Six Insane (But True) Facts about Varicose Veins |Happel Laser

Six Insane (But True) Facts about Varicose Veins |Happel Laser

Varicose Vein Treatment in Pittsburgh: Discover the 6 Secret Facts

It’s time to uncover some little known secrets about varicose veins.

Some of these facts are shocking.

Others are surprising.

Certainly, the average person does not know of these esoteric but very important and relevant facts about varicose veins and their treatment.

Intrigued? #varicoseveinsecrets

Let’s get started.

Secret #1 Who is Allowed by Law to Treat Veins?

Any doctor can legally treat varicose veins.

Psychiatrists, proctologists, ear, nose and throat surgeons, chiropractors, and in some states even foot doctors can legally treat veins.

That does not sound right but it is completely true.

That also includes doctors who just finished medical school and have never received any training in any specialty.  The main hitch is that vein doctors practice in their offices.

There is no oversight.

So here’s the thing. Many doctors today are treating veins for the wrong reason. That includes unqualified doctors without vein credentials, untrained doctors, and even opportunistic doctors where profit is the main motivation to practice.

There are almost as many vein centers in Pittsburgh as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Taco Bells and McDonald’s franchises. Vein franchises are metastasizing. They are a menace.

Secret#2 Massive Bleeding Can Occur From Varicose Veins?

Massive bleeding does occur from varicose veins. It is not uncommon. It is very scary because the blood in varicose veins is often under high pressure. That is especially true when you are standing.

The pressure is the highest in the veins of the foot when you stand. That’s just like the pressure in a swimming pool. The pressure is the highest at the deep end and at the bottom.

When you bleed from varicose veins, the blood often squirts across the bathtub.

Secret #3 Who Determines Medical Necessity When Treating Varicose Veins?

Insurance companies – not doctors – determine medical necessity.

Doctors are not free to treat patients as they were trained or in the manner that they know will give best results. People are usually not aware that with varicose vein care, there are restrictions depending on your insurance carrier.

Your insurance company may not cover the best vein procedure for you.  Many insurance companies no longer even cover the compression support stockings required for most varicose vein procedures.

Secret #4 Profiting from Infections from Veins? –Are you Serious?

Serious infections can result from neglected veins that ulcerate through the skin. When the pressure from varicose veins is neglected for many years, the overlying skin near the ankle (where the pressure from the underlying skin is greatest) may break open.

The result is a sore or ulcer that is difficult to heal. The healing process usually involves removing the underlying problem that is often from varicose veins.

If left untreated, serious infections from the open wounds can possibly occur requiring hospitalization.

Amputations from this condition have been described and can occur but are rare especially with proper wound care.

The quest for profits from treating varicose veins is strong in Pittsburgh.

One franchise in Pittsburgh recently offered patients fifty dollars (via a credit card) to come in for a free consult. Was that out of kindness and altruism? On the other hand, was there a strong entrepreneurial motivation?

Financial incentives to treat veins are strong. Medical care in this country is dysfunctional.

Many doctors are looking for a way out. They are burned out with their chosen field. Treating veins is an alternative that some doctors have chosen. They practice out of their field of training.

Secret #5 Blood Clots and Death Can Occur from Vein Treatments

Fortunately, this is rare.

However, blood clots and the spread of clots to the heart and lung can occur after varicose vein removal. Although rare, clots can result from laser vein procedures.

That’s why it is important to go to an experienced, qualified and well-trained doctor.

That will minimize your risk of complications like blood clots.

Secret #6 Newer is Not Always Better

Glue injected into the saphenous vein is the newest treatment for varicose veins. It’s nice not to wear stockings afterwards as advertised with the glue procedure.

The glue procedure is also advertised as involving only one needle stick.

It’s not that easy!

The truth of the matter is that more than half of the people treated with glue for their varicose veins will require more treatments to eliminate their varicose veins completely.

The chances are high that you will need further procedures that do require stockings and do require multiple needle sticks and pinches. If you think about it, what is the advantage?

In addition, insurance companies are not covering the glue procedure that will cost you about $3500 out-of-pocket.  So why not get the problem fixed in one day instead of dragging it out with more expensive and painful treatments?


The six crazy varicose vein facts described above are not known to many people.

Likewise, there are some even crazier facts about vein centers and vein doctors in Pittsburgh that most people don’t know.

Not all vein centers and all vein doctors are alike in Pittsburgh.

What makes the Happel Laser & Vein center unique?

  1. Happel Laser & Vein Centre is not a franchise.
  2. Happel Laser & Vein Center is the only vein center in Pittsburgh that has been inspected.
  3. Happel Laser & Vein Center is the only vein center in Pittsburgh that is accredited.
  4. Happel Laser & Vein Center has the most experienced vein doctor in Pittsburgh specializing in veins (over 30 years)
  5. Dr. Happel is the most qualified vein doctor in Pittsburgh. He completed the Mayo Clinic vascular surgery fellowship 1986. He trained under Dr. Peter Gloviczki, one of the most respected venous vascular surgeons in the country.
  6. Dr. Happel’s specialty is vascular surgery. He is a board certified vascular surgeon. He was trained to treat venous disease and varicose veins. This training differentiates him from so-called “phlebologists” in Pittsburgh who trained in family medicine, emergency room, radiology, or cardiology. These doctors were not trained to treat varicose veins. Most picked up their knowledge to treat veins at a three-day weekend conference or from co-workers.
  7.  Dr. Happel performs the latest cutting-edge minimally invasive procedures. He has an arsenal of tools at his disposal including all of the minimally invasive catheter techniques including laser. Being a surgeon, he is not limited to one or two approaches. Therefore, your vein treatment can be customized for your particular vein problem.

Why would anyone go to a less qualified doctor or to a vein center that has never been inspected?

Be prepared. “Boy scout up” and research your choices before you go for your initial vein consultation.

Call us today at 724-969-0600 to learn more.

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.