When dealing with vein disease, knowing what doctor you should be seeing will significantly improve the success of your vein treatment. Not all doctors are the same many have not completed the same level of certifying examination. In fact, most vein doctors fall into 1 of 3 subgroups that each have varying qualifications: Board Certified Vascular Surgeon, Phlebologist, or Vein Specialist. Invest in yourself and get educated. This will help you find the right doctor before diagnosis and venous disease treatment.

Let’s explore each group of vein doctor and what their training means for your vein disease treatment and successful completion. 

What is a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon?

These types of surgeons have expert training dealing with vascular disease to open blood vessels and allow blood to flow correctly through the body. According to the American Board of Surgery, a board-certified vascular surgeon will have completed the Vascular Surgery Qualifying and Certifying Exams. Specifically, the qualifying exam is a 6-hour multiple-choice exam, and the certifying exam is a 3.5-hour long oral session.

Before certification, 5 to 7 years of specialty training must be completed. Because of their extensive training, these doctors are the only ones that manage patient’s operative care. Additionally, board-certified surgeons hold hospital admittance privileges and can provide complete postoperative care to patients. A board-certified vascular surgeon must repass examinations every 10 years.

What is a Phlebologist?

A phlebologist has medical training and expertise in treating various venous diseases. Specifically, phlebologists treat diseases like varicose veins, blood clot disorders, spider veins, and other minor vascular conditions.

The qualification standards are less stringent. In fact, any physician who has performed a residency in a recognized American Board of Phlebology specialty and passes a written qualifying exam can claim board certification. As a result, this title is not representative of competence and training in surgical vascular fields. These doctors can only treat cosmetic vein issues and diseases as a result.

A phlebologist does not hold hospital privileges and is not prepared to manage and treat postoperative issues that may arise. Specifically, this means in the event of a problem, the patient would be sent to a hospital emergency room where a board-certified vascular surgeon would treat the patient. These physicians mustn’t use this alternative board-certification to allude that they possess a higher level of training in the field.

What does a Vein Specialist do?

The title vein specialist can be used by medical doctors who may be board-certified in their respective fields. For example, dermatology or cardiology, but will perform minor cosmetic vein procedures. Specialists do not have specific enough training to diagnose and treat vascular disease. In contrast, the vascular surgeon’s credentials allow them to treat a wide variety of vascular conditions.

These doctors may have a board-certified qualification, but these titles are representative of their skill specific to their primary fields of training and not disease of blood vessels. Adding cosmetic vein treatments into their field of practice is a way to supplement their business. 

Which vein diseases should be treated by a vascular surgeon?

In most cases, you should have any serious vein ailments looked at by a board-certified vascular surgeon, because these doctors have been highly trained in the vascular field. You want a doctor with experience beyond treatments for varicose veins. Many vein diseases are easy to treat but can become life-threatening if left undiagnosed. As a result, patients who never get testing or choose unqualified doctors to increase the risk of complications that could result in death or disability.

They can diagnose and treat vascular diseases like:

  • Varicose Veins 
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • Chronic Venous Insufficiency
  • Pulmonary Embolism
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)
  • Venous Ulcers
  • Buerger’s Disease
  • Blood Clots
  • Lymphedema
  • Vascular Pain
  • Aortic aneurysm
  • Carotid artery disease
  • Renal Disease
  • And many other concerns with the way your veins are carrying blood. 

If you smoke cigarettes, have diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, or have a history of vascular disease, you are considered high risk. Above all, high-risk patients should get regular screenings to catch and prevent problems. In addition, patients should also actively work with a board-certified vascular surgeon to properly maintain their health.

What types of treatments are available to board-certified vascular surgeons?

A board-certified vascular surgeon has training and access to treat all types of vein disease. Specifically, vascular disease procedures range from a simple treatment for varicose vein using compression stockings to more invasive treatments like vein filters and stenting. Furthermore, vascular surgeons have hospital admittance and can care for patients from diagnosis through postoperative care. 

Treatments a vascular surgeon can provide:

  • Prescription compression stockings: To improve circulation
  • Medicines for blood flow, ulcers, and kidneys: Improves circulation and can aid from the inside
  • Laser or radiofrequency ablation (RFA): A way to close off veins or remove them
  • Sclerotherapy: Used to eliminate varicose and spider veins
  • Ligation Surgery: Surgical tying of veins
  • Vein Stripping: Surgical removal of veins
  • Ambulatory phlebectomy: Surgical procedure to remove superficial veins

By choosing a doctor with full qualifications to recognize a vein disease and appropriately administer care, you can mitigate many risks and future vein health issues. However, inadequate vein care can result in hospital stays, loss of limbs, and loss of life. Beyond surgery, a qualified vein surgeon assists in a health plan that involves dietary changes, an exercise regimen, and the correct medications. In fact, using advanced technology and high levels of training and practice, vascular surgeons can provide patients with options to improve their quality of life or act urgently to save it. 

Dr. Bonau, Dr. Keyser, Dr. Kim, and Dr. Lee are board-certified vascular surgeons at the Franklin Vein Centre. These surgeons specialize in vascular surgical procedures and practice minimally invasive methods whenever possible.

Their dedication to their practice ensures each patient receives a careful diagnosis, perfect treatment, and the best vascular procedures in Nashville. If you are experiencing leg discomfort, varicose veins, or need to schedule a screening, please call us and schedule an appointment at (615) 503-9895.