The Oregon Clinic - Pacific Northwest Vein Center
Varicose veins and spider veins affect millions of men and women.
Statistics show that nearly 70% of all women and 30% of all men will develop some form of venous disease during their lifetime due to insufficient blood circulation.
At Pacific Northwest Vein Center our Surgeons pride themselves on providing the latest, high quality treatment and management in venous disease. Our goal is to make your experience with our center positive and safe.
We offer safe, precise, effective and minimally invasive treatment options to treat your specific needs. Our services are performed safely in our office, by your surgeon and under local anesthesia, avoiding surgery and hospital stays. Usually, you can return to normal activity the next day.
Pacific Northwest Vein Center offers a complete package for varicose and spider vein treatment. We have the ability to treat your entire venous needs.
- Varicose veins
- Spider veins
- Reticular veins
- High pressured small vein disease
- Small-branching varices
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Venous ulcers
We are specialists in the following procedures to treat vein conditions and diseases:
- Minimally invasive Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)
- Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
- Compression Stocking
Previous surgical treatment for vein conditions was ligation and stripping of the greater saphenous vein, which required the use of an operating room, Unna boot bandaging, and local wound care. The development of endovenous laser ablation as an outpatient minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins and stasis ulcers has been an exciting new development in the field of venous disease that we are pleased to offer at our center.
For over 20 years, the surgeons at Pacific Northwest Vein Center, a service of The Oregon Clinic, have treated varicose veins, venous stasis ulcers, and DVT.
All our surgeons are board certified by the American College of Surgeons and American College of Phlebology, and currently have an active practice in the Portland area.
Meet Our Team
Venous disease is a complex medical condition.
Nearly 50% of the adult population suffers from undesirable, sometimes painful vein diseases.
Many times, a patient will initially ask to have the spider vein treated, often believing that it can happen with a single treatment. At Pacific Northwest Vein Center, we believe in treating the entire condition, not just the symptom. Our surgeons will examine your legs and feet and will provide a comprehensive exam prior to making suggestions for treatment. In some cases, spider veins may be related to an underlying medical problem known as venous insufficiency or reflux, with symptoms ranging from itching or a dull ache to a throbbing pain and bleeding. An ultrasound may be necessary to determine if you have underlying problems in your veins (reflux) that need to be treated in order for the vein condition to be completely resolved.
A varicose vein is an enlarged vein, the contents of which are stagnant or refluxing. The function of your veins is to channel blood back to the heart. The larger veins have valves which direct the flow of blood. When any of these valves fail, blood can accumulate under pressure, engorging and distorting the veins in your leg. Varicose veins appear as either bulging and rope-like, or small and thread-like. They can result in aching, tired and swollen legs; create a burning, throbbing, or itching sensation; and cause muscle cramps and a general restlessness in your legs. Varicose veins are a vascular disorder requiring treatment for medical reasons.
One clear factor is heredity. Most patients who suffer from varicose veins have a family history of the condition. Another factor is hormonal changes that specifically affect women. Pregnancy or birth control pills further increase your chances of developing vein disorders. Other contributing factors include prolonged standing, being overweight and/or trauma to the leg.
Spider veins appear to be hormonally induced and are associated with pregnancy and menstruation. Although spider veins are not usually symptomatic, the accompanying reticular veins, found deeper in the skin, often cause discomfort. Reticular veins are also referred to as “feeder” veins. Many women have a combination of both varicose and spider veins. While they may seek treatment for cosmetic improvement, many female patients are in fact looking for relief from pain.
Varicose vein disease can be very complex and each patient is unique. Therefore, it’s important to find a physician experienced in treating the entire spectrum of vein disease from spider veins, to large ropey varicose veins to leg ulcers. At Pacific Northwest Vein Center, our physicians are board certified general surgeons. They are experienced in treating all aspect of venous disease. They are dedicated to providing individualized treatment plans for each patient that meet your individual needs. They will thoroughly evaluate your health and medical condition, discuss the details of your situation so you feel comfortable and present you with a course of action that works best for you. We recognize that each person and their treatment needs are different.
An endovenous laser is used to treat large veins beneath the surface of the skin. Surface lasers treat the lighter, more delicate spider veins that appear close to the skin's surface.
Sclerotherapy is a microinjection procedure that requires no pain medication or surgery. Abnormal veins are destroyed by injecting a solution called a sclerosant, which irritates the vein wall. It is not simply injecting the sclerosant, but paying attention to the volume, concentration and “exposure time” that makes the difference between success and failure.
The sclerosant we use is an FDA-approved medication, which intentionally causes injury to the inner vein wall. This injury occurs in a controlled manner, depending on the volume and concentration of the medication used in each site. The medication is inactivated quickly by dilutional effect and interaction with structural components of the vein wall, making the effect localized. The initial injury to the vein wall results in a healing process which causes the vein to literally heal shut over time. This results in shrinkage of the vein, and eventually, complete obliteration of the target vein.
As with all medical procedures, side effects and complications are possible. This is why it is important to seek treatment from an experienced physician. Allergic reactions are extremely rare and are mild when they do occur. They are somewhat more likely to occur when treating larger varicose veins because the medicine is more concentrated and used in greater volumes. You may develop itching dermatitis (inflammation of the skin) and a mild, temporary increase in pigmentation (staining of the skin) if you have any of the following: darker skin, overly sensitive skin, very dense spider veins, or if your skin is already damaged because your veins have deteriorated too much.
Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) and Radiofrequency Ablation are FDA-approved treatments for varicose veins. Both have been extensively reviewed by the physicians of The Pacific Northwest Vein Center to be certain it was safe and effective before introducing it to our patients. Both procedures are a quick, minimally invasive treatment that requires no hospitalization and no complicated surgery. The entire procedure, start to finish, takes about one hour and causes minimal to no pain. Performed under ultrasound guidance, EVLT and Radiofrequency Ablation use heat to treat the underlying cause of varicose veins by closing off the vein to any future blood flow. Your body then naturally uses other healthy veins to return blood from the heart.
Major complications resulting from ELT are very rare. Various levels of discomfort can occur as well as some bruising, bleeding, numbness in the leg and rarely skin burns. Very rarely (less than 1%), blood clots in the deep veins (Deep Vein Thrombosis) may occur. People with a history of blood clots in the deep veins (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and inflammation in a small vein near the surface of the skin (thrombophlebitis) may be at greater risk for problems related to varicose vein surgery.
Varicose veins are a burden on your circulation. Because the blood inside them is refluxing (going backwards), correcting the flow can only improve your circulation. In treating varicose veins, we eliminate only the bad veins and safeguard the healthy veins for normal circulation. Ultrasound helps to ensure that treatment is highly selective.
If you have a chronic vein problem, your chances of recurrence are affected by several factors, the most important of which is the thoroughness of your treatment. Unfortunately, many patients quit treatment too early – usually, once they believe their legs look “good enough.” In fact, remnants of the veins left in the leg can quickly grow into more veins.
As you probably know, postponing any type of treatment can have its drawbacks. Varicose vein disease is a progressive disease that, if left untreated, will only get worse. When making a decision about your varicose veins, keep in mind that the sooner you get your veins treated, the easier they are to treat and control.
Your entire course of treatment will be at our center which will save you time and money, avoiding a hospital stay. Usually, you can resume most activities shortly after each session. Prior to your treatment, you will receive detailed post operative instructions.
All our physicians are board certified general surgeons who have extensive experience in all areas of venous disease.
When you come to us, you will complete a patient medical history form that will help the surgeons understand your medical history and current concerns. It is possible that they will require some diagnostic studies, such as an ultra sound to help diagnose the extent of your venous disease. Once your doctor understands your medical needs, they will discuss and develop a plan of care specific to you. You will meet with our support staff that will assist you with insurance questions, financing and scheduling of your treatment.
Our surgeons may recommend a diagnostic test called Duplex Ultrasound. This state-of-the-art technology provides painless and non-invasive testing, and is performed in the physician's office. Again, this will help us diagnosis and treatment your medical condition.
In many cases, depending on your coverage and benefits, your insurance company will pay for the procedure. Many insurance companies first require 3-6 months of conservative therapy (use of compression stockings, weight loss, exercise and anti-inflammatory treatment). If the conservative method does not work for you, then your insurance company may pay for surgical therapy.You should also make sure to have a referral from your family doctor for your initial consultation, as it will allow us to bill your insurance for this visit.
That will depend on your individual treatment plan, but a general guideline is about an hour.
We have special packages available for spider treatment only. Since you are still having a medical procedure, we do require a consultation prior to start of treatment. We do not bill insurance companies for this type of treatment since it is considered cosmetic in nature. On average, you will need about 3 sessions.
No. Most pregnancy related varicose veins will resolve on their own within 6- 8 weeks after you deliver. We would suggest waiting until you are at least two months post-partum. If you still have varicose veins, make an appointment to see one of our surgeons.
Risk Factors of Venous Disease
The most common form of venous disease are spider and varicose veins.
Spider Veins are small blue or red vessels visible within the skin, usually on the leg, face, neck and chest. Spider veins are caused when small blood vessels just below the surface of the skin become damaged. They can form webs of blue, purple, or red veins. These 'spider veins' rarely cause serious symptoms on their own, but can be an indication of a more serious underlying issue. Treatment for spider veins can range from laser treatments and Sclerotherapy. The number of sessions will vary depending on the degree and complexity.
Varicose Veins are dilated and ropey appearing blue vessels visible under the skin, often 1/4 inch or larger in diameter. Varicose veins are caused when a damaged vein causes blood to flow in the wrong direction. When the vein does not function properly, blood pools, pressure builds up, and the veins become weakened, enlarged, and twisted. This is called venous insufficiency. The most common site of varicose veins is in the leg.
- Some people may be more likely than others to develop varicose veins because of inherited characteristics (genetics) and the aging process. Varicose veins may also result from conditions that increase pressure on the leg veins, such as being overweight or pregnant, or having an occupation that requires standing for long periods of time.
- People with varicose veins often may or may not have symptoms. If you have varicose veins, your legs may feel heavy, tired, achy, and painful. Symptoms may worsen after standing or sitting for long periods of time. Varicose veins can also cause skin color changes (stasis pigmentation), dry, thinned skin, skin inflammation, open sores (ulcerations), or bleeding after a minor injury.
- Superficial thrombophlebitis is when a blood clot and inflammation develop in a small vein near the surface of the skin and can develop in varicose veins.
- In some cases, varicose veins can signal a blockage in the deeper veins. This condition, called deep vein thrombosis, requires evaluation and possibly treatment.