Frequently Asked Questions

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Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are the larger bulging veins that can clearly be seen on the surface of the skin. While they are commonly found in the legs, they can also present on other areas of the body. For most, the treatment of varicose veins will be for cosmetic reasons; however, for some people it will be due to aching, pain, swelling, eczema, or ulcers. 

Varicose veins are caused by unhealthy vales inside the veins preventing the normal flow of blood back towards the heart. This results in blood pooling in the veins, causing them to enlarge and distort.

Both women and men get varicose veins, and they are more likely to occur as you age. Varicose veins are common, with around 30-50% of adults developing them.

Risk factors include:

  • Family history of varicose veins
  • Being overweight
  • A job that requires a lot of standing
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth control pill use
  • Hormone replacement therapy.

Varicose veins may not cause any pain, with the main symptoms being:

  • Veins that are dark purple or blue in colour
  • Veins that appear twisted and bulging, they are often like cords on your legs.

When painful signs and symptoms occur, they may include:

  • An achy or heavy feeling in your legs
  • Burning, throbbing, muscle cramping and swelling in your lower legs
  • Worsened pain after sitting or standing for a long time
  • Itching around one or more of your veins
  • Skin discoloration around a varicose vein.

No. Crossing your legs will not cause varicose veins or spider veins.

There is no way to completely prevent varicose veins. However, by improving your circulation and muscle tone, you will also likely decrease your risk of developing varicose veins or of getting new ones. Other measures that can be taken to help decrease risk include:

  • Exercise
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Watching your weight
  • Avoiding high heals
  • Elevating your legs
  • Changing your sitting position regularly.

Recent research suggests that those who have varicose veins are more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis or a pulmonary embolism. However, this research is new and further investigations need to be done to verify the findings.

If you notice increased swelling or pain, or a brownish skin discolouration on your legs or veins that is red, hot, and painful, you should contact your doctor.

This is a common question we get asked by women who experienced painful varicose veins during pregnancy.

On one hand, if you treat the veins before pregnancy, you will likely decrease the development of varicosities during the pregnancy and receive more comfort. However, there is still a chance your varicose veins will return, especially with subsequent pregnancies.

On the other hand, if you treat the veins after pregnancy, they will have less chance of recurrence as they will not be placed under the pressure caused by the enlarged uterus.

Whether they are treated before and after will be a decision needing to be made on a case-by-case basis with the pros and cons being discussed between yourself and Doctor Cohen.

Varicose veins in pregnancy are common and will vary in severity. For most women, their varicose veins will improve between three to four months pos-pregnancy as the elevated pressure caused by increased blood volume, foetal growth and weight gain, and hormonal fluctuations return to normal. However, for some women the varicose veins will persist and may worsen with subsequent pregnancies.

During pregnancy, any form of surgical intervention should be avoided. There are non-surgical treatment options available including the use of compression stockings, maintaining a healthy diet, elevating your legs, and remaining physically active.

The treatment of varicose veins will be largely dependent on your unique situation and symptoms, as well as their physical presence. It is for this reason that Doctor Cohen will meet with you one-on-one to discuss the best approach to suit your needs.

Some of the treatment options include:

The varicose vein surgery (radiofrequency ablation) will only take one day; however, it will take around four to six weeks for you to see results. This will of course be dependent on the type and severity of your veins. Although Doctor Cohen will always aim for 100% removal, the most likely outcome will be a 90% improvement in cosmetic appearance. Approximately 10 to 15% of patients will have their varicose veins reoccur in their lifetime.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are small, damaged veins that commonly occur on the legs, face, and neck. While they are generally not painful and are not of medical concern, their appearance as thin red lines or weblike networks can cause cosmetic concern.

Spider veins occur when the valves inside the larger feeder veins allow blood to flow backwards instead of upwards towards the heart. This can lead to non-functional veins that appear underneath the surface of your skin as spider veins. Spider veins are commonly hereditary, meaning that if your parents or grandparent have them, it is likely you will develop them as well.

Spider veins are not painful and are no cause for medical concern.

Spider veins are a mild symptom of varicose veins disease. Aside from an unpleasant appearance, you may experience some discomfort.

Lifestyle changes and self-care tips can help prevent new spider veins appearing or stop existing ones from getting worse. These include:

  • Wearing sunscreen
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Staying mobile
  • Avoiding tight clothing
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Elevating the legs.

Treatment for spider veins can be quick, minimally invasive and will not require a trip to the hospital. The treatment is designed to close off the feeder veins, resulting in blood returning to veins with properly working valves. The dead veins will eventually be reabsorbed into the body.

The two most common treatment options for spider veins include surface laser therapy and injection sclerotherapy.

Depending on the type and distribution of your spider veins, as well as your skin type, Doctor Cohen will likely recommend a combination of surface laser therapy alongside injection sclerotherapy. The surface laser will treat the smaller fine veins, while the injection sclerotherapy will treat the larger veins.

Treatment for spider veins will usually take between six to 12 months, with visits required every 12 to 14 weeks. This will of course be dependent on the type and severity of your veins. Although Doctor Cohen will always aim for 100% removal, the most likely outcome will be a 70% improvement in cosmetic appearance. This should last between three to five years.


Treatments are partly covered by Medicare however a gap payment will usually be required.

Private health insurance will not cover procedures that are done outside of a hospital. However, for those that require a hospital stay private health will likely cover in-hospital procedures. Please speak to your health insurer to find out what kind of coverage is available.


In order to claim a Medicare rebate, you will require a referral from a GP or Medical Specialists.

No. To ensure the best treatment options are provided, you will be required to attend for a consultation appointment prior to your treatment appointment.

In some cases, an ultrasound scan will be required. This will allow Doctor Cohen to understand the underlying pathology before any treatment plans are undertaken.

If you would like to, we can organise for you to have a scan at The Vascular Lab, our specialise vascular ultrasound clinic. Scans at The Vascular Lab will be bulk billed.

This will be dependent on how old the images are, and if they provide the detail required for Doctor Cohen to provide treatment advice. In most cases, the scans will not have been completed by someone who specialises in Vascular Ultrasound, therefore new ones will be recommended.

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