News & Articles

What is a Free Vein Screening

Vein disease is not always obvious.  You may not have large bulging veins (or varicosities) but instead have other symptoms of venous disease.  For this reason, we offer our quarterly vein screening event.  So what are the signs and symptoms of venous or vein disease?

Signs and symptoms

The most common and obvious sign of vein disease are bulging varicose veins.  As noted, this is far from the only sign or symptom.  Blood return to the heart occurs via our veins.  Veins have one-way valves that keep blood moving up towards the heart.  When valves fail, blood is allowed to flow backward in the vein.  The extra pressure and lactic acid build up can cause leg pain, achiness, leg heaviness, restless legs, ankle swelling and itching.  When this problem is advanced, skin discoloration and skin ulcerations may occur.  When any one of these signs or symptoms are present, an ultrasound evaluation is used to evaluate the veins.

Ultrasound Evaluation

With ultrasound, we can determine the direction and the velocity of the blood flow in the veins.  Ultrasound is painless, sound waves that are too high a frequency to be heard by the human ear.  These sound waves travel through the skin and bounce back off structures in the body to produce an image.  Doppler ultrasound is used to measure the blood flow in vessels.  Sound waves are bounced off circulating blood cells, allowing us to measure the direction of flow.

During a free vein screening, the ultrasonographer will evaluate two of the main sources of vein disease, the great saphenous vein and the small saphenous vein.  The technician will apply ultrasound gel to the leg and place the ultrasound probe on the leg.  Then, the veins are evaluated and the patient is informed of any present vein disease.

Screening Events

Minnesota Vein Center offers screening  9 am- 5 pm during one of our screening events which are held three times per year.   The screenings are held on the specified weekdays between hours of 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  We also offer online varicose vein self-assessments.  These online assessments allow for quick access to a provider to share your concerns and to ask questions.

To see when our next screening event is, or to request a free varicose vein screening, visit our free screening sign up page.

Free Vein Screening, Monday June 17th / Monday June 24th

Red vintage bicycle with basket and flowers lleaning against wooden fence at beach.

Red vintage bicycle with basket and flowers lleaning against wooden fence at beach.

Call 651-765-8346 to schedule

June,  Monday’s Vein Screening Events.

Monday, June 17th, and June 24th


Screening includes brief history, exam,  modified venous ultrasound and info.

Request  date(s) and preferred times below.




This event has ended. The next Quarterly Free Vein Screening offerings will be announced this August.

Thank you to everyone who made this screening a success. Check back often for more vein screening opportunities.  Follow updates through our newsletter.



What Causes Brown Spots / Ankles

Leg with swollen ankles and protruding veinsPatients or their family members call to ask about the discoloration they have on one or both of their lower legs or  ankles.  Many patients with vein problems or varicose veins are told, “If your veins don’t bother you, no treatment is needed.”   Because of confusing information, these people do not seek the advice from a vein specialist and are shocked when they begin developing leg problems, such as:

  • Swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs
  • A brownish discoloration of the skin near the ankles
  • Thickening of the skin of the ankles
  • Open sores on the inner or outer ankles

Vein disorders develop because the one-way valves in the veins have stopped working.   In superficial veins, vein walls weaken and stretch, valves then malfunction and pressure in the lower leg increases due to the downward flow of the blood.  This high pressure, along with the weakness in the vein wall, causes fluid to seep out of the veins, resulting in swelling in the feet, ankles, and legs.

  • Small brown spots develop as red blood cells within the blood, release iron into the tissues.  This may present as a small brown spot but eventually the entire ankle or lower leg becomes brown.  This is known as hyperpigmentation.
  • If the area then turns red, the condition is called dermatitis.
  • As the entire lower leg becomes discolored, the skin may become thickened, hard or leathery.  This is known as lipodermatosclerosis.

How is this related to brown spots or skin discoloration?

