Are Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatments Covered By Insurance?

by Androniki Bossonis


varicose vein treatment orange county

One of the most common misconceptions about varicose and spider veins that many doctors (as well as patients) believe is that varicose vein treatments and spider vein treatments are considered cosmetic in nature, and therefore not covered by insurance. While this is true under many circumstances, ascribing to this myth can have possible health consequences for those who have the more serious variation of the venous disease. Specifically, that they might avoid varicose vein treatment due to the potentially false belief that they must cover the entire cost as an out-of-pocket expense.

As your vascular surgeon can attest, vein disease is serious. However, when there are many med-spas and similar cosmetic treatment centers that address only the cosmetic variety of spider veins and varicose veins, who also do not work with insurance on those procedures, it is understandable how the misconception has proliferated greatly.

Patients should look for certain symptoms that may indicate that the superficial varicose veins may be progressing to or may be indicative of a more serious vascular disease, such as phlebitis, Deep Vein Thrombosis, blood clots, or open sores or skin ulcers.

Important symptoms to watch for, in the area of the varicose and spider veins, include tenderness or pain, wounds or ulcers, throbbing sensation, burning or tingling feeling, feelings of tiredness and fatigue in the legs, or veins protruding noticeably far or getting worse. If any of these symptoms are present it’s time to head to a doctor…a vascular doctor or vascular care center.

Your vascular specialist will be able to tell if your spider vein and varicose veins represent a more serious underlying issue, such as venous reflux disease. At this point, they can also verify your health insurance policy for coverage. Most venous diseases (that are more than just superficial) are covered by insurance, especially due to the serious nature of vascular disease.

Patients should never prolong varicose vein treatment just because they suspect the varicose vein treatment might not be covered by insurance. Recent studies across various ethnic groups, genders and ages in Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, showed 83% of participants exhibited varicose veins or spider veins. Varicose veins were more common among women, and varicose veins increased with age. The study also revealed that 11% of all subjects with vein disease had more serious (functional as opposed to cosmetic) vein disease, which would have been covered by most health insurance plans.

The San Diego Vascular Center specializes in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.


Reference: Langer, R. D., Criqui, M.H., Denenberg, J., Fronek, A. (2000). “The Prevalence of Venous Disease by Gender and Ethnicity in a Balanced Sample of Four Ethnic Groups in Southern California”, Plebology. University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California, USA.



San Diego Vascular Center Customer Testimonials

San Diego Vascular Center Customer Testimonials

We gathered together a small collection of comments from San Diego Vascular Center customers from San Diego, Riverside and Orange Counties. We hope they help you feel confident about our vascular care services, ranging from spider vein treatment and varicose vein removal, IPL Laser treatments, Laser Hair Removal, to wound care and care and serious vascular disease treatment.

 wound care

Varicose Vein Treatment:

“I had noticeably large varicose veins in my legs from a young age, due to heredity. I was very self-conscious, and refrained from wearing shorts or swim suits. I am so relieved after having the varicose veins removed. I can wear anything now, and feel completely confident. The treatment was a breeze, and doctors and staff treated me like gold.”

~Mona T., Aliso Viejo, Orange County, CA


“I developed varicose veins in my thirties, but held off for many years on getting them removed, because I had a fear of doctors and treatment. The veins got worse and worse and worse over the years, and eventually became painful. The doctors and even the receptionist staff at San Diego Vascular Center were so caring and gentle with me, I knew I was in good in hands. The procedure was fast and painless. If I had known that the varicose vein removal would have been so easy, I would have done it years ago.”

~Alyssa M., Riverside CA


Spider Vein Treatment

“I developed spider veins in several areas when I reached my mid-forties. They were on my legs, my ankles, and on my nose and cheeks. I thought that it would be an expensive undertaking due to how many areas I was affected by, so I didn’t pursue spider vein removal right away. Finally, my youngest son told me that my nose looked like a map, and I made an appointment (after doing some research, of course). The laser procedure on my face and ankles was non-invasive, fast and painless. They used an injection on the larger spider veins in my legs, and I watched them disappear before my eyes. I know it is a cosmetic procedure, but it is a big relief to feel confident and not embarrassed anymore. Thank you.”

