Every vein center claims they are the best but are they really? We will tell you what you need to know when looking a vein center in a series of blog posts by Dr. Bruce Stein.
Everyone tells you that they are the best. How can you evaluate all of these vein centers? I will give you a list of six things in two parts that you can use to evaluate these vein centers. Here is the first list of three things to look for. I will list another three in next week’s blog post.
The biggest questions you need to answer and ask are:
- What technology do they use at the vein center? Varicose veins are treated by passing a catheter or plastic tube into the vein. This catheter is slowly withdrawn. As it is withdrawn heat is applied. This heat can be generated by a laser or by radiofrequency. These technologies are not the same. Laser therapy penetrates deeper into the surrounding tissue and causes much greater soft tissue damage. You can see a video demonstrating the difference in the September 11th blog post. Due to the greater tissue damage there is more pain after the procedure. Laser also causes more bruising and it takes longer for the leg to heal.
- Is it a full-time vein center? – A lot of so-called vein centers do not focus on treatment of vein disease. They may be run by a vascular surgeon who is very busy with his/her non-vein patients. Same thing applies to a radiology practice that does a small number of vein procedures. Phlebology (the study of vein diseases) is its own field with a great number of subtleties. New studies and information is always coming out. Only a full time phlebologist (vein specialist) can keep abreast of all these advances.
- Do they have a board certified phlebologist (vein specialist)? – You need to be able to differentiate among the various vein centers out there. One way to do this is to look for board certification. This certification is awarded by the American Board of Phlebology. In order to receive this prestigious designation the practitioner needs to show that they have performed a certain number of treatments and ultrasounds. They also have to pass a rigorous exam. You can feel more secure in the hands of a board certified phlebologist. You can find out if your physician is board certified at http://www.abvlm.org/find_a_physician.asp.
- Well, that’s it for today. I will give you the next three tips on how to evaluate all these vein centers next week.