These skin changes occur when the pressure in the veins has become dangerously high.  The pressure affects the health of the skin.  If the underlying vein is not corrected, the skin can break down and an open sore or ulceration can appear, even without trauma.  This is called a venous ulceration.

If you or someone you know has ankle swelling or skin changes, you should see a Vein Specialist.  The specialist will perform a quick and painless ultrasound exam.  This will clearly show whether you have veins that are allowing blood to move in the wrong direction, and just how severe your situation may be. Be certain to have these symptoms treated before they progress to ulcerations.





Mothers and Varicose Veins

Adult mother giving her mother flowers on mother's day

mother playing with her child, grandmother watching

Why do women get varicose veins?

Women and men both develop varicose veins but when looking closely at the scientific studies we learn that women tend to be at a higher risk than men for developing, bulging, dark, and painful vessels.  The reason may very well be associated with the hormone progesterone.  Progesterone is produced by men as well as by women, but levels are much higher in women.  Studies indicate pregnant women with varicose veins had higher progesterone levels compared to pregnant women, during the same trimester, with lower progesterone levels, and who had no varicose veins.

Other studies which look closely or microscopically at the saphenous vein wall, the large veins that begin to enlarge in both men and women then causing smaller varicose veins and spider veins, actually have special progesterone receptors. These sensors make the vein wall more sensitive to the effects of the progesterone hormone.

How does progesterone cause varicose veins?

Not only does the hormone progesterone contribute to the regulation of menstruation and the reproductive cycle, it affects bone health and causes blood vessel walls to relax.  When vein walls relax the vein valve moving blood upwards also begins to relax.  The blood flowing backward then exerts pressure on the vein wall pushing on the sides of the vessel, making them weak.  Since women have significantly higher levels of progesterone than men, researchers believe this is one reason women are more prone to developing varicose veins.

There are many factors which affect the risks of developing varicose veins.  Awareness of the hormone factor, pregnancy and genetics and more, may help to understand the mothers and the female predisposition.  Regardless of gender, though, varicose veins cause discomfort.  Left untreated, varicose veins can cause more serious problems.

Keeping closely aware of your personal leg vein health, is important.  Allowing easily treated vein conditions to worsen can result in complications of skin discoloration, skin thickening and leg ulcers.  Throughout May,  we recognize women and mothers and May will be dedicated to public awareness at our Minnesota Vein Center, North Oaks/Twin Cities office.  Call for a consultation with Dr. Pal.

Get Rid of Spider Veins | Face

Female looking in mirror at her spider veins face

It’s that time of year when people want to get rid of their spider veins.  While most of our patients complain of the unattractive spider veins on their legs, many people also complain about the tiny facial veins on their nose, upper lip, cheek and chin.  Unfortunately, with each glance in the mirror, patients with facial veins are constantly reminded of their cosmetic issue.

Usually patients spend a good deal of time searching for an effective treatment and an experienced medical staff to provide vein treatments to the face.  VeinWave™   is a very effective and gentle treatment method for fine veins of the face and nose. It was first introduced, in 2001,  in the UK by vascular surgeon, Dr. Brian Newman.  VeinWave ™ has been FDA approved  since 2009 in the United States.  It is the proven method of removing facial veins that cannot be treated with sclerotherapy.

VeinWave ™  treatment uses an ultra-thin insulated needle that emits radiofrequency energy (heat) precisely into the wall of the vein, heating it and causing it to close, and ultimately, be reabsorbed.  VeinWave ™ is a revolutionary way to effectively treat even the tiniest of spider veins with no recovery time and minimal discomfort, removing spider veins permanently.

Results are almost immediate with continued improvement happening over the next few days and weeks.  Even though the veins are removed permanently, there is always a chance new facial veins will form.  A small percentage of patients with sensitive skin may notice temporary redness for approximately 2 weeks after the procedure.  Most patients need one treatment, but patients with diffuse areas of spider veins will require consecutive treatments.

If you would like to learn more about Facial Vein treatment, please call us at 651-765-8346 today to schedule a consultation or complete our contact form and one of our staff members will reach out to you promptly.


