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01-15-12 | Posted by

For more than 25 years, Luis Navarro, M.D., FACS, FACPh, founder and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City,  has been the ‘go to’ guy for spider and varicose vein-free legs.

A leader in the research and development of vein treatment methods, he is recognized for revolutionizing the field with his patented Endovenous Laser Ablation technique, an alternative to surgery, which became FDA approved in 2001 and is now globally the preferred method of treating large varicose veins.

Formally schooled at the University of Barcelona, Dr. Navarro completed his surgical training at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. His interest in phlebology flourished and by the late 1970s, while practicing as a general surgeon, he began to investigate and develop new approaches to treating varicose and spider veins. Dr. Navarro’s facility, the Vein Treatment Center, remains one of the first and only facilities exclusively devoted to the treatment of venous disorders.

What are the causes of varicose and spider veins?

Women are 10 times more likely to develop varicose and spider veins than men. The reason we develop veins is genetics, they are inherited from our parents and even grandparents.  If you are born with this predisposition to develop unsightly veins they can appear as early as your teens and worsen as you age due to a variety of contributing factors. Women have many more accelerating factors then men, such as pregnancy, birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy and other factors that plague both sexes are obesity, lack of exercise, weight fluctuation, constipation, prolonged periods of sitting or standing and the aging process.

Please describe the difference between varicose and spider veins.

Varicose veins are large, protruding and rope-like in nature and develop due to a weakening of vein valves and vein walls. Leg veins are fitted with one-way valves that assist in the pumping of blood back to the heart and lungs and thus preventing blood from flowing backwards.  When a valve weakens or becomes defective, gravity forces the blood back down, which collects in the lower legs, causing the veins to bulge outward.

Spider veins are tiny dilated capillaries medically referred to as telangiectases, are blue, red or purplish in color and can crop up in clusters resembling a spider web. In addition to being unsightly and often embarrassing, varicose veins and spider veins can also cause discomfort, with symptoms such as, throbbing, heaviness, achiness and leg cramps.

Unsightly veins can appear on the legs, face, hands and or breasts. Once veins appear they will not disappear on their own you will need to seek treatment to alleviate the symptoms and vanish the veins.

What are the newest and best procedures out there?

My facility offers all the modern forms of treatment, such as “painless” sclerotherapy, duplex-guided and foam sclerotherapy, TIGOS, laser therapy, EVLA, mini-phlebectomy, and ambulatory surgery.  Which treatment or combination of treatments is best suited for a patient will depend on the type, size, location and depth of the vein problem.  After a leg examination and non-invasive testing, such as doppler and if needed ultrasound, a proper diagnosis and treatment plan is developed.

Sclerotherapy or “injection therapy” can successfully treat 90% of all varicose veins and nearly 100% of spider veins safely, effectively and painlessly, with excellent cosmetic results.

The modern sclerotherapy that I perform is “painless,” a spray of cold air temporarily numbs the area during injections. Our use of advancements in magnification, polarized light, transillumination and infrared light now make the veins more visible under the skin, thus improving results and reducing treatment time.  Sclerotherapy, or injection therapy, is the most common treatment for spider and varicose veins on the legs. (Facial, breast, and hand veins may also be treated.) Sclerotherapy consists of injecting a mild chemical solution into the problem vein, which causes the vein to close; the blood is then re-routed to a healthy vein. The body’s natural healing process will absorb the closed vein restoring proper circulation leaving your legs free of unsightly and often painful varicose and spider veins.

Please identify some prevention methods or tips to avoid developing additional varicose and spider veins?

Once treated, there are a few tips to help maintain healthy veins: exercise regularly, monitor BCP & hormone intake, elevate legs, maintain a proper weight, eat a high fiber diet and wear compression stockings.

The treatment of veins is an intricate process and requires an experienced vein specialist. To find a vein specialist in your area, check the American College of Phlebology for a board certified specialist. To find out more about veins go to