Now that the weather is improving, and summer is just around the corner, if you are feeling self conscious about your varicose veins, you may be dreading peeling off the layers or wearing leg-baring outfits. Perhaps you have even researched treatment options. If that is the case, you will find a number of clinics offering services and all claiming to be specialists in the field. It can get confusing, so how do you decide who to go to for treatment?
What options are available?
Open surgical stripping has now been replaced with a non-surgical procedure, which is less invasive and is performed under local anaesthetic. This type of procedure is referred to as endovenous treatment. Because the procedure has been simplified, there have been many providers enter the varicose vein treatment market.
- Beauticians provide microsclerotherapy (chemical injections) for spider veins with other cosmetic procedures.
- GPs provide endovenous laser and radiofrequency ablation along with sclerotherapy.
- Dermatologists provide laser and sclerotherapy treatment in some clinics.
- General surgeons still provide open varicose vein surgery in the hospital operating room in some centres.
Although minimally invasive venous treatments can be provided by many different groups, and many people ask whether or not a GP or dermatologist should treat their painful veins, vascular surgeons are in the best position to provide these treatments for many reasons.
GPs or primary care physicians are on the front line of medicine and they are tasked with keeping you and your family healthy. Dermatologists are important for healthy skin. General surgeons are not trained in endovascular techniques.
Because of the lack of standards, several cosmetic and appearance medicine colleges for GPs have developed to create a credentialing process through short training programs. Vascular surgeons spend years training, through a longstanding and robust programme, which has worldwide recognition. Endovenous skills are part of the core skills acquired during this training. Vascular surgeons also train in the use of ultrasound, which allows us to map veins and plan treatment. We are also experts in dealing with any complications. Unfortunately, if one of these other providers has a serious complication, only a vascular surgeon has the skills to deal with it.
Expert care involves an understanding of the body’s whole vascular system, from the heart to the blood vessels that pump blood around the body. Vascular surgeons deal with blood vessels everyday. Venous treatments are the most straightforward of the types of procedures that we perform, and because we are truly experts, you will experience a safe and positive outcome.
You wouldn’t ask a podiatrist to clean your teeth, would you? Neither should you expect a doctor of any specialty except a vascular surgeon to treat your veins.