If you are searching for the right physician and facility to have vein treatment or wondering what to consider when choosing a vein specialist, you may have several questions to answer. You will want a highly qualified doctor and a specialty vein clinic and staff to perform all of your vein procedures. In your search, you will discover that veins are treated by dermatologist, internists, interventional radiologist, surgeons and others specialists. How do you find the best doctor – the right fit for you? Here are important factors to consider.
Find a vein specialist who:
- Is a board certified physician but who also specializes in varicose vein and spider vein treatment
- Has experience treating patients with your specific condition and all leg vein conditions
- Accepts your insurance. The physician is credentialed through major insurance companies
- You feel comfortable talking with and one who listens and answers your questions
- Has a vein practice and the clinic is solely dedicated to vein care. The physician is also credentialed by a local hospital
- Provides a comprehensive evaluation and treatment plan and is also able to treat the more complicated vein conditions.
Six Tips for Choosing a Vein Specialist:
1. Review Recommendations:
You may start by creating a potential list of specialists. Friends, family and co-workers may be an excellent source of information when it comes to recommendations because they often have first- hand experience with someone in whom they have developed trust. Sites that show patient satisfaction ratings, which may give you insight into their experience can be helpful. Your private physician or nurse practitioner may rely on their own referral system but often they will share with you reports of their patient experiences.
2. Confirm Credentials and Experience
Take time to research the doctor’s credentials and their experience. Look for a physician who is board certified in internal medicine, dermatology, vascular medicine or surgery and is also certified as a Phlebologist (Venous and Lymphatic Medicine Physician.) You will want to know the doctor treats varicose veins and spider veins on a regular basis. How long have they been treating veins and how many procedures do they perform each month. Does the physician have special credentials in ultrasound (RPVI, RVT or RPhS) and is he/she recognized by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine.
Confirm the physician is in good standing with state and federal agencies and that the physician has no history of malpractice claims or disciplinary actions. A hospital affiliation means a higher level of physician credentialing.
3. Evaluate the Clinic/Center:
Do you feel comfortable with the clinic’s physical layout and is it clean and comfortable. Does the center have a stable and dedicated staff that is very familiar with venous disease? Do you speak with the same staff each visit? Does the staff have a dedicated registered vascular ultrasonographer (RVT) full-time employee who specializes in venous ultrasound and diseases? Is the clinic accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Center (IAC) which ensures best practices in venous diagnostics and care? Does the clinic have additional staff such as nurse practitioner, specializing in venous disease (RPhS), who can thoroughly answer questions, guide your care and help you with pre- and post- procedure issues or questions?
4. Look for Current Technology:
Lower extremity vein conditions or disorders do require a specialist. The venous anatomy of the legs, pelvis and abdomen has variations that require an experienced hand and eye. Ultrasound equipment is ever- advancing, this improves the diagnosis of venous conditions. Treatment modalities also improve over time. A high quality vein center should offer many alternative techniques and technologies to manage venous conditions and complicated cases including incompetent perforator veins.
Ablation treatment options should include thermal (laser and radio frequency) and non-thermal (Clarivein and VenaSeal.) To treat tributary varicosities, the specialist should be highly skilled at phlebectomy and also ultrasound- guided (chemical) sclerotherapy. Superficial (spider vein) sclerotherapy and non invasive Veinwave or VeinGogh technology should be available. As a patient consumer, you should feel free to ask the staff about the diagnostic and treatment options offered by their facility.
5. Interview the Vein Specialist:
During your first visit, take the time to go over the questions you have listed and take note of how comfortable you feel talking with the physician. Does he/she seem to respect your opinion and answer your questions in a way you can comprehend?
You might ask these questions:
- Do you often see or treat patients like me?
- How many treatments, like the one I need, do you do in a month/ in a year?
- What is the usual outcome with a procedure for someone like me?
- Have you ever had a procedure you could not complete? (This answer should be ‘no’.)
6. Explore Insurance Benefits:
Learning from your insurance provider or the clinic about your insurance coverage is a practical matter. Vein procedures/surgeries are typically covered under insurance. The type of coverage, of course, depends upon the plan you have selected from your employer. Often times a vein treatment facility may state that your insurance policy does not cover your procedure. Such facilities or physicians may not possess credentialing through one or more insurance companies (often for complicated reasons.) Be certain to clarify with an alternative clinic or your insurance provider if this occurs.
Make the Wise Choice
We are very fortunate today in that treatment of vein disorders are minimally invasive and they are easily performed in the office setting. Patients do walk out following their treatments and they do return to their normal activity very soon thereafter. The best outcomes occur when you chose your vein specialist wisely.
Not all vein care is equal. Take advantage of our tips for choosing a varicose vein specialist as you begin your search. A little homework can mean dramatically better treatment options and treatment outcomes. At Minnesota Vein Center you’ll find that high quality setting and vein specialist you seek. Contact us and we can assist in your search.