25 Most Influential: Steven M. Elias, MD, FACS, FACPH

Steven M. Elias, MD, FACS, FACPH

A colleague had this to say: “Elias has an amazing passion for education. He has inspired me to advance my craft and never stop trying to do my best.”

Where do you see the specialty of phlebology in 5 years? 10 years?

I think the specialty will become more "sub-specialized". MDs will have particular expertise in various aspects of venous disease; superficial, deep, thrombotic, etc. The molecular understanding and genetic predisposition of vein disease will be better understood. Preventative medications may be developed for those patients at risk.

A decade ago, few would have foreseen the crossover in types of vein treatments being offered at other specialty practices. Where do you think the next big movement is going to be and how will it affect vein practice?

The next frontier will be the minimally invasive treatment of deep venous disease. We already have percutaneous treatments for acute DVT. Recanalization of chronic occlusive disease and percutaneous placement of competent venous valves will change our practice patterns

What technological advances are contributing to the quality of vein treatment that most excite you?

Foam treatment, Perforator treatment (PAPS), and emerging technologies to treat deep disease.

What advancements are long overdue?

The ability to aggressively treat deep venous disease (thrombotic, occlusive and incompetence) percutaneously.

Are you involved in leading or teaching educational symposiums at clinics, hospitals, universities, etc? Please share your experiences.

I speak at many meetings and symposia but I am proudest of developing the Fellows Course in Venous Disease 3 years ago. This is an industry funded event that teaches vascular and IR fellows about all aspects of vein disease. Most training programs do not highlight vein disease. This fills the need and also ensures the future of phlebology as the fellows begin their careers. Industry also realizes this is a good investment in the future.

Tell us about any publications or research you are currently working on or recently finished.

I have recently published articles and a textbook chapter on the percutaneous management of perforators, a technique I named PAPS (Percutaneous Ablation of Perforators). My clinical research involves improving the technology of this technique.

What efforts have you been involved in to foster cooperation (rather than competition) between the various venous educational organizations so that the greatest number has access to the advances in the diagnosis and treatment of venous disease?

I have approached the AVF, ACP and SIR about endorsing and supporting the Fellows Course in Venous Disease. Already I have garnered the cooperation of competitive industry for the Fellows Course. I have recently written an article about what I call "The Peloton Principle". A concept by which competing groups can work together for a common goal without sacrificing individuality. I have sent copies to many of our leaders. Hopefully they will buy into this idea.

You are well-known in your field of work. What is something about you that would surprise your colleagues?

That I recently wore a tie when giving a talk at a meeting.

What made you decide to work in phlebology and what do you wish you had known before you did?

As a surgical resident I was lucky enough to do a lot of research and clinical work with Syed Taheri MD. He was my mentor and got me interested in vein disease. We published our extensive experience on the technique and results of Auxiliary Vein Valve Transplant for deep venous disease. I thank him for a large part of my career choices.

If you could share one bit of advice with a rookie, what would it be?

When learning something new, one needs to be comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

What question did we not ask that we should? Now, answer it!!

At the end of the day, Red or White? ...Scotch