When dealing with your health, you understandably want to choose the best professional to diagnose and treat you. Sometimes you get lucky and a trusted friend or family member will refer you to a doctor so you can be reasonably assured that the doctor will take excellent care of you.
Other times you may be left scouring the Internet or directory listings, doctor websites and review portals, looking for an option that makes you feel confident.
But whether you receive a referral or research doctors on your own, it’s always a good idea to meet with your chosen professional and ask the right questions. Not only can you listen for the answers that will likely mean better treatment but you can also get a sense of whether you connect with the doctor personally. After all, part of your experience is emotional and it’s important to be comfortable with the doctor you select. Otherwise you may hesitate to visit, fail to share important details that can affect your health or simply have an unpleasant experience.
Assuming you’ve found someone personable and compassionate that you feel you can work with, these are some things you can ask about varicose veins treatments and procedures – and the answers you want to listen for.
Some doctors and vein centers perform additional procedures and others focus exclusively on veins. There is a benefit to working with a doctor who specializes in veins because that means that everything from the facility to the staff, procedures and equipment is focused on the treatment you need.
Diversified doctors may only perform certain types of procedures, which may not necessarily be in your best interest. Or they may not spend the same amount of time performing procedures so don’t have the same level of experience.
If you inquire about the percentage of a doctor’s practice that involves procedures other than vein treatment, you can better gauge the level of expertise of the doctor.
Vein specialists who focus exclusively on veins are more likely to concentrate their ongoing education on the kinds of diagnosis and treatment options that can benefit you and to have the most experience performing the procedures you need. And they’re more like to keep equipment upgraded and techniques as modern as possible.
Beyond a medical degree, you can dig a little deeper to understand what kind of training your doctor has, whether it’s in general surgery, cardiology, vascular treatments or other areas. Look for a doctor who specializes in vascular disease treatment.
You can also look for industry certifications, like IAC (Intersocietal Accreditation Commission) accreditation. It’s not a widespread certification held by many doctors, but it demonstrates an additional commitment to the highest quality medical care and lets you know that your doctor meets high standards in the eyes of both the industry and the public.
Not all doctor’s offices are created equal. In fact, not all vein centers are created equal. Some are better equipped to handle your medical needs than others.
A facility that is designed with vein treatment in mind will take your comfort into account from the distance you must walk to reach the offices to the way your insurance is handled and the functionality of the treatment chairs.
In a regular doctor’s office, you may be put on an exam table or in a regular chair while the doctor performs your treatment. In a specially equipped vein center, chairs are designed with a full range of motion so the doctor can reach areas to treat without affecting your comfort.
When it comes to equipment, your doctor should be able to perform treatments including sclerotherapy, laser therapy and radiofrequency. With expertise across a variety of treatments, you’ll have access to the one that is best for you.
In addition, be sure your doctor has an ultrasound to perform an accurate diagnosis. Ultrasound should be performed by professional ultrasonographers and can also be IAC certified.
In the days of vein stripping when your options were limited to overnight hospital stays and potentially painful procedures followed by long recovery times, people were understandably worried about treating varicose veins.
But with modern treatment options and a proficient doctor, your experience should be no more painful than having a cavity filled and require little to no recovery time.
If your doctor insists on a long down time or prepares you to expect pain and discomfort, that should be a red flag. Typical procedures should require only a short outpatient session resulting in minimal discomfort. Any discomfort you feel afterwards should be treatable with over the counter pain medication if you need it. You won’t need prescription painkillers and you can drive yourself to and from your appointment then go about your regular activities afterwards.
Varicose vein treatments should be covered by your insurance carrier but there may be conditions attached. For example, you may be required to wear compression stockings for a period of time prior to treatment in order for your insurance company to pay for the service.
You doctor should be able to advise you in insurance matters and also help you manage the process so you can get proper treatment and coverage.
As you talk to your doctor and ask questions, it’s not only important to look for the type of answers you want, but to be sure that your doctor is both forthcoming and honest.
It may not always be easy to judge the latter, but it starts with good communication. A reliable professional will be willing to sit down with you to talk through all of your questions and to provide satisfactory answers that you understand. If you meet with resistance or an abrupt manner, that could be a warning sign that you won’t get the kind of treatment or experience you need.
You also want to be mindful that when it comes to medical procedures, there is no foolproof treatment or result. And while you may not want to choose a doctor who tells you to expect pain and long recoveries, neither do you want to work with a doctor who paints a too-rosy picture. That doctor is probably not managing your expectations effectively.
Your doctor should be open about risks and side effects, however minimal, the possibility of recurrence, needs for aftercare and other variables.
These tips can help you find a specialist who provides you with answers you’re comfortable with and an experience that will result in the best possible outcome for your medical needs.
If you have any additional questions or would like to put us to the test, contact us for a consultation. Let our doctors, staff, facility, experience and certifications show you what a positive and productive treatment can be.