Choosing a Vein Specialist


You are not alone

Since 2007 Dr. Sussman has devoted her practice of medicine to venous medicine and has successfully and safely treated hundreds of patients. Don't be afraid to ask your vein specialist plenty of questions to determine their experience and skill level. Comprehensive vein treatment can be complex and your physician should be able to answer all your questions and guide you through the entire treatment process. It is important that you understand all options before deciding to treat your veins. The treatment of veins, whether for symptoms, advanced venous disease or for cosmetic reasons, is still health care and it is important that you feel comfortable that your physician is choosing the technique that is ideally suited for your individual needs.

Is your board certified physician (vein specialist) also certified in venous and lymphatic medicine?

Some residency training programs may address some of the technical aspects involving modern treatment of varicose veins. This is not the same as being an expert in the diagnosis and treatment of venous disease. Modern treatment of varicose veins is typically not comprehensively addressed in medical schools or residency programs. The invention of endovenous laser technology coupled with the modern medical field of venous medicine provides patients with a superior option that was not available as recently as 12-15 years ago. It’s not the vein treatment your grandma had decades ago. Symptomatic varicose veins and unsightly spider veins are amongst the most common medical and aesthetic problems in medicine. In the United States approximately 80 million adults suffer some form of venous disease.

American Venous Forum Fellows Course Provides Critical Training in Vein Disease:

“Venous disease is one of the most common disease entities new vascular surgeons will encounter in practice and yet it is treated in most training programs like second class surgery,” said Eric Peden, MD, Assistant Professor of Surgery, Division of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy, Michael E. DeBakey Department of Surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, who is chairing one of the 2011 courses. “The AVF’s Fellows Course provides a great overview of venous disease from experts in the field and solidifies training they have received previously so that they can confidently treat these patients.”

Originally intended for vascular surgery fellows, the program was expanded last year to include fellows in interventional radiology and vascular medicine fellows have attended, as well. This was a result of the shift in the interest of specialists in other areas who are more directed to vein work as opposed to arterial work.

Said Dr. Elias, “All of these specialists have taken an interest in venous disease, which is good for us and for patients. If we train the fellows well, they will manage venous disease well.”

VEIN ( Issue 2 of Volume 4 / 2011, 9/19/2011)- excerpts

Does your physician treat veins full time?

(or is it a side job?)

As is true with many fields in medicine, better results are more likely to be realized by seeing a physician who has a passion for this field and has focused 100% of their professional attention to the field of venous medicine. Many patients with leg discomfort from varicose veins and who are unhappy with cosmetic vein conditions are frequently not given the time and attention they deserve. Complete treatment of varicose veins is a process and requires more than one visit and typically multiple approaches including venous ablation, ultrasound guided sclerotherapy and microphlebectomy. If the physician treating your veins only focuses on venous disease part-time you may not be getting complete treatment. Incomplete treatment provides incomplete relief.

Check list for choosing a vein specialist:

Make sure your vein specialist is dedicated to the treatment of venous disease on a full-time basis, and not practicing their main specialty all week, and just dabbling in veins for an afternoon or two.

Make sure they have the ultrasound in-office, and can evaluate the venous duplex examination themselves, which is critical to determining the most appropriate vein treatment for any particular patient.

They should be certified in venous medicine by the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine. 


Make sure the office can treat the entire range of venous issues: varicose veins, spider veins, perforators, thrombosis, chronic venous disease, etc. If they are only treating some of these and not all, they are unlikely to be a true specialist. Many physicians will only treat spider veins.

The office should have the latest, most state-of-the-art lasers, medications and equipment, and all treatments should be performed via minimally invasive technique without hospitalization.

Experience counts! Have they been dedicated to treating venous disease for years, so that they have treated hundreds of patients, or did they just start into this recently, so that you may be very early in their learning curve.

 Finally, don’t be afraid to ask about all of the above. If they can’t tell you how long, or how many, or how often, then once again, they may not be a true specialist.