With the proliferation of clinics that offer vein treatment, how do you choose the one that is right for you? And, do you really know what condition your veins are in? Just by appearance, anyone can determine if their veins are small and threadlike or large and bulging.
Disliking how they look is a big motivator in seeking their removal. Sometimes though, there are causative factors beneath the surface that render a cosmetic issue into a medical problem.
Many people visit cosmetic clinics that offer to eliminate spider veins by various methods, by individuals with various levels of training, or negligible training. Entrusting your vein treatment to someone with little experience is more common than you would believe. Yet, I doubt these same people would dare getting their hair cut by someone lacking training or experience.
I interview these people daily, so I know this occurs. Some have been burned by lasers or have unsightly pigmentation from inappropriate injections. Some have had vein treatments in private homes! I could go on, but you get the message. I am sure most people would think twice before getting dental treatment in a kitchen or bedroom. Not so with veins.
What is it about veins? Why is it considered a beauty issue? It is obvious that they can be unsightly. To treat them properly though, requires some knowledge of vascular anatomy and hemodynamics. In addition, understanding how to avoid side effects and undesirable outcomes is necessary in my opinion.
A thorough knowledge of what devices or medications you are using to treat veins is mandatory, yet surprisingly deficient. My intent is not simply to scare you, but to educate and enlighten you.
My basic assumption is that if you desire the best results, you might be inclined to seek someone with the best training, knowledge, experience and skill. Some possible questions to ask are provided below.
• Is the physician certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine?
• Does the practice have an ultrasound, and does the treating physician perform the exam?
• How long has the doctor been treating patients with venous disease 100% of the time?
• Does the practice receive good reviews?
• Does the practice provide follow-up appointments after treatment?
• Does the doctor explain my condition and all treatment options, reasonable expectations, insurance coverage or payment options?
• Will there be pain or side effects?
Clearly, the bar has been lowered regarding vein treatment. A large proportion of patients that I have seen over the past 25 years of exclusive vein practice are unaware if they have more serious vein disease.
It is important to accurately diagnose them to provide the correct sequence of treatment and not put the cart before the horse. Outcomes are significantly better for them, plus they understand that venous disease is lifelong.
The good news is that it can be managed excellently, though never “cured." This is because of the hereditary component.
Another example to watch out for is over-treatment. I have seen several people who had excessively large amounts of vein procedures and never questioned it and even appeared surprised that I took notice. Even worse, I have provided many second opinions for apparently scheduled approved vein procedures that were completely unnecessary in my opinion.
Here, it was me that was surprised by the lack of shock expressed by these patients.
I truly like the expression that “the truth has a certain ring to it.”
Patients who are paying attention can occasionally sense that something is not right in certain clinics. They follow their instinct and seek a second opinion. They can usually feel the comfort and reassurance when a provider is honest and caring.
Admittedly, any provider can be having a bad day or personalities may not mesh with everyone. You should still be comfortable in the setting you choose and also remember that the medical relationship is a two-way street.
What is wrong with seeking a professional diagnosis by a highly trained specialist? An amateur opinion is likely to lead to amateur results.
A bad haircut will quickly grow out, but a poor vein treatment has lasting effects. There are numerous board-certified vein specialists all over the country. They would be very happy to make you happy and well.
Dr. Lawrence Presant is the chief medical officer at Arizona Vein Specialists in Phoenix He is a doctor of osteopathic medicine and a certified diplomat of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.