When you have a vein problem, or any other medical problem for that matter, it is important that you do your research so that you can find the provider that best suits your needs. The world of vein care is unique, as there is no single formal training program that a doctor must complete to become a “vein specialist.” Because of this, you will see vein care offered by a wide range of specialties, including cardiology, dermatology, emergency medicine, family practice, gynecology, interventional radiology, pain management and surgery. And of course you can even see vein care promoted at your local med spa. The problem is, amongst these many different options there is a wide range of expertise, services provided, patient experience and treatment results that you will encounter. So how do go about finding the provider most likely to suit your particular needs? Read on.
To start your search, it is important that you understand that problems of the venous system, from the tiniest of spider veins to the largest of varicose veins and even more severe issues, like venous stasis ulcers, can be handled in many different ways. There is much to know in the world of vein care, so ideally you want to be seen by a specialist that deals with this type of issue on a regular basis.
Ok, so now you know that you should really see a vein specialist (not someone who just treats this condition on an occasional basis). Where do go from here? There are a number of things you should take into consideration, including the doctor’s background (training, certifications, and experience), recommendations, reviews, the consultation experience, the treatment plan, cost of the treatment, and perhaps the location of the practice.
How to Find the Right Provider for Laser Vein Treatment
In today’s high-tech world, treatment options and techniques have changed for all sorts of medical issues. Laser technology is now used in the treatment of many medical problems, and this includes vein disorders and issues. With laser vein treatment you can benefit from a swift, efficient, and highly effective treatment that can typically be done in the outpatient setting. Of course, you need to make sure you find the right provider for this treatment. Some considerations include:
The Doctor’s Training, Certifications and Experience
If you require laser vein treatment, you need to make sure it is carried out by a professional with the necessary training and expertise. It is also important to ensure that the person you go to has plenty of experience in using these modern techniques in order to deal with vein problems. You should, therefore, make sure you check out the website and even speak to the facility to learn more about experience levels.
While it is a given that your provider will have graduated from medical school and undergone residency training in a particular field, it is imperative that they have had specific training in the treatment of problems of the venous system. While there is no official field of residency training dedicated exclusively to the treatment of vein problems, certain specialties do receive much more experience than others. These include cardiology, interventional radiology and (vascular) surgery. If a doctor has done a fellowship in one of these fields, they are more likely to have had significant experience working with veins, helping them to become more skilled at doing vein treatments than someone who has not undergone that training.
During and after a doctor’s training, there are board examinations which must be taken. In medical school, students take the national medical board examinations. These examinations must be passed in order for a doctor to obtain their medical license. Beyond these examinations are additional and even more important boards which are typically taken after a doctor completes additional training in their field of specialty.
Specialty Board Certification
As explained previously, there are many specialties from which a doctor can choose to train after completing medical school. Each of these specialties has their own board exam which is taken near the end or just after their training. It is of course important that your doctor has passed this board exam to demonstrated competence in their particular field.
Examination of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Disease
Beyond specialty board certification that your provider should demonstrate, there is an additional board examination which is particular to the field of treatment of vein conditions – that is examination put out by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Disease (previously named American Board of Phlebology). If your doctor is a Diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Disease, it means that he or she has received additional training and experience in the treatment of vein conditions. This means they have a higher level of education dedicated to the treatment of problems in the venous system.
Ultrasound Training and Skills
A very important factor that you should take into account in considering a particular provider’s skillset is their training and experience in the performance and interpretation of ultrasound. To make an accurate diagnosis of vein conditions such as varicose veins, a high quality ultrasound must be performed and appropriately determined. How this ultrasound is performed and interpreted is critical, as it will help to determine your treatment. The honesty and accuracy of this ultrasound are highly dependent upon the person performing the exam. If not performed (or reported) correctly, results can be highly misleading and lead to incomplete or inappropriate treatment. If your doctor is able to scan you themselves, they can help to make the diagnosis and explain the findings to you and go over your treatment options with you at the same time.
Ultrasound is also used during the procedure to guide most of the state-of-the art treatments for varicose veins today, including EVLT. If your doctor is able to scan you themselves during the procedure, the treatment has a higher chance of being more comfortable and successful, ultimately improving your results and your overall patient experience.
As with any treatment, there is a lot to be said for having experience doing laser vein treatments. There are all sorts of challenges that may come up during one of these procedures, related mostly to the patient’s anatomy. The more experience that your provider has doing these procedures, the more likely he will be successful in your case…and the more likely it will be comfortable as well.
In additional to having experience performing laser vein treatments, your provider should have experience with many other treatments for your condition. Laser is not always the best treatment choice. There are often several options to choose from, but unless your provider is familiar with and regularly performs these other procedures, they may not offer you one of these other alternatives. When in doubt, ask your provider what options are available. If they have only one treatment that they perform, you should consider getting another opinion.
From your Personal Physician…
Your family doctor or personal physician may have a recommendation for who to see for your vein problems. This can be very helpful, particularly if you have limited time to conduct a search yourself. It is important to understand, however, that unless they have been treated themselves or have received positive feedback from their patients, they may be just sending you to someone that they are familiar with but not perhaps the best option out there for you. Therefore, it is probably best to thank them for their recommendation but gather more information yourself prior to choosing a provider.
