Sexy Legs for Springs
As Spring has finally arrived, we are ready to start showing off those sexy legs. Dr. Bunke at La Jolla Vein Care, a leader in vein treatment, shares with us about the values of leg health, the myths (no it’s not just a problem for your grandma!) and why treatments go beyond aesthetic benefits.
Modeliste’s Editor experienced first-hand their state-of-the-art ultrasound diagnostic procedure and received the ultimate in vein treatment advice and treatment options. Here, why spider veins happen—and how to treat them in time for beach season and all year-round.
Tell us about La Jolla Vein Care and what makes it so unique and such a leader in vein treatments.
La Jolla Vein Care is unique because we exclusively specialize in vein disorders. This means we are able to perform all ultrasound diagnostics in-office and offer all treatment options for vein conditions vs. a one-size-fits-all approach based on more limited treatment availability. Since we are skilled in all modern treatment modalities, we can truly customize a treatment plan to the unique needs of the patient. Our leading-edge treatments are able to treat most vein conditions, including large varicose veins without surgery, using endovenous techniques.
La Jolla Vein Care is also one of the only vein centers in Southern California that is accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC). IAC accreditation is a “seal of approval” that patients can rely on as an indication that the facility has been carefully critiqued on all aspects of its operations considered relevant by medical experts in the field of Vascular Testing and as a Vein Center. All of our physicians are Fellowship-trained and are involved in clinical research and publications and are truly experts in their fields. We teach other doctors and medical students, and I’ve even written the textbook on vein conditions.
Why is leg health so important?
Some people think various vein treatment is just a superficial or cosmetic fix. This couldn’t be further from the truth. If left untreated, venous reflux disease and varicose veins can cause symptoms that interfere with life, like leg pain, aching, fatigue, night-time cramps and restless legs. Complications can occur such as darkening of the skin around the ankles (venous stasis), blood clots, spontaneous vein rupture and leg ulcerations.
Beyond the aesthetic benefits, what are the additional benefits to having veins treated.
Improvements in appearance are just the icing on the cake. What really matters is overall patient health. Treatment of the underlying venous reflux reduces venous hypertension, thereby reducing symptoms of leg heaviness, fatigue, swelling and pain in some. It also prevents progression of disease and the complications mentioned above.
Can you tell us more about the process?
Visible varicose veins are often just the “tip of the iceberg” pointing to a deeper underlying condition. Ultrasound evaluation of the veins beneath the skin (including both deep and superficial veins) can identify problems with valve function, direction of blood flow and blood clots. Therefore, the first step in evaluating venous disease is an ultrasound examination. Based on this exam, a treatment plan is customized.
As travel has finally begun to resume, what are things that we can do to maintain vein health during flights?
One percent of passengers on long-haul flights have been shown to develop a deep venous thrombosis (DVT). This is a life-threatening condition. Compression stockings help reduce the risk of DVT. Therefore, on long flights compression stockings are important as well as performing frequent calf muscle pumps, staying hydrated along with stretching and walking about the cabin in order to reduce the risk of DVT. Compression also reduces symptoms of leg swelling and fatigue.
What are some of the myths or misconceptions around vein health? Which are true and which are false?
1. MYTH: Varicose veins are a cosmetic issue.
Fact: Varicose veins are often a sign of underlying vein disease and can have serious consequences.
2. MYTH: Varicose veins only affect women.
Fact: While women suffer from vein problems three times more commonly than men, men also suffer from vein disease. We see men every day for varicose vein issues.
3. MYTH: Wearing high heels and crossing your legs causes spider veins.
Fact: There is no proof of this. Most commonly, vein conditions are caused by heredity, age, hormones, pregnancy and sitting occupations.
4. MYTH: If my parent had varicose veins, I am likely to get them.
Fact: Yes, there is a hereditary component to varicose veins. Having one parent with varicose veins increases your risk and if both parents with varicose veins, there is a 90 percent chance you will also develop them sometime during your life.
5. MYTH: Only old people get varicose veins.
Fact: While the risk of vein conditions increases with each decade of life, young healthy people can get them too. We frequently see men and women in their 20s and 30s—and especially women after childbirth, as pregnancy also increases the risk of varicose veins. Fifty percent of women who have had three or more pregnancies have varicose veins.
6. MYTH: Varicose veins indicate generalized poor health.
Fact: This is untrue. Even Olympic athletes get varicose veins.
When is it important to begin having veins checked?
It is important to get checked if signs of venous disease are present including symptoms such as leg heaviness, fatigue, swelling, pain or night-time symptoms restless legs or cramps. Also, if you have experienced complications such as blood clots, or see visible indications such as darkening of the skin around the ankles or open ulcers around the ankles you should be checked. Really, we encourage anyone who has concerns to look into this area of their health as an ultrasound is a painless, non-invasive test.
Is the treatment painful? Any side effects? Recovery time?
There are a variety of treatments that are customized to the patients’ needs, but all treatments are tolerable with little pain and take about 30 minutes. For patients concerned about pain with injection treatment, we offer the region’s only cryosclerotherapy, which is painless because a puff of cold air anesthetizes the skin before the needle touches it. Patients walk out of the office and return to most normal activities immediately. Heavy exercise is discouraged for two weeks following treatment, but there is no limit to the amount of walking and light activity patients can do – even immediately after treatment.
Why we will love La Jolla Vein Care.
The expertise of the physicians, staff and our friendly, welcoming environment. We pride ourselves on being more like a concierge medical practice, where attention to patients by staff and physicians is unparalleled. During treatments, patients watch Netflix comfortably and are offered a sparkling water and snack when they leave.