VARICOSE VEIN DOCTORS

Type “Varicose Vein Doctor” into your Google search and in seconds, you’re overwhelmed by results.

Each link points to a different website.  Each site claims their “Vein Doctor” is the “best” and every practitioner claims to have the “bona-fides” to back-up these claims. Credentials span the continuum from Academic Institution Affiliations, (claiming to be X, Y or Z University Affiliated); to Chair-Personships (they “chaired’ this or that medical departments in the “Big Box” health care systems they came from (i.e. Kaiser, PAMF, or Sutter) to Medical Journal Publications…all this in an apparent attempt to equate administrative responsibilities with clinical excellence. Some of the bolder in the group even claim they trained at the best medical schools hoping to convince potential patients that by attending a great medical school they are the best physician for the procedure.

 

AN ESPECIALLY CONCERNING TREND IS A PHYSICIAN’S USE OF GOOGLE ADWORDS TO ADVANCE THEIR MESSAGE

 

If a vein doctor’s website shows up in your Google Search and you see that the listing starts with the word “AD” …be careful. It means that the owner of this practice is paying Google a special Advertising fee to get their name to the top of the search results. This is an attempt by this physician to “BUY LEGITIMACY”.  Businesses PAYING google to display their ads above the practitioners who have EARNED this privilege is a great way for Google to make money. Unfortunately, it can be deceiving to people who think that because a doctor’s website pops up at the top of the search results that they must be the best. (On a separate note…If a physician’s website DOES show up at the top of the search results and DOES NOT have the word “AD” in front of it, IT IS a sign that this physician has many website visitors and that they have been around for a long time…Especially if this listing is followed by a large number of Google Reviews.)  It also means that this physician has EARNED their reputation, and NOT purchased their website ranking. A word of warning to patients searching for an experienced vein care professionals. Anyone can pay to elevate their search rankings on Google; regardless of their experience.

 

IGNORE websites with paid “AD’s”, especially if they don’t have any verified Google reviews. 

 

To make things even more difficult, it can be very confusing just trying to figure out what kind of doctor actually does varicose vein procedures. Some doctors call themselves “Vein Specialists”. Others call themselves “Vein Experts”. You’ll also see the labels “Phlebologist” and “Vascular Expert”. Finally, there is the “Vascular Surgeon”. You ask yourself, do all of these physicians fix varicose veins? If so, what’s the difference? (Learn more by clicking on the following link). https://www.southbayvascular.com/blog/vascular-surgeon-vs-phlebologist-vs-vein-specialist/ Every one of these “Vein Doctors” promises to rid you of your ugly, painful veins, leg swelling and non-healing ulcers. Every one of them posts photos showing off their work to prove their point.

Let’s face it, it’s confusing. All you really want is to get your veins “fixed” so that next time you get invited to a pool party you can wear shorts or a skirt again without being “mortified” by how bad your legs look. So, what’s next?

Lost in this hype, finding the right doctor to treat your varicose veins might seem impossible. Choosing the best doctor for your specific vein condition is a difficult decision and not one that you should take lightly.  Only after serious consideration of the available options should this decision be made and in the best of all worlds, it should be made in consultation with your primary care physician…and this is the probably the most important message in this post.

LISTEN TO YOUR PRIMARY CARE DOCTOR

They’ve been in this community a long time and they know who is good and who is not. Their referral should be your number one reason to make an appointment with a Varicose Vein Doctor.

In the best of scenarios, patients should visit as many doctors as they can; interview them and question them about everything relating to their condition and their ability to help you…but remember, your primary care doctor has been doing this for a long time. They’ve got the benefit of having seen the results from different doctors and on the strength of their recommendation, you should have the confidence to know that you are making the right choice.

Here are a few things varicose vein patients should keep in mind:

  1. Remember, these are your legs. You deserve the best and you deserve to “Love Your Legs Again”.
  2. Don’t be frightened to ask your doctor tough questions.
    • Don’t just ask your vein doctor how long they have been in practice, ask them how long they have been doing these specific kinds of vein procedures. Ask them how many of these procedures they’ve done.
    • If your doctor is in private practice, ask them how long they have owned their own practice. This is important because getting things done right in a private practice is significantly more difficult than getting work done in a University Hospital or Big Box Medical System.
    • How many of these procedures have you done RECENTLY….if they do less than 25-30/ month, you might want to seriously consider finding another option
    • What kind of complications might you expect…every person is different and if your doctor says your legs will look as good as they did when you were 20, you might want to consider seeing someone else.
    • Who does your ultrasounds…are your ultrasound techs RVT’s (Registered Vascular Technologists?) Are they done “in-house” by full time Vascular ultrasonographers or are they done by “travelling” ultrasonographers who just work in their office a few times a week and who are not full time employees of the medical office.
    • Most importantly, is your Vascular lab IAC Accredited? This is especially important as your doctor will make their diagnosis on the basis of your ultrasound report and an IAC accreditation guarantees the best of the best studies are being done at that particular lab.
    • Who reads the ultrasounds….is it an RPVI registered physician, not simply a radiologist… as the two physicians will look for vastly different signs relating to vascular disease and health. Keep in mind if the study isn’t read correctly, the procedure can go poorly.
  3. Finally, ask your “Vein Specialist” about what happens if you have a complication Ask your provider if they have “Admitting privileges” at the local hospital in the event something goes wrong during the procedure and what their plan is if their procedure fails.

