In recent years, there has been an explosion in the number of spas and clinics offering various treatments for vein problems. I am sure you have seen the fliers in the mail and the “introductory” offers that all seem so enticing. These “cash” businesses usually operate without advanced credentials, training or current knowledge of the treatment of venous disease. They may or may not have medical supervision and, if they have a medical director, he may be off-site or in another state. The “amazing” before and after pictures that they purchase from various marketing firms can surely seem impressive, as are the “introductory” teaser rates they offer. However, a closer look under the hood will reveal certain red flags that an educated consumer looking for professional vein treatment may notice.
The current treatment of vein disease has become a field unto its own. New technologies and advancements in treatment options demand that all therapies that are recommended and performed be done so by a physician with specialty experience in vein treatment. Veins make up a large part of the body circulation and should be managed by specialists in blood vessel diagnosis and treatment. Beyond being a physician, one must show that they have the necessary credentials in vein treatment, and that a large portion, if not all of their practice, is devoted to vein treatment. At a minimum, they should be board certified in a vascular specialty.
The most common complaints that I hear from patients seeking a second opinion are:
- The treating professional could not answer all of my questions in a clear and transparent way.
- The facility was filled with a multitude of patients with a wide variety of ailments and did not appear to be dedicating enough resources to vein patients.
- The staff seemed poorly informed and disinterested, and the facilities were not as clean as I would have liked.
Frequent questions you will want to ask: “How are my vein problems diagnosed?” and “Are you proceeding with treatment without a thorough Ultrasound?” Ultrasound evaluation of the vein anatomy and physiology is mandatory and any clinic that does not offer it is not providing a thorough evaluation. Our experience with blood vessel ultrasound dates back at least 20 years. We are all properly credentialed, as is our full time Ultrasonographer who is RVT credentialed and in the office every day. You will never have to return, or go to an alternate location to have your Ultrasound.
Additional questions to pose are “Have you ever not completed a procedure, or had to refer your patients to another doctor or location?” The answer at our clinic is “never.” We have performed nearly 10,000 major vein procedures and have always completed the treatment. Patients are referred to our clinic from all over the surrounding area, and a significant number were already treated “elsewhere”, when the doctor could not complete the procedure for technical or other reasons. This has never happened at our practice.
Also, “Is the physician performing all of your treatments?” All too many times I am seeing various follow-up treatments being relegated to ancillary personnel. Whether or not they are qualified, they may not be aware of your entire case and what exactly has been done up to this point. This can lead to poor follow-up and disjointed care. I treat every patient through their entire course of treatment.
The final question you should pose is “Are all the forms of treatment available here?” If they do not offer ultrasound, sclerotherapy, RF/EVLT closure procedures, Vein Gogh/Veinwave technology, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and Ambulatory Phlebectomy – look elsewhere.
I hope this provides you with some minimal standards that you should be looking for and some basic questions that you can ask in order to make sure that the initial care that you are seeking is adequate.