~Denise R., San Clemente, Orange County, CA


Wound Care

“I brought my mother to San Diego Vascular Center for her diabetic wounds, after a referral from her primary care physician. My mom was in pain, and very nervous about treatment. I want to take a moment to write this thank you to the doctors and kind, caring staff at San Diego Vascular Center. Just looking at her foot today I can see how much better it is, and my mom is not only healthy, but very happy.”

~Ellis P., San Diego, CA


“I suffered from pressure wounds for about 18 months. Most people have no idea what this is like…not only is it a source of anxiety and extreme discomfort, but they are prone to getting infected. My body was constantly fighting infection. I would go to a doctor for treatment, but the wounds would never heal, and the infections would return. I live in Orange County, but I met Dr. Bulkin at a North County Health & Wellness fair while visiting San Diego. Dr. Bulkin impressed me with his knowledge and his manner.

After 18 months of anxiety and suffering, my wounds were healed in about 6 weeks. The San Diego Vascular Center not only cleaned and treated my wounds, but they did a holistic health assessment, and taught me more about how to care for myself and my wounds than I could ever imagine. Thank you for allowing me to move past this chapter and feel healthy and optimistic again.”

Emmaneul M., Irvine, Orange County, CA


Vascular Disease – Aortic Aneurysm

“Dr. Bulkin spoke at the nursing home where I stay. I told him that I have been having high blood pressure after a knee surgery, and I was going to speak to my doctor about how the surgery could have cause my blood pressure to skyrocket. He told me to come in immediately, because surgery would not cause high blood pressure. He saved my life. I had an abdominal aortic aneurysm, and could have died at any moment. I was a walking time bomb. With caring and reassurance, they scheduled me for surgery immediately to have the damaged aorta section replaced. If you suddenly experience high blood pressure or pain in the stomach area, it is worth getting checked immediately. I recommend the San Diego Vascular Center with my highest recommendation.

~Sergio B. , San Diego, CA


Facial Spider Vein Treatment

spider vein treatment orange county


Spider vein removal is one of the most popular vein treatments, because spider veins on the face, legs, feet, chest and arms are even more common than the more prominent varicose veins. Spider veins and reticular (blue) veins are smaller than varicose veins, and are not serious in nature. They can, however, continue to spread, so logic dictates that the longer you wait to treat your spider veins, the more treatments you will require. Larger clusters of spider veins and reticular veins may cause uncomfortable aching or burning sensation, yet spider vein removal is still largely accepted as a cosmetic procedure.

There are many websites on the internet touting natural or herbal cures, or even creams and lotions to remove spider veins. Please note that, at this time, there is no evidence of any topical cream or natural remedy that has been proven to reduce or remove spider veins.

So, what are your options for treatment if you have spider veins?



Spider veins, as well as the larger varicose veins, are non-functioning veins. That is, instead of moving blood along in one direction, faulty valves cause some blood to flow backwards, causing  a noticeable pooling of blood. By removing or closing these veins, the blood will be naturally redirected through healthier veins, and routed correctly toward the deeper venous system and the heart.

For facial spider veins, we want to choose the most minimally invasive procedures possible. Spider and reticular vein treatment involves the destruction of the veins either by means of a chemical or heat energy. While sclerotherapy (vein closure by injection of a solution) is an option, we prefer the VariLite laser for facial spider vein removal. This new technology operates by means of intense light that targets darker pigmented blood vessels (as well as rosacea and age spots), leaving untargeted, healthy skin untouched. The heat from the laser causes the damaged veins to close, and the pooled hemoglobin to be reabsorbed back into the body for elimination. The procedure is painless, and takes about 15 minutes.

