About Vein Disease

Venous disease affects more than 40 million Americans, including half of all American's over age 50. Venous disease is diagnosed when the one-way valves that allow blood flow to the heart fail to function or are damaged in some way.

Types of Venous Disease

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are enlarged veins that occur in the legs and can affect both men and women. Usually dark blue in color, they can form near or above the surface of the skin.

While genetics play a large role in who develops varicose veins, anyone can get them. In fact, more than half of Iowans over age 50 suffer from varicose veins to some degree. Causes range from genetics, pregnancy and obesity to occupations that require prolonged standing. Although there are cosmetic concerns for many patients, most seek treatment to relieve swelling, aching or chronic pain.

The Vein Center at Iowa Heart performs endovenous laser therapy and Ambulatory Phlebectomy for the treatment of varicose veins.

Spider Veins

Spider veins are the thread-like red, blue or purple blood vessels that occur in patches primarily on the legs and face.

Caused by irregular bloodflow, spider veins are smaller and more delicate than varicose veins. They tend to develop in clusters anywhere on the body and are thought to be induced by hormones. Women are more likely than men to get spider veins. Although they're most often a cosmetic issue, spider veins can sometimes cause discomfort or itching.

The Vein Center at Iowa Heart offers sclerotherapy for the treatment of spider veins. This simple procedure takes just a few minutes, is done in our office, and you may return to work right away.

Treatment Options

There are a number of options available to treat venous disease. At the Vein Center at Iowa Heart, we provide the following treatment options.

Compression Stockings

A prescription strength compression stocking is often a first line of treatment for patients with varicose veins. The stocking assists in returning blood back to the heart. Although a patient's symptoms may be relieved, stockings will not reverse the condition.


Used primarily in the treatment of spider veins and small varicose veins, sclerotherapy involves injecting a "sclerosing" agent into the vein using a very fine needle. This chemical solution irritates the vein tissue, causing the lining of the vein to swell, harden and eventually seal off.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

This is an office procedure performed to remove large surface varicose veins through tiny skin punctures. It leaves minimal scarring and is performed under local anesthesia. There is very little discomfort and no stitches are required.

Endovenous Laser Therapy

Endovenous laser therapy is a short, minimally invasive alternative to more invasive vein stripping procedures. It leaves minimal scarring and is performed under local anesthesia. A thin laser fiber is inserted into the vein and laser energy is applied to the vein. Delivered in short pulses, the laser energy heats the vein from within, causing it to shrink, collapse and seal shut.

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Meet the Physicians

Dr. Robert Zeff

  • Dr. Robert Zeff
  • MD, FACS – Medical Director

Meet the Physicians