From a Friend…
You may have one or more friends who have been treated by a particular provider. This can be helpful information, as someone who you trust, knows you well and has personal experience at the practice can sometimes help guide you in the right direction. Be sure to ask them about things like how they were treated by the staff, how they like the doctor, was their experience comfortable, what their results were like, etc. Ask them everything you can think of as it pertains to your circumstance.
The significance of on-line reviews cannot be underestimated. In today’s world, so much information is available through consumer sites like Yelp.com, where searching by either the name of the practice or the doctor’s name and geographic area, you can read reviews from patients who have personal experience at the practice. You can also search “Best _____ in (geographic area)”, “Best ______ near me”, etc. and then you can click on the various links and continue your research from there.
When assessing the reviews of a particular provider or practice, it is probably best to get an overall feeling for what the majority of people are saying, rather than base your opinion on just one reviewer’s opinion, as there are occasional reviewers who cannot be believed (for reasons that are beyond the scope of this discussion).
These reviews will enable you to learn more about the provider you are considering, helping you to make a more informed decision. Looking at consumer reviews means you can find out more about the practice, including the services levels of the staff, how patients feel about the doctor, the comfort and quality of the treatment, the results of treatment, and the overall satisfaction rates of patients. You can then make your choice with greater confidence.
There is perhaps no replacement of having a consultation with the provider you are considering to treat your veins. During this visit there is a great deal you can learn about the doctor, the staff, and whether or not you really feel comfortable. How are you treated by the staff? Are they kind and friendly? Do they treat you as an important individual or just a number? Do they take the time to listen, understand your particular needs and concerns, and make you feel understood? Do they seem knowledgeable and competent at what they’re doing? Do you trust them in your care?
The Treatment Plan
In discussion of treatment for your problem, does the treatment which they are recommending make sense? Is laser vein treatment truly the best for you? Do they offer more than one treatment option for your condition? In the world of vein conditions, there are typically several treatment options from which to choose. Simply put, it is not a one-size-fit-all world. While laser vein treatment may be an option, many factors may come into play in determining which is the best treatment for you, including the success rate of the procedure, any discomfort you may have (before or afterwards), your lifestyle, how much downtime there is after the procedure, your medical and/or cosmetic motivations, and of course the cost.
The Cost of the Treatment
If you will be paying for your laser vein treatment, it is important to find out what the cost will be so that you can determine affordability. The cost can vary from one professional and facility to another, so you should take time to compare. Treatment of some of the larger vein conditions may be partially or entirely covered by your insurance. It is also worth finding out whether here are any finance options or installment plans available when it comes to payment for this type of treatment.
Cost vs. Value of the Treatment
In considering the cost of your treatment, it’s important that you consider not just how much money you’ll be spending, but what you’re getting for your money – the value of the treatment.
Is the doctor highly skilled in ultrasound? If so, it is more likely that a complete and accurate diagnosis will be made, that the best treatment plan will be made for you, that the procedure will be comfortable, and that the success rate will be higher. If the diagnosis not completely thorough and something is missed, chances of incomplete treatment and recurrence of your problem will be higher, leading to overall higher costs for you due to additional treatments needed.
In assessing the value of your treatment, you must consider if you will you be getting the best results, not only medically but cosmetically. Let’s face it – most patients who undergo vein treatment not only want to be healthy but also want to look their best. Does this doctor and/or staff seem to be attuned to your cosmetic needs? You may pay less for treatment elsewhere (or even more) and not get the cosmetic results you need. What are you getting for the price you may pay? One way to help determine this is to look at the before and after pictures that should be available on their website and at the practice.
One other factor that you might want to consider in assessing the cost of your treatment is your comfort. Does it seem that the doctor and the staff are attuned to making this the most comfortable treatment possible for you? What do they do to assure this? The value of having an overall positive experience cannot be underestimated and may make a huge difference for you.
Where the Facility Is Located
It is of course important that you are able to get to the facility in order to have this type of treatment, so you should consider the location of the facility as well. If you do not drive, you naturally want somewhere that is within easy reach. You may also want somewhere close to home or near to family members. Check on the location and make sure you are happy with it before you make your decision.
Having said that, don’t just choose a facility that is close to home without doing your research. Sometime the extra drive is worth it, as going the extra distance may make a huge difference in the quality of care you receive and the results that you get.
Trust Your Gut
In the end, after you have gathered all the information you can, including the doctor’s background (training, certifications, and experience), recommendations, reviews, the consultation experience, the treatment plan, cost of the treatment, and perhaps the location of the practice, the best thing to do is trust your instincts. Because only you know, in your heart and soul, if this is the best place for you.
Speak to Our Experts Today
If you would like to know more about laser vein treatment, and whether it is the best treatment for you, call (310) 906-2287 and schedule a consultation at Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center today. Dr. Rayman and his outstanding team have extensive experience in this field and will be happy to take the time to answer any questions you may have, do a complete assessment, and explain your options for treatment. If nothing else, having the opinion of an expert will set your mind at ease as you travel the path towards the healthiest happiest you!