits you.

Is it covered by medicare?

Treatments are partly covered by Medicare however a gap payment will usually be required. Read more about whats included in our plans.

Is it covered by private insurance?

Unfortunately, private health insurers do not cover the treatment as we are a private clinic. Private Health Insurance will only cover in-hospital procedures.

Pregnancy

Why does pregnancy cause or exacerbate varicose veins?

Pregnancy can cause or exacerbate varicose veins for a number of reasons. The higher levels of pregnancy hormones; estrogen and progesterone, can cause veins to dilate. In addition, during pregnancy, the uterus can put pressure on the inferior vena cava, the main vein that carries blood to the heart from the lower extremities. Read more about varicose veins in pregnancy.

I am pregnant and have noticed my veins are getting worse. What should I do?

It is not unusual for pregnant women to feel their veins are getting worse. This can also be a time when they first notice the appearance of varicose or spider veins. We recommend wearing medical grade compression stockings from the beginning of the pregnancy and for several weeks after birth. Once you have finished breastfeeding, we suggest making an appointment with a vein specialist to decide on an appropriate treatment.

Do I need to wait until I have completed my family to have treatment?

No, you do not need to wait until you have completed your family to have treatment, however we do recommend waiting until you have finished breastfeeding, before getting pregnant again.

Can varicose veins cause problems for the baby or during the birth?

Varicose veins should not cause a problem for the baby or during birth as they usually have a low level of blood flow through them. In some cases, vulvar varicose veins can lead to pelvic congestion syndrome.

Treatment Types

What type of non-surgical treatment options are available?

Endovenous Therapy  – Also known as endovenous laser ablation or radiofrequency ablation, these treatments are performed comfortably in our clinic with local anaesthetic. The treatment is a minimally invasive method of treatment for larger varicose veins and is considered the gold standard treatment requiring no hospitalisation or general anaesthetic. Both procedures use heat to close the vein.

Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy – This treatment is non-surgical, no scarring and virtually no downtime. A specialised medication is injected into the diseased veins to collapse the vein and allow the body to absorb the sealed vein. The appearance usually improves over a few weeks and continues to improve for about three months.

VenaSeal Medical Super Glue Venaseal is a modern, non-surgical treatment that uses a medical adhesive to treat varicose veins. As the medical superglue sets within minutes, there is a faster healing process than is sometimes associated with other treatments.

Compression Therapy – Patients who have small varicose veins may relief from their symptoms by wearing compression stockings.

What can I expect during treatment?

Once you arrive at the clinic, you will be greeted by one of our Patient Liaison Managers who can answer any questions you may have. You are welcome to bring in a book, magazine or phone during treatment.

The treatment itself will begin with an ultrasound scan, then your leg will be cleaned and a tiny amount of anaesthetic will be applied to the incision point. This will feel similar to getting a vaccination. A tiny catheter will be inserted into the faulty vein and the laser fibre will then be inserted. You should not feel any pain. The laser will then be removed sealing closed the vein. After the procedure, you will be required to wear compression stockings for 5-7 days and walk for 30 minutes a day. Read more about what to expect.

What can I expect during the consultation?

At the initial consultation, the doctor will perform a visual examination of both of your legs, discuss your symptoms and concerns, and perform an ultrasound on both legs.  Then, the doctor will design a treatment plan suited to treat your venous disease and address your concerns. Pricing and scheduling will be discussed with one of our Patient Liaison Managers following the initial consultation.

Why do I need an ultrasound scan?

An ultrasound is important in order to correctly diagnose varicose veins or other vascular disorders. While some varicose veins are easy to identify visually when they protrude through the skin, they are not always visible to the naked eye.

How do the treatments work?

Endovenous Laser Ablation works by using laser energy to close the vein wall and seals the faulty vein. The blood will be rerouted to a healthy vein and the faulty vein will eventually be reabsorbed into the body. 

Radiofrequency ablation uses radiofrequency energy to close the vein wall and seal the faulty vein. The closed vein is reabsorbed by the body and the blood is re-routed to a healthy vein. 

Sclerotherapy uses a salt solution which is injected directly into the vein. The solution irritates the lining of the blood vessel, causing it to collapse and the blood is rerouted to a healthy vein. 

VenaSeal Medical superglue uses a small amount of vein glue to close the vein. The glue is injected into through a small catheter, the vein is sealed shut and the blood is re-routed to a healthy vein. Unlike other treatments, there is no requirement for compression socks post treatment.

 

What are the possible complications of the treatments?

While all treatments offered at The Vein Institute are low risk procedures, as with any medical treatment there are a number of possible risks.

Endovenous Laser Ablation / Radiofrequency Ablation:

  • Rare: Soreness or phlebitis which usually settles with Nurofen and medical grade compression stockings.
  • Very Rare: Deep Vein Thrombosis or Pulmonary Embolism is rare but possible. If you experience significant leg swelling or pain, chest pain, shortness of breath or tiredness, please contact your GP or hospital.
  • Extremely rare: Nerve damage which affects sensation in the calf can extremely rarely occur. 

Sclerotherapy:

  • Rare: some soreness or inflammation after the procedure can be experienced which usually settles with Nurofen in one week.
  • Very rare:  change to skin sensation, allergic reaction to the solution being used, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism.  If you experience significant leg swelling or pain, chest pain, shortness of breath or tiredness, please contact your GP or hospital.

VenaSeal Medical Superglue:

  • Rare: some soreness after the procedure can be experienced which usually settles with Nurofen in one week.
  • Very rare: change in skin sensation, allergic reaction to cyanoacrylate, deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.  If you experience significant leg swelling or pain, chest pain, shortness of breath or tiredness, please contact your GP or hospital.

Why would you choose EVLA or RFA over cheaper alternatives?

Both Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) and Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) have extremely high success rates and are considered the gold standard treatment for varicose veins. While Sclerotherapy and VenaSeal are a cheaper solution, they are not nearly as effective as laser in the majority of patients. A duplex ultrasound scan will be necessary to determine who may be suitable for sclerotherapy or venaseal treatment and who requires laser (EVLA/RFA).

What can be treated with VenaSeal Medical Superglue?

Straight veins between 4mm and 16mm can be treated with the Venaseal Medical Superglue procedure. Duplex ultrasound imaging is required to determine if the procedure can be used. Up to 5 straight veins can be treated  at any one time.

Are there different laser types?

There are many different laser types each with their own specific uses. The Vein Institute uses the latest radial tip laser fibres. They are used as it is reported that patients experience less pain after the procedure compared to traditional bare tip laser fibres.