What is the Difference Between Medical and Cosmetic Vein Treatment?

Woman on couch with exposed legs holding back side of ankle

Are you troubled by varicose or spider veins? You’re not alone.  Roughly 20% of adults in the U.S. are living with varicose veins; and it is estimated that up to 55 percent of women and 45 percent of men are affected by spider veins.

So, if you are one of the millions of Americans living with unsightly and often bothersome veins, a wide range of minimally invasive treatment options exist to help you address them and feel more confident.

In this blog, we will discuss general vein treatment as well as the main differences between medical versus cosmetic vein treatment. 

Medical professional using pen to point out minor spider veins

What is Vein Treatment?

Before getting into the specifics of medical and cosmetic vein treatments, let's take a moment to understand the broader concept of vein treatment.

Vein treatments are designed to address various vein-related issues that can impact both your health and appearance. Veins are vital in your circulatory system, carrying deoxygenated blood back to the heart. When veins are compromised, it can lead to discomfort, pain, and aesthetic concerns. Vein treatments take on a significant role in addressing these multifaceted challenges. By implementing appropriate medical and cosmetic interventions, these treatments aim to restore the optimal functionality of veins, mitigate discomfort, alleviate pain, and address cosmetic worries.

Woman examining her own foot and leg for spider veins

What are Medical Vein Treatments?

When it comes to medical vein treatment, our primary goal is to address underlying health concerns and alleviate symptoms that may be causing discomfort or posing a risk to your overall well-being. Conditions such as venous insufficiency, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and varicose veins fall under this category. Here's what you need to know:

  • Diagnosis and Assessment: For effective medical vein treatment, we use advanced imaging techniques to diagnose the root cause of your condition. This allows us to create a personalized treatment plan based on your needs.
  • Health Insurance Coverage: Insurance often covers medical vein treatments, especially when symptoms are present. We work with patients and providers to ensure seamless treatment.
  • Treatment Techniques: Medical treatments for veins prioritize resolving core issues. Vein treatment approaches include:
    1. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) use energy to seal the problematic vein and enhance blood circulation, demonstrating our commitment to advanced technologies for optimal patient outcomes.
    2. Ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical procedure that treats large, bulging varicose veins that persist after less invasive procedures have been performed. Varicose veins are removed with specialized instruments with local anesthesia and no stitches are required. Most patients return to work the next day.
    3. Varithena is a minimally invasive non-surgical injection treatment using microfoam. This causes the vein to collapse and reroutes blood to healthier veins.
    4. Sclerotherapy is a treatment for varicose and spider veins. A sclerosing solution is injected into the affected veins, causing the walls to collapse and seal shut. This leads to the gradual fading of the veins as we tailor the solutions to address veins of varying sizes.
woman examining her own llegs for spider veins

What are Cosmetic Vein Treatments?

Cosmetic vein treatment, on the other hand, focuses on improving the appearance of veins that are primarily a cosmetic concern. Spider veins and small, superficial varicose veins are typical examples. Let's explore further:

  • Aesthetic Enhancement: Cosmetic vein treatment focuses on improving the appearance of spider veins and small, superficial varicose veins, which are bothersome due to their visibility. 
  • Elevating Visual Appeal:The core principle of cosmetic vein treatment is to enhance the appearance of legs and skin by reducing spider and varicose veins, which can boost self-confidence and body image.
  • Self-Pay Basis: Unlike medical vein treatments, which may be covered by health insurance due to their therapeutic nature, cosmetic vein treatments are typically considered elective. This means that individuals who choose these treatments must generally pay for them out of their pockets. Personal aesthetic goals drive these treatments, as they involve procedures that are selected to align with an individual's desires for a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
  • Treatment Techniques: The techniques used in cosmetic vein treatments, such as sclerotherapy, gradually fade targeted veins to improve skin aesthetics safely and effectively.

Cosmetic vein treatment has emerged as a unique field within the broader spectrum of vein care. By comparison, medical vein treatments focus on addressing underlying health concerns, whereas cosmetic vein treatments offer the opportunity to alleviate aesthetic worries.

Vein treatments have both medical and cosmetic approaches. Medical treatments address health issues through techniques like RFA, EVLT, Ambulatory Phlebectomy, Varithena and Sclerotherapy, often covered by insurance. Cosmetic treatments enhance appearance using self-funded methods like sclerotherapy. 

To discuss your needs, schedule an appointment with our vein specialists for personalized guidance. 

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