The 10 Lies That Varicose Vein Patients Believe in Pittsburgh

The 10 Lies That Varicose Vein Patients Believe in Pittsburgh

What Most People Believe About Their Varicose Veins Is So Wrong!

Truth wooden road sign with cloud and blue sky background.Unlike Jack Nicholson’s character in A Few Good Men, I believe that you can handle the truth about varicose veins if the whole truth is made clear to you.

The purpose of exposing the little white lies that people tell themselves about their abnormal veins is to set you free.

If you have varicose veins, we hope that this important article will motivate you to seek the best varicose vein help available in Pittsburgh before they get worse.

That is the truth and it is inevitable.

At the end of their initial consultation, most people say, “I wish I would have come to see you sooner”.

Here are the most common misconceptions that people assume about varicose veins that often delays their treatment.

Here we go.

The Ten Lies People Believe About Varicose Veins

  1. Varicose veins are just cosmetic.
spider veins on the legs

Spider veins on the leg

“My primary care doctor told me that – it must be true.”

Contrary to popular belief, varicose veins aren’t cosmetic.

Spider veins, on the other hand (or leg), are cosmetic and never covered by insurance companies unless they have bled.

Spider veins are the tiny ones that look like they were drawn on your leg with a pen.

Varicose veins are the big bulging veins like the ones on the back of your hands.

  1. If I exercise and lose weight, they will get better.

The truth is that there’s no exercise that will change any of your veins for better or worse.

Just like hair color and eye color, varicose veins can be passed from one generation to the next.

Other factors can exacerbate the problem like pregnancy, obesity and occupations where you are sitting or standing for extended periods of time.

However, exercising will not help at all if you have varicose veins.

  1. If I ignore them maybe they’ll go away.

head in the sandThat doesn’t work for the ostrich and it won’t work with your varicose veins.

Ix-nay the ed-hay in the and-say.

Neglected varicose veins often lead to complications like swelling of the leg, phlebitis, irreversible skin changes and ulceration.

Don’t let that happen to you.

  1. The closer and more convenient the vein center is – the better.

They’re all the same, aren’t they?


Vein centers come in all flavors.

IAC Certificate from Happel Laser and Vein Center

IAC certificate of vein center accreditation Happel Laser and Vein Center in Pittsburgh

  • Accredited vs. unaccredited.
  • Inspected vs. never inspected
  • Trained vein specialists vs. general doctors learning on-the- job.

In Pittsburgh, all of these vein center options are out there.

Choosing the right vein center is an investment.

More on that later.

As the patient, you need to make the right decisions. Understand your options and alternatives.

Having open discussions with a vein specialist who isn’t in a rush is important.

  1. One easy step – one and done, right?

A few people have actually asked me at the beginning of their initial consultation – one visit – one and done?

You’ve seen the ads.

The marketing makes it seem so simple.

These TV ads have turned more heads than an Army doctor.

The truth is that getting rid of your varicose veins quickly, sometimes in just one day, is sometimes possible but unlikely.

The vein procedure du jour (lately it’s varicose vein glue) rarely gets rid of them without an additional procedure like sclerotherapy or phlebectomy.

It all depends on the extent and distribution of your abnormal veins.

  1. It’s Completely Covered by Insurance.

insurance claim rejected signIt has become extremely adversarial.

Insurance companies really don’t have your best interests at heart.

They are out to make as big a profit as possible.

Varicose veins are in the cross hairs of these huge insurance corporations.

Your premiums aren’t decreasing, are they?

Then why are accepted and extremely useful vein procedures like ultrasound guided sclerotherapy not covered by Highmark and Medicare?

The largest health insurer, United, has arbitrary cut off numbers for the size of the vein to be eligible for coverage. Their cut off numbers are unsupported by the medical literature.

These kind of tactics have resulted in significant improvement in their stock price (not yours).

Some insurance companies don’t cover varicose veins at all (fortunately, that’s still rare).

Rising deductibles, copays and coinsurance are the methods that they use to shift the coverage of medical problems back to you.

I would counter this medical-legal babble with the old cliché – do what’s right and in the best interest of the patient.

That’s what I believe and how I practice.

  1. I don’t want my veins stripped so I’ve been putting it off.

Many people are still afraid of the old stripping operation that a relative may have had years ago.

In the United States, this barbaric stripping procedure is rarely done any more.

In Europe, it’s still done quite frequently.

Here, minimally invasive varicose vein treatments done under local anesthesia are the rule.

  1. Multiple spider treatments are necessary and need maintenance.

Most people hope that there’s a magic laser somewhere in the office that will just zap those ugly little spider veins away without any discomfort or pain.

That simply doesn’t exist.

Groupon couponSteer clear of Groupon deals for spider veins, vein screenings, and free consults.

These tactics smack of desperation.

These are all signs of sketchy, pea weight vein centers.

In today’s capitalistic society, be smart and keep a healthy dose of skepticism when approaching a vein center on your own.

I pity the fool who doesn’t do their due diligence and research but just chooses the closest vein clinic to their house for convenience.

  1. Cured for life?

Remember when I said choosing a vein center is an investment?

Because varicose veins are a genetic disorder, new veins can appear.

You want to stay with the same vein specialist who knows your case.

But if the same veins came back because you weren’t treated properly in the first place, that gets frustrating and expensive.

The answer is simple – if the doctor treated your veins properly, the same ones shouldn’t come back.

  1. Support stockings – a big deal?

The truth is that most people say it’s the worst part of the treatment.varicose vein therapy

Think about it for a minute.

If wearing support stockings for vein treatment is the worst part of it, how bad could it be?

Usually, you only have to sleep in them for one night and then wear them for about a week during the day.

It’s really no big deal.


To sum it up, training, experience, and seeking out an accredited vein center are all very important.

Our core value is – we really care.

Dr John HappelWe care about your experience, your results, and about fulfilling your expectations.

Mark my words, when you walk in, I’ll be greeting you with a warm, inviting smile.

I look forward to welcoming you to my practice.

Call us at 724-969-0600 today to discover how we can help you.

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.