Many patients are happy with the VariLite laser as a treatment option for facial spider veins, especially since they can combine their visit to also treat age spots and rosacea simultaneously. It is not uncommon for us to have patients drive from nearby Orange County (especially since we located near Orange County in North San Diego county), and Riverside Counties. It is well worth a few extra minutes of drive time to have the sensitive facial area treated by a board certified vascular surgeon, using state-of-the-art equipment in a clean, modern facility.
It is also important to note another reason for choosing the VariLite laser for facial or chest area spider vein treatment…this newer model laser treats quickly and effectively without bruising of nearby skin, as was a common side-effect with older heat-based systems.

While laser treatment of small spider vein clusters is preferred, please keep in mind that larger clusters of spider veins, or thicker varicose veins, often yield best results when treated with sclerotherapy. The larger vein clusters are seldom found in the facial area; they most commonly associated with the legs.



In the weeks prior to spider vein removal, please refrain from tanning or sun exposure, which may make your skin sensitive to the heat and light from the laser. Also, please avoid Advil, Ibuprofen (or any NSAID medications), or any herbal remedies that promote bleeding or bruising.

After a thorough examination and questionnaire is performed by our vascular surgeon, a mild numbing crème may be applied to ensure your maximum comfort. The procedure is considered by most to be painless, but since heat is applied, a cooling gel may be applied after to ensure soothing comfort.

There is no down time after laser spider vein removal treatment, however, please be careful to minimize sun exposure in the weeks following treatment. The heat generated from the laser may produce a mild sunburn effect on the skin, which would be especially sensitive to UV exposure.

While spider vein treatment is typically permanent, the body sometimes creates new spider veins, which would require additional treatment.
The San Diego Vascular Center is Southern California’s leading diagnosis and treatment center for the full spectrum of vascular health issues, including varicose vein removal and spider vein treatment.
Conveniently located in Escondido, CA, we are on approximately one hour from mid Orange County, and one hour from Riverside.

You can reach us toll free at 1-855-738-3467, or find us on the web at


Dr. Bulkin’s Varicose Vein Removal Live On Fox News

Fox News spent some time interviewing Dr. Anatoly Bulkin from the San Diego Vascular Center. The main focus of the interview was varicose vein removal. While varicose veins are a common problem in general, an estimated 40% of pregnant women develop varicose veins. Hormonal factors and the pressure from the baby increase the likelihood of a pregnant woman developing varicose veins. Dr. Bulkn recommends that pregnant women wait several months after delivery before seeking varicose vein treatment, because varicose veins that occur during pregnancy tend to shrink in size after delivery.

Most cases of varicose veins are harmless, but if you experience pain, you should get checked by a vascular disease specialist immediately, to rule out more serious vascular disease.

Varicose veins can vary in size from barely noticeable, to so large that they begin to form ulcers.

When seeking varicose vein removal, it is highly recommended to see vascular disease specialist. Dr. Bulkin explains that when patients come to his office seeking varicose vein removal, he first performs an ultrasound to make sure that there is no underlying vascular disease causing the varicose veins.

Watch the video as Dr. Bulkin performs varicose vein removal live on the air! The unsightly veins disappear in seconds with no pain or discomfort.


The San Diego Vascular Center specializes in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.


Spider Vein Removal: What Can You Expect?

varicose vein removal orange countyDecisions, decisions, decisions. Many patients seeking spider vein removal in San Diego have questions regarding what are their options, and what to expect during and after treatment.

First of all, if you are seeking spider vein treatment in San Diego County or nearby Orange and Riverside counties, you should know that the San Diego Vascular Center specializes in vascular care, and offers a range of treatment options for spider vein removal and varicose vein removal.

When you arrive at your appointment, be prepared to fill out a detailed patient questionnaire with medical history. List any prior surgeries, allergies and current prescription medications. At this time, feel free to ask your doctor questions regarding his experience with spider vein removals, request before and after photos of actual patients, ask his/her credentials, and request details about the procedures they recommend.

