Mayo Trained Vein Doctor | Top Vein Doctor in Pittsburgh | Happel Laser and Vein Center

Mayo Trained Vein Doctor | Top Vein Doctor in Pittsburgh | Happel Laser and Vein Center

Ask the Mayo Clinic Trained Vein Doctor: What Is the Best Treatment for Varicose Veins?

Curious woman on white background with question marksThe better question is – What is the best treatment for your varicose veins.

Everyone’s varicose veins are very different.

Here’s what the Mayo Clinic says about varicose vein treatments.

The best analogy is with snowflakes.

Scientists claim that the chances of two snowflakes being the same is one in one million trillion (1 followed by 18 zeros).

Veins are no different.

Therefore, the cookie cutter approach to treating all of the variations won’t work.

Your veins may often need a different type of treatment than your friend’s or mother’s veins.

Treating varicose veins can be complicated.

Every individual’s pattern of venous disease and venous anatomy is so different.

That’s why you need to find an experienced and well-trained vein specialist who has seen it all.

Learning on the job without proper training doesn’t cut it.

Some inexperienced vein doctors only treat the saphenous veins which leads to trouble down the road.

To keep the veins in your legs away as long as possible, specialized training and experience in treating all of your veins is critical – not just ablating the larger veins.

Choosing the right doctor will ensure that your condition is properly diagnosed and treated completely – the first time.

That means that you must find the best vein doctor in your area who can treat your saphenous veins, perform phlebectomy, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and also sclerotherapy.

What about the new technologies for treating varicose veins that is in the news?

The Explosion of New Varicose Vein Treatment Technologies

There has been a revolution lately with all kinds of new vein treatments.

They no longer involve heating the veins like laser does to close them.

These brand-new hi-tech solutions include glue, (BTG produced) proprietary foam and even mechanical scraping of the veins from the inside.

The reason that this is happening right now is that these technologies have all just received billing codes so that they are now covered by insurance.

I promise after you read this article that you’ll have a better understanding of these latest “state-of-the-art” vein procedures.

At the same time, realize that everything that has been approved for treating varicose veins is not always better.

The graveyard of technology is full of failed products and gadgets.

Remember – Napster? Blackberry? AOL? Palm Pilot? MySpace? Betamax?

How about the latest tech failures?  These include the Apple Newton, or Microsoft’s Zune, and Amazon’s Fire Phone.

Glue for Varicose Vein Treatments

Kurtis Kim MD is a highly skilled board certified vascular surgeon and is a registered physician in vascular interpretation in Baltimore.

He recently commented about the new option to glue the veins shut.

“I like most of the advantage of the glue, except that it reports upwards of 30% phlebitis rate; while it is non-consequential for the most part, patients experience severe pain for several months if not more. For this reason, I am still “old-fashioned” and use thermal ablation.”

inflamation in leg after a vein treatment

Are These Newest Vein Treatments Unproven – Yes!

Are vein doctors jumping on the bandwagon too early?

Because there are so many vein centers in most cities, the field has become super competitive.

To gain market share, the over the top promotion of unrealistic expectations is becoming the norm.

Many people now expect a magic wand to get rid of their unwanted veins.

The holy grail of vein treatments is to become less and less invasive.

People are starting to ask questions about “no knife” surgery or “virtually painless” vein treatments.

These are all marketing gimmicks like the cryo-sclerotherapy as seen on the TV show, The Doctors. With this procedure, some cold air blows on the skin during spider vein injections which is supposed to make it painless. Then slyly they add the word, “virtually” to the word, painless.

Just-the-facts-signThe truth is that all varicose vein treatments available today require breaking the skin with a small incision or needle and some minor discomfort.

Perhaps, being fashionably late until glue, Varithena foam and the non-thermal approaches to varicose vein treatments “shake out” is a more prudent approach.

The new Varithena foam is quite expensive.

Literally, billions of injections of sclerotherapy have been safely performed with the traditional foam produced in the doctor’s office.

There has been a lot of fear mongering lately about physician made sclerotherapy foam with room air (there were virtually no issues prior to Varithena).

Thermal ablation of saphenous veins with laser or radiofrequency remain proven techniques.

Thermal ablation and  phlebectomy remain the preferred methods of varicose vein treatment (removal of the vein “bumps”) according to Peter Glovickzki MD from the Mayo Clinic.

In other countries, the old stripping operation is still often the only option for patients.

That procedure involved making an incision in the groin and leg, inserting a stripping device into the vein, and ripping the vein out of the body. It usually requires “going to sleep” or general anesthesia. In addition, a hospital admission and a long painful recovery was involved. Stripping is not done in this country except in rare surgical practices that refuse to accept modern techniques.

Most vein doctors today usually seal the saphenous vein permanently rather than remove it.

Several minimally invasive techniques are performed through catheters which are inserted into the vein under ultrasound guidance.

Dr. Happel stated,

“These treatments are always performed in the doctor’s office under local anesthesia. We strongly recommend that the office be inspected and accredited just like a hospital. The only accrediting body is the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission or IAC. Afterwards, the patient can walk immediately after treatment and return to normal activity and usually return to work the next day.”


According to, any licensed medical doctor can legally perform vein procedures, but the levels of training and experience in varicose surgery and treatment vary widely.

Dr. John Happel MD is a fellowship trained board certified vascular surgeon trained at the Mayo Clinic.

True to his training, he continues to be focused in continual education and learning.

He regularly attends conferences to learn the latest in venous care for his patients.

At Happel Laser and Vein Center, we take it personally.

  • Personal attention
  • Personalized convenient scheduling – no double booking
  • Personalized and customized varicose vein treatments performed by the doctor himself.

Call us if you’re tired of hiding your legs.

The benefits are clear.

Healthy legs without ugly varicose veins.

Are you ready to finally deal with your ugly and aching varicose veins?

Call us at 724-969-0600.

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.