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Who Should I Let Take Care of My Vein Problems?

By Dr. Samuel P. Martin

This is a very important question and will affect your leg health for years. The treatment of venous insufficiency is a medical problem, not a cosmetic one. If you need surgery, you want an experienced surgeon with proper training from a reputable institution. You want a surgeon with the judgment to recommend the best care for your condition. Vein therapy is no different.

Look for someone who received years of training in diagnosing and treating the most difficult vein problems and has been in practice treating veins for at least 3 years. There is no replacement for experience. Vascular and general surgeons receive this training over the course of years, not weeks. Over the past 10 years, with the advent of laser and radiofrequency procedures, other specialists have started treating veins. Many have taken just a week or two-week course or apprenticeship. These specialists include family practitioners, dermatologists, cardiologists and interventional radiologists who have had no training in diagnosing and treating venous disease.

Look for a vein center dedicated to venous therapy. The staff doing the diagnostic studies should have board certification as an RVT (registered vascular technician) or RVS (registered vascular specialist). The medical director should be certified as a RPVI (Registered physician in vascular interpretation), RVT or RVS. In addition, training and experience obtaining the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine is a further indication of expertise and commitment. It is an added bonus if the center has been IAC (Intersocietal Accreditation Commission) certified to carry out venous and arterial ultrasound. This means they have shown continued excellence in performing vein and arterial studies that meet the highest standards.

Don’t hesitate to ask your primary care doctor—he or she will frequently know or be aware of who does quality venous care. Don’t be sucked in by magazine ads, billboards or websites promising beautiful legs with pictures of models who have never had vein problems! This is fantasy, not reality. Trust your legs to someone with the proper credentials and experience to accurately diagnose your problems and deliver effective treatment.

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