Free Vein Screening: February 11th, 12th and 13th

Woman cross country skiing in the snow with man behind her

gal and guy snow showing bright sunCall: 651-765-8346 or Schedule Here.

We are offering our Winter Free Vein Screening appointments from      9 a.m. to  5:00 p.m., 

            Screenings start  Monday,                                  Feb. 11th through  Wednesday, Feb.  13th at Minnesota Vein Center, North Oaks, MN 55127.

Varicose and venous disease are hereditary conditions; left untreated they may  result in more serious problems. Please share this event with your Friends and  Family.

Free vein screenings include a history, exam and ultrasound. Screenings are  approximately 20 minutes. To request your free vein screening  appointment, please complete the form below, providing your preferred dates,  or call us at 651-765-8346.

This event has ended. The next Quarterly Free Vein Screening offerings will be announced this May.

Thank you to everyone who made this screening a success. Check back often for more vein screening opportunities.  Follow updates through our newsletter.

Teens, Young Adults and Varicose Veins

Teens and young adults seem to be busy planning or dreaming of their futures.  Most, in this age group, do not consider the possibility of varicose veins, now or in the future.  Over 80 million people in the U.S suffer from vein disorders and varicose veins are very common but not just in older adults.   Today, increasing numbers of teens and young adults are found to be seeking treatment of venous reflux.  While early diagnosis and treatment of venous disorders may prevent future leg discomfort and complications, venous disease continues to be overlooked among all populations.

It’s important to understand that varicose or visible superficial veins do not need to be present for a diagnosis of vein disease.  The symptoms to be aware of are aching, heaviness, leg fatigue and ankle swelling.  Restless leg symptoms, especially with sleep, and lower leg itchiness or clusters of spider veins at the inner or outer ankle should all be considered possible signs of vein disease.  These signs and symptoms are usually indicators of the underlying problem of vein issues:  venous insufficiency or venous reflux.

Populations at Risk for Varicose Veins

As we age, the risk of varicose veins does increase due to increased valve damage and the resulting effects of the reverse blood flow in the lower extremities.   Over time, as symptoms become more noticeable, a patients symptoms becomes that constant reminded to seek treatment.

However, the primary cause of vein disease, accounting for approximately 80% of all vein patients is heredity.  If your mother or father, grandparents, aunts or uncles suffer from venous disease you may also be at risk.   Many young adults are becoming mindful of the connection of heredity and personal health and now are connecting their physical symptoms to a possible vein disorder.

Varicose Veins or Vein Disorders in Your 20’s and Beyond?

No matter what your age, if you have varicose veins, experience symptoms of venous disease or have a family history, it is important to see a vein specialist.  Our team at Minnesota Vein Center will provide a comprehensive evaluation, including personal and family history and physical exam, a detailed venous ultrasound evaluation, and recommendations including thorough educational procedural information.

Whether you just need preventative measures, vein health counseling/consultation or require a professional procedure at our office in North Oaks, Minnesota Vein Center specialists can help you improve your lifestyle by improving your vein health.   Contact us for a consultation  in our North Oaks location or complete our simple and convenient online tool:  Varicose Vein Self-Assessment at the convenience of your own home.



New Treatment with Less Pain, Fast Recovery

vial of clear venaseal adhesive with lable

Varicose veins can develop as early as age 13, and will affect the majority of women and a large percentage of men as they advance in age.

Healthy leg veins pump blood though the body’s veins to the heart through a system of valves.  These valves open in only one direction, to prevent blood from flowing backwards.  When the valves malfunction, blood flow is disrupted and pooled blood collects in the area, causing enlarged and ropy appearing varicose veins.

Symptoms can include:

  • Aching, painful legs with or without leg cramps.
  • A feeling of leg heaviness that worsens throughout the day.
  • Ankle or lower leg swelling and even skin ulcerations or bleeding.