Are you a good candidate for spider vein removal? You should consider spider vein removal if you are embarrassed by the sight of your spider veins, if you feel that you have to wear makeup or clothing to cover the spider veins, and if you have no history of vascular disease or blood clots. Your vascular surgeon would determine if the spider veins or varicose veins are a sign of an underlying vascular disease. Note: This is an important reason why you should consider a vascular surgeon for procedures such as spider vein treatment, as opposed to a ‘med spa’ or similar. Always ask if the establishment employs board certified vascular doctors.

Your vascular surgeon will next determine the area(s) where you require spider vein removal. Since skin on the face is thinner as compared to other areas of the body, they might consider a pulse dye laser or IPL laser for facial spider veins. Sclerotherapy, a process by which a solution is injected into the site of the spider veins with a microneedle. This constricts the blood vessel wall until it closes. The closing of each individual blood vessel causes blood flow to be rerouted through healthier veins. It is the pooling of blood in veins that are not adequately moving blood that causes the appearance of both varicose and spider veins. Once these under-performing veins are closed, the red and blue appearance of pooled blood immediately disappears.

If your spider veins occur in thin-skinned areas such as the face, your vascular specialist might consider an IPL laser. There is no downtime, and you can resume normal activity immediately. Using the IPL laser might require more than one treatment, depending on the severity and size of the veins.

Larger, thicker-skinned areas such as the thighs, calves and ankles often get better results from sclerotherapy (process described above). The skin may appear reddish for a few days, or there may be slight bruising, and the patient may be required to wear compression stockings for a few days. However, they can certainly return to work or other day-to-day activities immediately upon leaving the treatment center.

It’s that easy! We hope this article was helpful with your decision to free yourself from the embarrassment of spider veins.


Please feel free to Contact Us at the San Diego Vascular Center, or to read more about our spider vein treatments and services online.



Endovenous Laser Therapy for Varicose Vein Treatment

varicose vein treatment san diego

Endovenous Laser Therapy, also known as Endovenous Laser Ablation, is a procedure for varicose vein treatment whereby the vascular surgeon places a fiber or catheter inside the vein. The fiber transmits a laser into the vein, which is used to treat vein reflux and varicose veins.

How does this method work to treat varicose veins? Let’s begin by understanding what causes varicose veins. It is important to understand that blood flows in one direction throughout veins. The artery system sends oxygenated blood throughout your body, and it is the job of the veins to return the deoxygenated blood to the heart, to begin the process again. This is known as the cardio-pulmonary system.

As blood flows through the veins, a series of one-way valves close to keep the blood flowing toward the heart, and make sure the blood doesn’t reverse direction. If the vein walls or valves become weakened, they begin to function poorly at their job of preventing the blood from flowing in one direction. Varicose veins typically occur in the superficial veins of the legs, where gravity makes it even more challenging for weakened valves to push blood back up to the heart. The result is that some blood back flows and remains pooled around the weakened valves, causing the visible swelling that is characteristic of varicose veins.

Another way to visualize this process is to imagine a river that had streams branching off of it. If something were to block the river, some of the water would stay pooled at the site of the blockage, causing water to also backup into the streams, causing water levels to swell and rise.

There are many factors that can contribute to the weakening of the veins that causes varicose veins: heredity, pregnancy, obesity, diabetes or excessive strain are some of the major causes.


The Procedure

Now that we understand what causes varicose veins, how does inserting a catheter fitted with a laser inside the vein work to solve the problem? Quite simply, the laser heats the vein, causing it to collapse. As the catheter is withdrawn, it closes or cauerizes the damaged vein completely. Once the vein is closed, blood flow simply redirects past the site of the closure. Varicose veins disappear, since the blood is no longer back flowing and pooling in the area.

Endovenous laser therapy is performed while the patient is under local sedation for comfort. The laser is image guided, meaning the doctor can see and direct precisely where the laser will go.

EVT is also used to treat sores or ulcers, as well as phlebitis, which is venous swelling.

Using endovenous laser therapy for varicose vein treatment is minimally invasive, and patients can go home and return about their normal business on the same day as the procedure.

