Medical Diary The Sixth International Vein Congress

This last April, Miami welcomed hundreds of physicians and allied health professionals attending the International Vein Congress’ intensive program that included live cases, live scanning, expert lectures, optional mini-symposia and a bustling exhibit hall. Alexandra Pecharich, the director of communications for Complete Conference Management which manages and provides CME content for the course reports that the IVC celebrated its sixth successful three-day event and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Course director Jose I. Almeida, MD is gratified and encouraged by the continuing growth of the event and attributes it to the increasing demand for venous procedures, as well as physician and staff interest in staying abreast of the latest technologies and techniques. “All attendees receive educational materials and can apply the hours spent in participation in the meeting toward their continuing medical education requirements,” says Pecharich.

“Knowledge is power, and those who attend IVC are among the most powerful within their chosen profession,” Dr. Almeida said. “By learning to operate effectively and efficiently, practices can do very well. IVC covers clinical aspects as well as business aspects, and so gives physicians and their allied health professionals everything they need to maintain a strong position, even in an economy that has seen some recent ups and downs.”

Each year, Dr. Almeida updates the course’s focus to address issues that are relevant to the first-time and returning IVC attendee alike. Segments on venous incompetence, saphenous reflux ablation, sclerotherapy, deep venous disease, perforating veins and laser and ultrasound physics were featured during the first two days of the congress providing a wealth of education from several seasoned Phlebologists. Optional mini-symposia on vein labs, cosmetic procedures, sclerotherapy and office-based endovascular centers were provided for an additional fee to registrants in attendance. The final day of the congress presented “Items We All Need to Know” – a segment covering special techniques and tips on topics from tumescent anesthesia to pre- and post-treatment photography – and “Office Management Seminar” addressing several important practice-related issues such as billing and coding, office-based surgery accreditation, generating revenue and marketing a practice.

In 2009, IVC moves to the beautiful, newly restored Fontainebleau on Miami Beach. “It will be the same great meeting,” Dr. Almeida promises, “but in a spectacular new setting.”

IVC 2009 will take place May 7-9. For more information, go to

VEIN Publisher Jana Acciacca recently discussed the IVC with George Zumbro, MD, a former cardiovascular surgeon who has successfully transitioned his business into a full-time Phlebology practice. Dr. Zumbro was eager to share the benefits he has received from attending this year’s congress.

You are a former cardiovascular surgeon. What motivated you to move into Phlebology full-time?

As a cardiovascular surgeon, reimbursement decreased each year as the complexity of cases continually increased. The case load also decreased due to PTCA and stents, among other things. I was just burned out dealing with night calls, administration, insurance companies, etc.

This has been an exciting change for me – like reinventing myself. I harvested veins for CABG for years with no thought of the ramifications. I simply walked away from cardiovascular surgery one day and moved to Hawaii for some golf and fishing, but I became bored in a couple of years. I came back looking to do something new, when a card from VNUS and another from Dornier arrived in the mail. I took the VNUS Total Vein Care Course, bought the RF generator and GE Logic Book and rented a small office. Since then, I have taken many advanced courses in addition to getting my RVS, RVT, RPVI and Phlebology Boards. Now I’m doing 40-50 endovenous cases a month plus phlebectomies and sclerotherapy. It has been great!

How has attending this event helped you in your practice?

The IVC was the best conference I have ever attended, regardless of specialty. It helped me pass the Phlebology Board Exam with above-mean scores, and it gave me a feeling for what other practices like mine were doing and if I was doing the right thing in this evolving field of Phlebology.

What topics most impacted your attendance at the event this year?

I do RF and laser endovenous procedures, sclerotherapy and cutaneous laser for veins and each of these modalities were covered well at the IVC. I think I enjoyed the Panel discussions most of all. I will definitely be back next year.

George L Zumbro, MD is a board-certified cardiothoracic vascular surgeon and now a board-certified Phlebologist located in Augusta, Georgia.