What Kind of Doctor Treats Varicose Veins? (Part 1 of 3)

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More than 40 million people in the United States experience leg aching, heaviness, itching, or embarrassment caused by varicose veins. If you are experiencing these uncomfortable symptoms, finding a highly qualified vein doctor to diagnose and treat your vein disease is probably one of the most important tasks that you can do.

But where do you start to find such a vein specialist? We spoke to Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) vein expert Reepa Shah, MD, about how to choose the best vein doctor to treat your varicose veins.

Advanced clinical experience

Dr. Shah states that “varicose vein specialists come from a wide variety of backgrounds,” adding that “venous and lymphatic medicine is a fairly newer field of medicine… As medicine becomes more advanced and specialized, (the treatment of conditions that result from venous insufficiency) has become an emerging field of medicine.”

Many vein specialists have come to the field within the last five to 15 years from other primary fields of medicine. These doctors have taken on additional training and board certification and completed a fellowship to become venous and lymphatic specialists. She adds that CVR doctors “come with a lot of clinical experience, are usually double-board certified, and are the best-of-the-best.”

Because it takes extra work and dedication to specialize in this newer field of medicine, CVR doctors tend to be particularly “passionate about helping patients in this new field of medicine.”

Venous and lymphatic medicine: an overlooked field

Because many of their patients have spent years having their vein disease misdiagnosed by other practitioners, CVR vein physicians have learned that venous and lymphatic medicine is an “overlooked” discipline. “Often our patients have seen orthopedists, neurologists, physical therapists, or pain medicine specialists before coming to us and being properly diagnosed,” says Dr. Shah. To overcome this information deficit, CVR doctors make it a point to educate their patients thoroughly about what is causing their symptoms.

CVR doctors also serve as ambassadors for venous and lymphatic medicine. They educate the public and the medical community, about vein disease in all its forms, including varicose veins, chronic venous insufficiency with skin changes, deep venous disease, pelvic venous insufficiency syndromes, lymphedema, and other disorders of the venous and lymphatic systems.

What special training does a venous and lymphatic specialist have?

What special training does a venous and lymphatic specialist have?

Physicians dedicated to diagnosing and treating vein disease follow the American Venous and Lymphatic Society (AVLS) curriculum, whose mission is to advance excellence in venous and lymphatic care through education, innovation, research, advocacy, and the utilization of rigorous scientific methods. CVR doctors add this board certification to their existing board certifications in their primary fields.

The American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine (ABVLM), established to “improve standards of medical practitioners and the quality of patient care related to venous disorders,” administers this board exam. This governing body also requires yearly continuing medical education. Meeting these high standards makes CVR doctors “uniquely qualified” to practice venous and lymphatic medicine,” according to Dr. Shah.

All 100+ CVR physicians attend conferences and meet with each other regularly to exchange knowledge and work collaboratively to improve techniques and patient outcomes.

What skills and experience must vein physicians have?

Dr. Shah believes that proficiency in endovenous procedures is an essential skill that an expert vein specialist must master. These procedures include:

Thermal ablation

These radiofrequency and laser procedures use heat to close diseased veins.

Ultrasound

A high level of technical proficiency in complex procedures using ultrasound physics and mechanics and an in-depth understanding of leg and vein anatomy are needed.

Endovenous adhesives and chemical treatments

These minimally invasive sclerotherapy techniques use chemical irritants to close diseased veins. These treatments eliminate varicose and spider veins, and symptoms of leg heaviness, swelling, and tenderness caused by these unwanted veins.

How to schedule an appointment with Dr. Reepa Shah

Dr. Shah has undergone advanced training in venous and lymphatic medicine and is a board-certified OB/GYN. She earned her medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine. She completed a residency at George Washington School of Medicine, Washington, D.C., and an NIH Graduate Research fellowship.

Dr. Shah is the lead physician at Center for Vein location in Fair Oaks, VA.

Call 1-800-FIX-LEGS or visit centerforvein.com for information and to schedule an appointment. Most major insurances, including Medicare and Medicaid, is accepted.


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