Venous Insufficiency

Greenwich Health

Interventional Pain Management Specialists, Venous Medicine Specialists, and Cosmetic Medicine Specialists located in Midtown, New York, NY, Darien, CT & Greenwich, CT

If your legs are aching and uncomfortable or you’ve developed spider and varicose veins, you could have a condition called venous insufficiency. Julie Huang-Lionnet, MD, of Greenwich Health, located in Fairfield County, Manhattan, and the Greater New York City communities, is a venous medicine expert who provides innovative treatment methods to restore your veins to health. Call Greenwich Health to schedule a consultation with Dr. Huang-Lionnet, or book an appointment online.

Venous Insufficiency Q & A

venous insuffiency

What is Venous Insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a problem with the circulation in the legs due to a series of weakened one-way valves in your veins. When your valves are working normally, they ensure blood flows back to your heart, but if they aren’t operating as they should, blood leaks downward and collects below the valve, increasing pressure in these leg veins that can lead to the development of spider and varicose veins.

Venous insufficiency should be first treated with conservative measures, including compression, exercise, weight management, leg elevation, avoiding long periods of standing or sitting, low-salt diet, among others.  If left untreated or not responding to conservatives measures, venous insufficiency can develop worsening:

  • Pain
  • Swelling and edema
  • Cramping
  • Changes in the skin
  • Development of varicose and spider veins

In severe cases, venous insufficiency can cause leg ulcers.  Minimally invasive treatments offered at Greenwich Health can be effective when conservative measures are not in addressing venous insufficiency and preventing worsening progression of the disease.

What Causes Venous Insufficiency?


Normal veins have one-way valves along their length, directing blood to flow in one direction and preventing it from flowing back in the opposite direction. If the valves start to weaken, it can lead to leakage in the one-way system that causes blood to collect below the valve. This means pressure builds up in the vein, resulting in venous insufficiency and superficial vein conditions:

The valves in your veins become weaker as you age, which means they are more likely to fail.  Although age may be a risk factor, venous insufficiency can occur in men and women of any age. Venous insufficiency may also be due to the cumulative effects of sitting or standing for extended periods, which can lead to high blood pressure in your leg veins.  

Unhealthy lifestyle choices such as smoking and not getting enough exercise can damage the valves in your veins, and conditions such as deep vein thrombosis and phlebitis can also lead to venous insufficiency.  Additional risk factors that can increase your chances of developing venous insufficiency include:

  • Being overweight
  • Pregnancy
  • Family history of vein problems
  • A history of blood clots
  • Sustained damage to the leg from injury or previous surgeries
  • Heavy lifting
  • Gender

To diagnose venous insufficiency, Dr. Huang-Lionnet and team at Greenwich Health carries out a thorough exam and reviews your medical history and current symptoms in detail. She may order a Duplex ultrasound, which is an imaging test that shows the structure of your veins and how the blood is flowing through them, identifying any areas of venous insufficiency.

What Treatments are Available for Venous Insufficiency?

Dr. Huang-Lionnet and team at Greenwich Health create an individualized care plan for you based on your age, health, and the extent of your symptoms. Conservative measures play an important part in treating venous insufficiency, so exercising regularly, keeping your legs raised, weight management, low-salt diet, avoiding long periods of standing or sitting, and wearing compression stockings can help improve blood flow.

There’s a range of treatments available to help eradicate your spider and varicose veins secondary to venous insufficiency.  Our physicians and team at Greenwich Health perform vein mapping using ultrasound technology to assess the affected blood vessels and personalize the best treatment plan for you.  Due to recent developments in minimally invasive procedures and advances in treatments, patients can be treated on an outpatient basis without needing sedation. Options include:


A mеdісаl рrосеdurе thаt involves thе іnjесtіоn оf a ѕаlt solution саllеd thе sclerosant іntо a vеіn tо соmрlеtеlу оblіtеrаtе іt.

Laser Therapy

Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Thеrmаl closure system that requires tumescent anesthesia and closes veins by damage to the endothelial walls of the vein by heat.

Non-Thermal, Non-Tumescent, Non-Sclerosant Closure Systems

  • Venaseal, alѕо known аѕ vein gluе, is a ѕаfе, unіquе, аnd mіnіmаllу-invasive mеdісаl аdhеѕіvе that can treat superficial vein conditions quickly and effectively without tumescent anesthesia and need for compression post-procedure.
  • Clarivein іѕ a mechanochemical-based еndоvаѕсulаr tесhnіquе that trеаtѕ certain vаrісоѕе veins mоrе quickly and еffесtіvеlу.
  • Varithena is the fіrѕt FDA-approved іnjесtаblе foam that improves ѕуmрtоmѕ associated with vаrісоѕе vеіnѕ and dramatically reduces their unsightly арреаrаnсе.

Endovenous Laser Ablation Treatment (EVLT)

A hіghlу effective аnd minimally іnvаѕіvе procedure which uses laser energy to cause the vein to соllарse quickly аnd еvеntuаllу dіѕарреаr.

These treatments work by blocking off or damaging the affected vein, causing a rerouting of blood to veins with healthy valves.

If you’ve noticed signs of superficial vein problems, our physicians and team at Greenwich Health can help determine the cause of your symptoms and treat the underlying etiology before they worsen or progress further. Call Greenwich Health today or book an appointment online.