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Dr. Stephen Rivard

Medical Director and Founder of Illinois Vein Specialists -- Board Certified in Phlebology, i.e. the diagnosis and treatment of varicose and spider veins.
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Recent Posts

What is Venous Insufficiency or Varicose Veins?

What is venous insufficiency or varicose veins? Venous insufficiency is a medical condition in which the veins of the body (usually of the legs) cannot pump blood back to the heart. This causes blood to accumulate in the blood vessels and eventually enlarge (varicose veins) or dilate.

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Choosing  the  Right  Doctor

 Choosing  the  right  Doctor  to  treat  your  veins  can  be  a  challenge,  especially  because  the   contemporary  treatment  of  vein  disease  is  quite  different  than  what  was  done  even  as   recently  as  10  years  ago.  This  is  due,  in  part,  to  the  recent  U.S.  Board  Certified  medical   specialty  called  Phlebology,  which  focuses  solely  on  the  diagnosis  and  treatment  of  vein   disease.  While  many  physicians  offer  medical  services  relating  to  vein  disease,  only  a  few   are  Board  Certified  Phlebologists,  a  specialty  that  has  existed  only  since  2008.   In  addition,  the  modern  practice  of  vein  medicine  requires  mastery  of  specific   medical  technology.  Again  the  best  practitioners are Certified; this time in Ultrasonography.

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Are vein Treatments  too expensive to consider?

As cosmetic procedures are generally not covered by insurance and thus an out-of-pocket expense. However, because vein disease is real disease most of the cost is covered by insurance.  Additionally, it is common (25% of the time) for patients to come in for cosmetic procedures like spider vein removal and discover that they have underlying vein disease.  If this happen, then insurance covers it all.

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Varicose veins are purely cosmetic, there's no need to treat them.

 This is likely the most common myth told by doctors today.  Not only is this untrue, it's just bad advice considering the potential side effects of leaving your varicose or spider veins untreated. Although doctors often say that if you feel no pain then you do not need to seek medical attention, varicose veins is definitely an exception to this rule. Unfortunately, if you have an underlying issue of venous insufficiency or venous hypertension (varicose veins) the pain resulting from this disease will increase over time and result in more serious damage to your body (e.g. venous leg ulcers (open wounds), even things like congestive heart failure).  Furthermore, if your varicose veins are left untreated over time the vein values and connective tissue surrounding them will eventually die, then the real pain will occur. With proper treatment these symptoms can be eliminated.

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Are Varicose Veins  a sign of old age.

There are many common myths about varicose and spider veins. The reasons for many of these misconceptions include outdated treatments as well as a lack of specialization. Over the last decade, however, there have been a number of new medical specialties. One in particular and the newest medical Board Specialty--Phlebology (2008)--, has allowed certified practitioners to reveal the truth behind many of these common myths.

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