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I'm pretty sure I want to have my moderate varicose veins treated with ELA. What should I base my choice of a specialist on? Degrees earned, years of experience, before-and-after pictures, equipment used? What's truly important to a good result?
Experience and case volume as well as the MDs results.
Experience is certainly a good place to start. I would also try to speak with some former patients if possible. I would not get hung up on degrees and specialty so much. And if the physician is Board Certified in Phlebology that should also give you confidence.
I would say to choose someone that can gain your trust through good communication and education.
I would suggest that experience with vain ablation is the most important factor. Choose someone who has done a lot (greater than 300 ablations).
A physician who is detail-oriented and will spend the time to evaluate you and to educate you regarding management of your venous disease is important. While physicians of any specialty can learn to treat most problems with the superficial veins, some learn a broad range of skills from which to choose to meet your needs. Others are limited to performing only a few procedures because they have less experience, training, or desire to provide the broader range of services.
Any answer to your question will be controversial. Surgeons who are board certified in General Surgery or Vascular Surgery have advantages over other physicians, but they, too, must learn skills which few are taught during their surgical training. Certification by the American Board of Phlebology suggests that the physician is serious about treating superficial venous disease and should be viewed as a good sign.
If you know others who have been treated in your area or have a primary care physician who can advise you, this may give some insight into the experiences of others which may influence you.
If you do not sense that you are receiving a thorough evaluation or that your questions are not being answered, seek another opinion.
Experience is most important. You should look for a practioner who is fully dedicated to venous disease, as opposed to one who is dabbling in veins. Board certification in a specialty that relates to veins such as interventional radiology, general or vascular surgery as well as Board certification in phlebology indicates at least some degree of proficiency. Perhaps most important is what other patients say about the physician as well as your gut reaction to the office.
Your decision to be treated should be based on several factors-most importantly is experience. I used to tell the surgical residents that experience and common sense are two things that cannot be taught. I would also look for board certification in general or vascular surgery and for someone who has a dedicated vein practice and is considered a Vein
Specialist, not someone just doing veins secondarily as part of a different practice. Lastly, I would look for board certification in vein treatment by the American Board of Phlebology and certification in ultrasound as either an RVT, RPVI or RPhS.
You should go to someone who truly specializes in vascular disease, preferably a vascular surgeon. Many people (doctors) buy a laser and try to make some extra money on the side treating veins. This is unacceptable. Call around to find a pleasant office staff, a board certified vascular surgeon who actually performs the surgery him/herself, and has at least some experience in terms of how long he/she has been treating veins and how many procedures he/she has done. There are a lot of cardiologists (heart specialists), radiologists (who read x-rays and such), dermatologists (skin doctors) and even family doctors who want to treat your veins. Be advised! If you have a complication, make sure the person taking care of you can treat the complications, not send you to someone else (who should have treated you in the first place!).
Perhaps most important is what other patients say about the physician as well as your gut reaction to the office.
Experience is also very important. You should look for a practioner who is fully dedicated to venous disease, as opposed to one who is dabbling in veins. Ideally the surgeon/physician should have done hundred of the ELA he is planning to perform. Board certification in a specialty that relates to veins such as interventional radiology, general or vascular surgery as well as Board certification in phlebology indicates at least some degree of proficiency.