 

EXPERIENCE COUNTS WHEN IT COMES TO YOUR HEALTH!

 

South Bay Vascular Center and Vein Institute brings 24 years and 20,000 vein procedures to you as our patients. As the leading independent Vascular Surgery practice in the San Francisco Bay Area, more local independent physicians refer their vein patients to Dr Kokinos than to any other vascular surgeon in the greater Silicon Valley Region.

WE OFFER HOPE WHEN OTHER SAYS THERE IS NONE!

Call us today at 408-376-3626 to schedule your vein consultation

IMPROVING THE LIVES OF OUR PATIENTS

Improving the lives of our patients is the foundation of everything that we do. In pursuit of this goal we strive to provide the most advanced vascular treatments available and to care for our patients in a compassionate and respectful manner.

At South Bay Vascular Center, we give our patients hope when others say there is none. By providing the most advanced vascular care available in our own state of the art angiography suite, South Bay Vascular has grown into the leading center for amputation prevention in Northern California. When other physicians say an amputation is necessary, our physicians perform diagnostic testing few, if any other centers in the area can provide. As a result, our physicians save more legs than any other doctors in the region.

Dr. Kokinos and Dr. Pineda perform more lower leg re-vascularization procedures than any other vascular surgeons in the area. Each year we save hundreds of patients from below knee and above knee amputations by performing specialized procedures that few other surgeons in the area are trained to perform.

Additionally, we work tirelessly to spread the word that patients facing amputation should always ask what else can be done to save their limb before going ahead with their amputations. Our goal is to educate anyone being told they need an amputation that they need a second opinion from a board certified Vascular Surgeon. When their doctors can’t answer the simple question of what does the inside of their artery look like, it’s time to ask for a second opinion.

 

But we can’t do this alone! We need everyone’s help to spread this message. There is hope for many patients facing diabetic amputation but, every week we see patients who have tragically already undergone an amputation without getting an informed second opinion from a Vascular Surgeon. For these patients, it’s too late.

We invite everyone to use the immense power of the social network to help spread the word that there is Hope for many of these patients. Reach out to everyone you know and let them know that if they or anyone they known is facing a potential lower limb amputation they need to call our office for a second opinion.

Our goal is to stop unnecessary amputations. Please Help!

Spread the word to everyone you know. Like us on Facebook, tweet this message to your friends, share this story over a drink… snap chat and Instagram the message that the physicians and staff at South Bay Vascular can Help!

Call us at 408-376-3626 to schedule an appointment or visit our website www.southbayvascular.com to learn more about what can be done to stop unnecessary amputations. Join us today and

Take A Stand Against Amputation!!

WHAT IS ENDOVENOUS LASER THERAPY?

Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLT), a treatment for varicose veins, is an advanced, highly effective treatment for varicose veins. EVLT works by using targeted laser energy to close off problem veins, thus relieving the symptoms and appearance of varicose veins and restoring healthy, attractive legs. This treatment is ideal for large varicose veins, including the greater saphenous veins.

The EVLT™ Procedure is minimally-invasive and virtually pain-free. While surgical vein treatment methods can cause scarring and other side effects, the laser energy used in EVLT minimizes risks and complications. Laser energy is delivered directly to the target vein to shrink the walls, which eventually causes the vein to close. Blood flow is diverted to other, healthy veins, eliminating the varicose vein bulging, discoloration, and pain.

EVLT is performed as an outpatient procedure, usually in less than an hour, with only local anesthesia. This means that recovery time is dramatically reduced. Most patients can resume normal activities immediately following treatment, while enjoying superior clinical and aesthetic results.

WHAT IS VASCULAR ULTRASOUND*

The medical specialty of vascular technology utilizes diagnostic ultrasound to generate images of blood flow within the veins and arteries. Ultrasound uses high frequency sound waves, similar to the sonar that a ship uses to detect structures beneath the surface of the water. Vascular ultrasound can also be known as a Doppler or duplex study. For example, if your physician wants to make sure that you do not have a blood clot in your leg, he or she might order a venous duplex or venous Doppler examination.

Vascular ultrasound procedures are noninvasive, meaning they do not require the use of needles, dyes, radiation or anesthesia and are, therefore, relatively painless and harmless.

The information obtained through vascular ultrasound examinations is extremely helpful to physicians in diagnosing a variety of conditions related to cardiovascular disease, disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Early detection of life-threatening vascular diseases is possible through the use of noninvasive vascular testing techniques performed within vascular facilities.

