Varicose veins affect a huge part of the population today. Unlike the past, new technology and procedures have revolutionized the treatment of varicose veins and other venous disorders that is the most beneficial to the patient. Treatment no longer requires hospitalization or general anesthesia or down time for the patient. There are many doctors from many different specialties performing these highly technical treatments. The problem is that not all of these doctors are qualified enough to provide the patient with optimal outcomes. How do patients choose a highly qualified vein doctor? They ask certain questions and perform a little research before agreeing to become a patient. Here we will discuss what questions to ask and where to find the information needed to make a sound decision.
Patients, or prospective patients should never be afraid to ask doctors questions. If they feel uncomfortable asking questions a family member or friend could act as a patient advocate. If the doctor is uncomfortable answering or avoids answering any questions it is a good sign he or she does not have the correct answer. When this happens it is definitely time to move on and talk with a different doctor. Chances are pretty good they are not comfortable with the technology or procedures the patient requires.
Question #1 – Is the doctor board certified in Phlebology?
To become an ABPh diplomat, an applicant must complete the requisite training or experience qualifications, meet the continued medical education requisites, and pass a stringent certification examination offered by the American Board of Phlebology. Certification periods are ten years and maintenance is dependent on the ability of the diplomat to display competency in four areas of assessment, evidence of professional standing, evidence of commitment to life-long learning and periodic assessment, evidence of cognitive expertise and evaluation of performance in practice. This certification can be confirmed by visiting the American Board of Phlebology web site and click on the “find a physician” button. This question can be avoided by researching first.
Question #2 – Where did they train to become a phlebologist (vein doctor)?
Believe it or not many of the doctors performing these highly technical varicose vein treatments were actually trained by a sales representative. This is not the best training because the sales representative’s main concern is selling their equipment and supplies. They do not have the patient’s safety or outcome in mind. Other older surgeons are actually still treating veins the same as they did 20 years ago and have not kept up with the advances. The optimal vein doctor has been trained by an experienced Phlebologist who has immense experience in the technology and treatment options. Most of these Phlebologists have actually played a part in developing these new treatments. Their training involves the entire realm of vein care and treatment. They are highly concerned about patient safety and outcomes.
Question #3 – How many varicose vein procedures have they performed and how many complications have they encountered?
This is a very significant question and should be answered with semi-detailed answer. Do not accept answers such as several, some, a lot, or many. A varicose vein doctor should be able to give you an estimated number answer like about 10, over 50, or at least 100 or something like that. This is important because of the learning curve that is essential to become proficient in performing the latest and technical treatment procedures. You want to choose a phlebologist that has perfected his or her technique. This may produce a better outcome. Also is it important to ask about complications and how many they have encountered. This question may very well produce a general answer such as a few but the important fact you need is that they know what complications that may occur and they know how to treat them. Also find out if they would be the doctor treating any complication that may occur or would an additional doctor do this.
Question #4 – Where will venous treatments procedures be performed?
Varicose vein treatments used today are developed to be performed in the doctor’s office or clinic. They do not require a hospital setting or general anesthesia (going to sleep). There are two reasons why a doctor may make use of the hospital to provide these procedures. The first reason is that they do not possess the necessary equipment such as a laser and the ultrasound machine and will utilize equipment and supplies provided by the hospital and/or sales representative. The second reason may be that they do not have the necessary skills to perform the ultrasound examination required and will make use of the hospital ultrasound technician. Regardless of the reason using the hospital facility indicates that this doctor is not fully dedicated to acquire the necessary equipment or skills to provide optimum care for the patient. It also indicates that they do not perform very many of these procedures to make it cost effective to invest in the specialized equipment.
The use of general anesthesia should never be indicated for any varicose vein procedure. This is an unnecessary risk to the patient. Always avoid a doctor who insists on general anesthesia. Insisting on general anesthesia may indicate the doctor does not want you to be conscious during the procedure. This may be because they take a very long time to complete the procedure, usually due to the inexperience, and the patient will become uncomfortable remaining still for so long. Most vein treatment procedures can be completed by a qualified Phlebotomist in about 30 minutes or less. Neither is a good indication of a competent phlebotomist.
Question #5 – What services do they provide?
A phlebotomist who is devoted to the treatment of varicose veins will provide a full regiment of services for diagnosing and treating all venous disorders. Diagnostic services must include the Doppler ultrasound examination necessary to find the root cause of the problem. This ultrasound service is also very important for varicose vein laser treatment so it is significant that the doctor is skillful in using this tool. A vein doctor that is dedicated to the practice of treating varicose veins should provide the full spectrum of the most up to date treatments. Treatments include compression stocking therapy, Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT), sclerotherapy, trans dermal treatment of spider veins and micro phlebectomy. Doctors who do not offer all these services may opt to send the patient to other doctors for specific treatments. Patients should be conscious of this.
Question #6 – Do They Have a Website
Doctors who are dedicated to the treatment of varicose veins will always have a web site dedicated to vein disorders. This is the place where they can offer patients and prospective patients information about the doctor and their vein practice. Actually a visit to the vein clinic’s web site may also answer many of these questions for the patient before they even set up an initial appointment. A vein doctor’s web site should have information about the doctor, the staff, their location and contact information and the services offered.
In conclusion it is very important that these questions and any other questions patients may have be asked when choosing a qualified and dedicated vein doctor. Again, never be fearful to ask these questions. Qualified vein doctors welcome them because it gives them a opportunity to brag about their qualifications and doctors like to do that. Unqualified or undertrained doctors who do vein procedures may not respond well to these questions and try to evade answering them. Patients should avoid these doctors. With these 6 simple questions and a little research patients can be assured the best care possible with a most favorable result for their vein disorders.