Dr. Happel’s Unconventional Insider’s Varicose Vein Guide

Dr. Happel’s Unconventional Insider’s Varicose Vein Guide

Varicose Vein Epiphanies

An epiphany is the shock of realizing something you didn’t see in the first place. An epiphany is the aha moment. It’s when you suddenly realize something.

In the varicose vein world, it’s an unpleasant awareness of a problem you didn’t even know existed.

Like when a varicose vein clots after a long plane or car ride. That is called varicose vein thrombophlebitis or phlebitis. The varicose vein suddenly becomes very hot, red, hard and often very sore. It can last weeks to months. There is no quick and fast remedy. You have to suffer until that clot slowly dissolves by itself.

Varicose veins are a result of chronic venous insufficiency. That means the blood in your veins is backing up by gravity toward your feet instead of returning to your heart.

Two thirds of patients with deep vein blood clots have preexisting chronic venous insufficiency. Deep venous clots can move to the heart or lungs and result in death.

This important information that blood clots are closely associated with venous insufficiency was just published online on November 6, 2015 by Shaydakov, Camerota and Lurie in the Journal of Vascular Surgery: Venous and Lymphatic Disorders.

Why Varicose Vein Epiphanies Unfortunately Occur

Epiphanies are surprises of an unfolding truth. Another vein epiphany occurs when your veins suddenly and without warning bleeds massively in the shower squirting blood onto the side of the tub or shower stall. It’s very scary.

Regrettably, conventional wisdom dictates to many people that varicose veins are cosmetic. Many primary care physicians really believe that varicose veins are just cosmetic.

Those primary care doctors often tell their patients to ignore their varicose veins. Many other doctors and nurses also falsely believe that varicose veins are just unsightly.

Your primary care physician may only be aware of the results of the outdated vein surgery and stripping operations. They may view that cure as worse than the disease.

However, over the past few years, many new minimally invasive options have rapidly come to market. Most are FDA approved. There is little discomfort involved if the veins are treated in their earlier stages.

Changes in the Treatment of Varicose Veins

Varicose vein treatments are evolving at a rapid rate. Often patients ask me to tell them the latest developments in vein surgery and treatment. These new technologies include varicose vein glue, proprietary foam that is injected into veins, and a mechanico-chemical device that can ablate veins.

Therefore ignoring your symptomatic varicose veins only leads to the inevitable worsening of the condition. As time passes, your varicose veins enlarge. As they get bigger, the pressure inside them inevitably also increases.

Treating your varicose veins with these latest varicose vein procedures is the smart thing to do.

Allowing them to progress into larger and more complex issues makes no sense. Would you allow a cavity in your tooth to progress to an abscessed tooth? Varicose veins will undeniably only worsen over time.

Why Varicose Veins Aren’t Just Cosmetic

Neglected varicose veins can cause complications and serious problems.

Venous stasis dermatitis or eczema can occur from longstanding venous hypertension. Venous hypertension is increased pressure in your leg veins from blood backing up from faulty valves inside of them.

The skin becomes brown and thickens as the venous pressure increases. Ulcerations or sores on the skin are the last stage of this process. Often the deep veins are also diseased when this occurs.

Ulcerations resulting from venous insufficiently are very difficult to treat. They are the “train wreck” of the venous disease spectrum. Preventing your veins from getting worse by having them treated is the ultimate solution.

Get varicose vein treatment sooner rather than later. Vein disease is progressive. Avoid the consequences that can be debilitating.

Another Type of Varicose Vein Epiphany

Another aha moment occurs quite frequently in the varicose vein world. That is when you walk into a vein clinic but you never even see the doctor. An assistant of some kind orders a test. Is the test even necessary or is it a money making endeavor by the vein clinic?

Someone (whom you never see) diagnoses your condition and recommends a treatment.

There is an unexpected realization that you are a “case” engulfed by a vein franchise machine. That makes you feel suddenly uncomfortable. These types of franchised vein centers usually have high turnover of personnel and therefore employ people that are more inexperienced.

These moments chasten you.

“Aha!” you say,”

  1. I think I’ll stop and do some research on the latest varicose vein information.
  2. I’ll look for a vein doctor who actually sees me (and not some kind of assistant) on my first consultation day and discusses the goals for my treatment.
  3. I’ll find a vein specialist, preferably a board certified vascular surgeon, who explains everything so that I can understand my vein problem and the recommended treatment.
  4. I’ll look for an accredited varicose vein treatment center.”

Therefore, instead of responding to some random ad on television, or the radio or in a magazine, do some research on the internet first. Look for a board certified vascular surgeon who is a varicose vein specialist with over three decades of experience in treating only veins.

Many people deeply regret choosing the closest vein center and not doing any research first.


Avoid those varicose vein epiphany moments. Don’t neglect your varicose veins.

Eventually you will regret ignoring diseased veins in your legs. Those enlarged and bulging veins will only get larger and worse over time.

Avoid varicose vein home remedies or natural supplements. They don’t work.

Choosing your vein doctor wisely is another way to avoid the second kind of vein epiphany.

Research your varicose vein doctor as much or more than you would the purchase of a new car.

Your vein doctor should present an individualized treatment plan and options to you. Not some type of medical assistant. The vein specialist who does all of your treatments should discuss all of your procedures, the risks and alternative treatments.

Get a second opinion if you feel uncomfortable at any time during the process.

Better yet.

Seek treatment at the only accredited varicose vein center in Pittsburgh. Vein center accreditation is a seal of approval that national vein authorities have inspected a vein center.

They inspect restaurants, hospitals and even nail salons, don’t they?

The Happel Laser & Vein Center is the only vein center in Pittsburgh that has been inspected!

At Happel Laser and Vein Center, the best varicose vein doctor with the longest personal experience treating veins in Pittsburgh will see you on your initial consultation. He will explain the cause of your symptoms of your veins in terms that you can easily understand.

If have experienced an epiphany that you were not in the right place, call us at 724-969-0600 or click here for another opinion.

About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.