Minimally Invasive Medical Adhesive

Today, a number of highly effective non-invasive treatments are available to manage varicose veins.

The most recent innovation in non-invasive vein treatments is VenaSeal, a medical adhesive that physically seals the defective  vein and redirects blood to flow through nearby healthy veins.  Minnesota Vein Center, in 2015, was the first to offer this treatment option in our upper Midwest region and perform this treatment weekly.

Some have referred  to this treatment as the ‘superglue’ for the veins.  The in-office procedure begins with a small local injection of anesthesia for access to the vein.  Using ultrasound imaging as a guide, the adhesive is delivered through a catheter by way of a single small needle puncture in the leg.  The delivery  process takes about 15 minutes.

Because VenaSeal requires only a single needle insertion to deliver the sealant, a patient’s risk of pain and brusing is reduced.  VenaSeal also results in a faster recovery  time, with no scarring  and eliminates the need for patients to wear compression stockings following the procedure.

Patients with symptoms of visible varicose veins or those with complaints of leg achiness, heaviness, leg fatigue or swelling may be a candidates for this treatment after appropriate evaluation by Dr. Pal and a venous ultrasound exam in our IAC Vascular Lab.  To learn more, call for additional information or schedule an evaluation at Minnesota Vein Center.   651-765-8346.


Men and Varicose Veins

A high percentage of our patients are women.  Does that mean the condition is more common in women than men?  Most people are surprised by the numbers.  While women make up most of the patient population in offices of vein treatment centers, men experience these bulging, twisted veins and discoloration nearly as often.  The fact that men delay treatment is a fact which only creates further problems for these varicose vein sufferers.

How Many?

Estimates of the numbers of men that will develop varicose veins ranges from 25-50 percent of the total population.  The frequency of vein disorders increases with age, with men over 55 becoming more likely to develop varicose veins than those below middle age.  It can occur, however, at any age.  Other risk factors that increase men’s chances of developing varicose veins include:  occupations requiring long periods of standing, obesity and family history.

Complications of Varicose Veins

For some men, varicose veins may seem just a nuisance, however, venous disorders (venous insufficiency, varicose veins) always progress.  Many or most men will develop painful symptoms with their varicose veins, including:

  • Heaviness, achiness of lower legs
  • Cramping, especially at night
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Burning and / or itching
  • Skin color changes ( darkened areas) texture changes
  • Open wounds mid lower leg to ankle area

Open wounds, also called venous ulcers, are the most worrisome symptoms of varicose veins.  These ulcerations are difficult to treat and have a high recurrence rate.  These skin changes are preventable by early detection when less obvious symptoms (such as achiness) appear.  Unfortunately, men are less likely to seek vein treatment in the early stages, making them more vulnerable to the more complicated (ulceration) complications.

Seeking Treatment

One reason men avoid seeking vein treatment is a lack of information regarding the advances of non-invasive or minimally invasive treatments available today.  At Minnesota Vein Center, we offer a full array of vein treatments for advanced care.  These may include:

Venefit –  Use of radiofrequency ( thermal ) technology to treat the problem vein.

CoolTouch – Use of endovenous laser to close the refluxing vein.

VenaSeal –  Use of FDA approved adhesive ( Cyanoacrylate) for ease in closing the incompetent vein.

Sclerotherapy-  Chemical ablation of venous insufficient veins using ultrasound guidance

Micro-phlebectomy –  Minor procedure to remove bulging veins.

These procedures are performed in- office on an outpatient basis.  Patients are able to walk out of the office following treatment and even drive home by themselves.  Most patients return to work the following day and maintain their normal activities with minimal limitations.  Venous circulation is improved as blood flow now is returned by the healthy deep system.  Patients feel their symptoms resolve quickly.

We have been providing high quality vein care for over 14 years in one convenient IAC accredited location.  If you find yourself postponing conversations about your leg vein concerns, contact Minnesota Vein Center at 651-765-8346 to learn of the options in varicose vein evaluation and treatment.