It is important to choose a vascular surgery center that is experienced and highly trained, with state-of-the-art equipment. San Diego Vascular Center patients are not all from San Diego County; many travel from nearby Orange County and Riverside area for varicose vein treatment and spider vein removal.


We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.


vascular disease

Vascular disesase is more serious than spider vein treatment

More serious than spider vein treatment: What is Vascular Disease?

spider vein treatment

While most of us are familiar with spider veins and varicose vein treatment, a much smaller percentage of the population makes a connection between varicose veins and vascular disease.


While varicose veins typically do not pose a health risk, serious cases can cause constant pain, or lead to Thrombophlebitis. Thrombophlebitis is painful swelling of the vein, which usually occurs when a blood clot forms. Varicose veins can rupture, bleeding into circumferential tissue, and sometimes resulting in open sores and subsequent infection. Pain and swelling would be the first symptoms of serious varicose vein issues.


Since spider veins and varicose veins occur in outlying, secondary veins, their consequences are not as severe or life threatening as are diseases that occur in our deeper vein structures.


Here are some vascular diseases that we routinely screen for at the San Diego Vascular Center:


  • Aortic Aneurism – if the wall of a vein is weakened, the pressure from blood flowing can cause a balloon-like bulge. These aneurisms most typically occur in the thoracic or abdominal aorta. The aneurism increases the chance of blood clots, or they can rupture, resulting in internal bleeding and death.


  • Deep Vein Thrombosis – DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in the deep veins of the vascular system, usually in the legs. This is a very serious issue, because the blood clot can travel with the flow of blood and become lodged in an organ, blocking blood flow to that organ, which can be deadly. A heightened risk of DVT occurs after periods of prolonged inactivity, or if a patient does not move around enough after a surgical procedure.


  • Pulmonary Embolism – Occurs when a blood clot lodges at the lungs and blocks blood flow. Pulmonary embolism can result in heart damage or fatality.


  • Peripheral Artery Disease – When the lining of the arteries become clogged with cholesterol or plaque (atherosclerosis), they can sometimes become too constricted for blood to pass though. PAD is very serious, and can lead to heart attack, stroke, and amputation.
  • Renal Artery Disease: When atherosclerosis occurs in the arteries of the kidneys causing narrowing or stenosis, the result is Renal Artery Disease. Renal Artery Disease can cause damage to kidneys. In addition to atherosclerosis, Renal Artery Disease can also be caused by fibromuscular dysplasia, whereby the renal arteries develop improperly to cause narrowing and restrict blood flow.

There are several more diseases that fall under the category of vascular disease, however, these are just the most common.


Please note that any kind of pain, swelling, dizziness or changes in blood pressure should be taken seriously. If any of these symptoms occur, visit a vascular center immediately.

There are several more conditions affecting the vascular system. We suggest that If you are in Riverside, San Diego or Orange County, even if you coming to the San Diego Vascular Center for a routine or cosmetic treatment, such spider vein removal or varicose vein removal, you should ask about screening for vascular disease.


The San Diego Vascular Center specializes in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.



Sara’s Testimonial: Varicose Vein Removal

Sara’s Testimonial: Varicose Vein Removal

Varicose Veins and phlebitis (inflammation of a vein) run in Sarah’s family. Sarah began showing signs of varicose veins as a teenager. The condition worsened in her adult years, so she and her family researched the best vascular center for varicose vein treatment in San Diego and surrounding Orange County and Riverside County. Their research led them to the San Diego Vascular Center for Sarah’s varicose vein removal and continued monitoring of her condition.

Sarah was pleased with her doctor’s holistic approach to vein health, which includes nutrition, exercise, and an understanding of vascular health and managing vascular conditions.

Sara noticed that other women in her family waited too long before addressing their varicose vein treatment, such that they became painful. Allowing the condition to go untreated not only worsened the condition, but it affected their daily life, ability to feel good about their bodies and their looks, and their ability to travel. Because of this, Sara was to be proactive about early varicose vein removal.

