Capitol Vein Blog

Friday, June 24, 2011

When is a Vein Doctor Not Really a Vein Doctor?

With the development of less invasive treatments for varicose veins, there's been a surge of practices identifying themselves as vein centers and vein experts. So how do you sort through all of the claims and find a certified vein expert?

A little research goes a long way...

Investing a few minutes of time on the internet or telephone can lead you to your goal of great legs. Ensure the vein practice you choose offers a variety of vein treatment options. This will ensure your care is customized for your own specific needs. Unfortunately, there is no single treatment that works on every single leg. Some people may only need one treatment of sclerotherapy, while others may require a combination of treatments. Seek a center that offers treatments for both varicose veins and spider veins. If the center you're considering only offers one type of treatment for varicose veins, that's a warning signal.

We often see patients who have had an endovenous procedure done elsewhere, only to later realize that their varicose veins did not completely resolve and they still have bulging veins. When researching, look for multiple vein treatment options, ie. endovenous procedures (VNUS Closure, ELAS, EVLT, ELVeS), Microphlebectomy or Ambulatory phlebectomy, sclerotherapy, Vein Wave, as well as an accredited vascular laboratory for diagnostic ultrasound testing. Reviewing patient testimonials, before and after treatment photos, and doctor credentials are also helpful.

Next, be sure to interview any prospective doctor before you make a decision to undergo a treatment. If a center only provides consultation with a Nurse prior to treatment, that is a red flag. How can a physician know what treatment is best for you, when he's never evaluated you?  You will want to be sure your vein doctor has full knowledge of vein disorders, conditions, and risks, as well as experience successfully correcting many different types of conditions.

Ask about credentials

Obviously not every medical diploma or certificate is a guarantee that a physician is a real vein specialist. Board certified vascular surgeons have traditionally treated varicose vein conditions of all types, so that's something to keep in mind as you consider treatment options. Additionally, one of the highest credentials now available to vein physicians is board certification in Phlebology, a distinction available since 2008. With board certification in Phlebology, you know your doctor has proven training and experience in the medical field of vein problems.

Ask about equipment, location, and procedures

In order to fully understand the nature of varicose vein problems, you will need to undergo an ultrasound examination. Make sure the vein center you are considering has an ICAVL accredited vascular laboratory on site for this testing. This accreditation ensures standards are met for safety and accuracy of your ultrasound testing. Furthermore, ask if the treating physician will personally be reviewing the test results and will fully explain the results to you. Again, if a Nurse or Nurse Practitioner is reviewing your tests and planning treatments that a physician will be doing later, this is a red flag. The treating physician is the one who needs to have full understanding of your tests and individual anatomy in order to provide the best and safest care to meet your needs.

Ask where the procedure will take place and the safety record of that facility. Although it's not a vein center requirement, facilities that are certified, state licensed ambulatory surgical centers are required to maintain a high standard of cleanliness, sterility, and safety precautions. If this is important to you, ask your vein doctor if his/her office is certified by AAAHC or JCAHO, or visit the AAHC and JCAHO websites for a list of certified centers.

For spider vein treatments, make sure your doctor looks for the "source" of the veins and treats accordingly. Equipment such as magnification glasses and vein lights assist with improved treatments. A well-trained Nurse can perform treatments for spider veins, but always make sure a vein doctor is present on premises when you receive treatment.

So when is a vein doctor not really a vein doctor? Knowing the facts by getting answers to the questions above will help you protect yourself and ensure you have the greatest chance of success for your vein treatment.


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