Who Treats Varicose Veins?

Several kinds of doctors diagnose and treat varicose veins and spider veins. Your primary care doctor may make the initial diagnosis and refer you to another doctor. Specialists who diagnose and treat varicose veins include:

  • Phlebologists
  • Vascular surgeons
  • Dermatologists
  • Dermatology surgeons
  • Interventional radiologists

Whichever one you see, check the specialist’s medical training and credentials before your visit. This includes asking about his or her experience with the varicose vein procedure.

You should also make sure that the doctor who will be treating your varicose veins can handle any unexpected findings or complications. This may mean referring you to another specialist.

Phlebologist — Vein Disorder Specialist

Phlebologists are specialists (typically with vascular, dermatology and hematology backgrounds) who treat superficial vein disorders in the legs. Besides varicose veins and spider veins, they address other venous issues such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), thrombophlebitis and any venous malformations. They have additional graduate training after medical school including:

  • Vascular ultrasound: a technique for diagnosing problems with veins, as well as guiding treatments for varicose veins
  • Sclerotherapy: a treatment for varicose veins that involves injecting a solution into the veins to seal them with scar tissue
  • Endovenous laser ablation (or intravascular laser therapy): a method of treating varicose veins using lasers to close off the veins
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy (or microphlebectomy): a surgical technique that involves removing varicose veins through small cuts in the skin

Vascular Surgeon — Surgical Vein Specialists

Vascular surgeons provide care for disorders of the arteries, veins and lymphatic system. They are trained to perform both open and minimally invasive surgical procedures. Vascular surgeons can diagnose and treat varicose veins, as well as more serious problems with the veins.

They offer several treatments for varicose veins, including:

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy (or microphlebectomy)
  • Radiofrequency ablation: this outpatient procedure uses a special tool inside a small tube (catheter) to heat the wall of the varicose vein with radiofrequency energy, which causes the vein to close
  • Ligation and stripping: a method of treating varicose veins by tying off and removing the vein

Dermatologist - Skin Specialist

Dermatologists are doctors who specialize in diagnosing and treating skin conditions, including varicose veins and spider veins. They are trained to treat varicose veins using:

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Surface vascular laser (or pulse light therapy): a treatment for smaller spider veins that involves shining a light through the skin to close off the veins

Dermatology surgeons have more training in surgical procedures for treating varicose veins, including:

  • Ambulatory phlebectomy (or microphlebectomy)
  • Endovenous laser ablation (or intravascular laser therapy)
  • Radiofrequency ablation

Interventional Radiologist - Imaging Specialist

Interventional radiologists are doctors who specialize in using X-rays, MRI and other types of imaging to help provide less invasive treatments for many conditions. The use of imaging allows them to insert a small tube (catheter) into the body in order to treat a disease from inside. This includes treating varicose veins with:
  • Endovenous laser ablation (or intravascular laser therapy)
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy (or microphlebectomy)

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