Vascular ultrasound’s reliability in diagnosing conditions related to heart disease and stroke is encouraging as we strive for ways to reduce the more than 500,000 lives lost in the United States each year to these disorders. However, it is critical that the public realizes there are many facets that contribute to an accurate diagnosis based on vascular ultrasound examinations. These factors include the skill of the technologist/sonographer performing the examination, the type of equipment used, the background and knowledge of the interpreting physician and quality assurance measures. In fact, poor ultrasound examinations often lead to inconvenient, redundant studies, misdiagnosis and even unnecessary tests or surgery.

*Taken from the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission Website

VASCULAR ULTRASOUND LAB ACCREDITATION: WHY IT’S IMPORTANT

Taken from the IAC Vascular Testing Accreditaton Website

IAC accreditation demonstrates a commitment to quality care.

The purpose of the IAC Vascular Testing accreditation program is “to ensure high quality patient care and to promote health care by providing a mechanism to encourage and recognize the provision of quality vascular diagnostic evaluations by a process of accreditation.” Through the accreditation process, facilities assess every aspect of daily operation and its impact on the quality of health care provided to patients. While completing the accreditation application, facilities often identify and correct potential problems, revise protocols and validate quality improvement programs. Because accreditation is renewed every three years, a long-term commitment to quality and self-assessment is developed and maintained. Facilities may use IAC accreditation as the foundation to create and achieve realistic quality care goals.

IAC accreditation provides a confidential peer-review.

Designed to serve facilities as an educational tool, IAC accreditation is made up of two crucial steps. First, facilities conduct a detailed self-evaluation using the IAC Standards and Guidelines for Vascular Testing Accreditation and the Online Accreditation application. Completion of the application requires detailed information on all aspects of facility operation as well as the submission of actual case studies for review. The case studies are crucial in determining the facility’s compliance with the IAC Standards, and are the basis for judgment of the quality of work that facilities perform. Once the self-evaluation is completed, the documents and case studies are reviewed by the IAC Vascular Testing Board of Directors. All aspects of the review are confidential.

IAC accreditation is a recruiting tool.

Accredited facilities can use their accreditation as a recruiting tool to attract the best and brightest physicians, sonographers and technologists. Talented professionals look for high-quality programs, and accreditation assures potential employees that a facility is dedicated to achieving the highest standards for patient care.

IAC accreditation is intersocietal.

The intersocietal, multi-specialty approach is the foundation of the accrediting divisions under the IAC umbrella. IAC Vascular Testing is a nonprofit organization established with the support of the sponsoring organizations. Representatives from these sponsoring organizations, including physicians, sonographers and technologists, serve on the IAC Vascular Testing Board of Directors. All areas of vascular testing were represented on the Board during the creation of the Standards for accreditation, and all areas continue to steer the accreditation process.

IAC accreditation is proven successful.

Offering accreditation for more than 20 years, the IAC Vascular Testing (formerly ICAVL) pioneered the intersocietal approach to imaging accreditation in 1990, as the first of the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission (IAC) divisions to be developed. Today, reimbursement in more than 30 states hinges on either facility accreditation or technologist certification. The number of IAC Vascular Testing accredited facilities in the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico continues to grow, with more than 2,600 sites currently holding the accreditation. The IAC offers multi-modality accreditation through its programs dedicated to Vascular Testing, Echocardiography, Nuclear/PET, MRI, CT / Dental CT, Carotid Stenting, Vein Center and Cardiac Electrophysiology.

IAC accreditation demonstrates accountability.

Health care organizations are held to very high levels of accountability, by peers and by the general public. In numerous states, reimbursement directives that require accreditation of the facility have been instituted by Medicare carriers as well as private, third-party insurers (please visit Payment Policies section for the current list). Similar draft payment policies are pending throughout the United States. Facilities attaining accreditation before it is required for reimbursement demonstrate a willingness to surpass current expectations. The general public and members of the vascular testing community will recognize an unmatched commitment to providing quality health care by facilities that achieve IAC accreditation.

IS VEIN DISEASE COVERED BY INSURANCE

One of the questions I am most often asked when doing screenings for vein disease is “Is treatment covered by insurance?” As usual, most medical questions are not easily answered and so the answer is yes, and no. All insurance companies consider varicose vein disease treatments medically necessary, and will therefore cover it, if there are complications such as bleeding or ulceration. Most consider treatment medically necessary if there are symptoms and reflux can be demonstrated on a Doppler exam. Of course some of the newer treatments are considered “experimental” and therefore not covered. Spider vein treatments are considered cosmetic and no longer covered by any insurance plans of which we are aware. Lastly, not only does each insurance company have its own requirements but each individual policy can vary within the general guidelines of the company. Sounds confusing and it is. The best way to find out if your particular situation meets the requirements necessary for insurance coverage is to come in for an evaluation. Call us at 408-376-3626 to schedule an appointment to discuss your options.