Sara’s varicose vein treatment in San Diego at our vascular center was very successful, and Sara is happy that she can feel completely comfortable wearing shorts again.

For more information on Varicose Vein Removal, click here.

Watch the video of Sarah’s testimonial below.

We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us.

What To Expect After Varicose Vein Treatment

varicose vein treatment san diego Congratulations! You’ve decided to join the millions of people who free themselves from painful and unsightly varicose veins. What should you expect after your procedure?

The procedure is safe and effective, and by removing the ineffective veins, blood will now flow more effectively to the heart. Regardless of which method your doctor uses to treat your varicose veins, compression stockings are the first item on the list. In fact, compression stockings (or other types of thromboembolus deterrent garments) are used after all kinds of surgeries, not just varicose vein removal, to prevent blood clots in the legs (Deep Vein Thrombosis) by preventing blood from pooling in the veins. Popular brands of compression stockings are TED hose or Jobst stockings. Most vascular surgeons recommend compression stockings for spider vein removal as well as varicose vein removal.

In addition to compression stockings, compression bandages may be used to increase compression locally after varicose vein treatment. Compression should be applied for at least 4-5 days, but most doctors recommend 10-14 days. The compression will also aid in providing comfort to the area.

Post-treatment bruising is normal, and may take up to 2-3 weeks to fade. While many people report general soreness, or a tingling or burning sensation, you should report any incidences of deep or sharp pain to your doctor immediately, as recovery is generally not painful. Soreness may feel worse in the few days following surgery.

You will be able to eat and return to normal activity after surgery. Your doctor might prescribe a light pain medication. If there are any visible incisions, they usually subside gradually over time. Propping your legs up on a pillow when resting is also helpful.
it is important to resume your normal level of activity or exercise as soon as possible. Your doctor may ask you to increase your normal level of activity by walking or using equipment such as a treadmill. Although it may seem uncomfortable to resume exercise immediately, physical activity will lessen the likelihood of blood clotting and promote faster recovery.

You should be able to resume normal functions such as bathing, lifting and driving within 2 days. Your doctor will advise you regarding how soon you should be returning to work (depending on your job).

If you had simple laser treatment for either spider veins or varicose veins, you can return to your normal life quickly. If you had endovenous laser treatment or vein ligation (stripping), particularly to the larger veins in the legs, your doctor may request a follow up visit for a duplex ultrasound imaging, to ensure that the troublesome veins have properly closed.

While most of our patients at the San Diego Vascular Center are from San Diego (San Diego County) and Orange County, many also travel to us for varicose vein treatment from Riverside County. While you should have someone drive you to and from our facility, it is in no way a hindrance or risk to ride in a car after varicose vein treatment (provided all other post-treatment instructions are followed).


We specialize in diagnosis and treatment for any and all vascular health issues for patients in San Diego County, Orange County and Riverside County. For more information or to set an appointment, please contact us


Watch Spider Veins Disappear Before Your Eyes!

Watch Spider Veins Disappear Before Your Eyes!

I would venture to guess that most people walking around with spider veins do not realize how easily they can be removed, so I’ve attached this short but amazing video. It’s no secret to us how fast and effective our treatments are, after all, even patients seeking spider vein removal in Orange County find it worth the drive to our facility for expert care. And those looking for spider vein removal in San Diego know that we are right in their backyard.

The question came up as to how to explain to those not familiar with the San Diego Vascular Center, or the various treatments available, just how quick and effective our procedures are, so if you have one minute, please watch the video to see spider veins literally disappear before your eyes.

The first procedure in the video demonstrates sclerotherapy, a simple procedure in which a solution is injected into the veins, causing the small veins to close and the blood to be rerouted to healthier veins.

The second procedure in the video shows Vari-Lite Laser treatment, where the small, focused laser is directed at the unhealthy vein, causing it to close.

Please feel free to Contact Us at the San Diego Vascular Center, or to read more about our spider vein treatments and services online.