When seeking varicose vein treatment, it is very important that you find a board certified phlebologist to do the initial diagnostic exam, interpret the results, and map out the best course of treatment for any vein problems they discover. We explain the various reasons why below. First, however, we explain the terminology in detail as it can be quite confusing and it’s important to understand if you are contemplating this type of treatment.
Broadly speaking, phlebology is the study of veins and a phlebologist is a doctor who specializes in vein diseases. More specifically, phlebology is the study of the anatomical and physiological aspects of veins. Like all scientists, medical researchers love to use Greek and Latin roots to create medical terms. The medical term, “phlebology,” is composed of two Greek and Latin roots:
- “Phlebo” means “vein” in the ancient Greek language.
- “Ology” means “the study of” or “the body of knowledge about a certain subject” from both Latin and Greek.
When reading about varicose vein treatment, be careful not to confuse the term “phlebologist” with the term “phlebotomists.” These two terms sound very similar, read very similar, and they both pertain to veins. However, these are very different health professionals with very different levels of medical training. A phlebologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) who has graduated from medical school and has a professional license to practice medicine. He or she has also chosen to specialize in vein diseases so they have additional advanced training in this field.
On the other hand, a phlebotomist is a trained health technician (not a doctor) who specializes in drawing blood. If you are in the hospital and they need to draw blood for a medical test, a phlebotomist will usually do this. You will also find phlebotomists at blood drives. However, a phlebotomist does NOT specialize in vein diseases and is NOT a doctor!
To make the distinction between these two similar sounding terms even more clear, if you go to a varicose vein treatment center like Metro Vein Centers, a phlebologist (a medical doctor with a specialty) will conduct the exam, interpret the results, and plan a course of action. If, however, during the course of diagnosis or treatment, he or she needs a blood sample from you, they will typically ask a phlebotomist to draw a blood sample. Hopefully, that clarifies this common source of confusion!
Let’s turn back to why it’s so important you seek out a board certified phlebologist, and not a “regular” doctor, when deciding whether or not to get varicose vein treatment.
A board certified phlebologist is certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine (ABVLM). The ABVLM works to improve the standards in varicose vein treatment and make sure that phlebologists receive ongoing and updated training in this specialized field of medicine, even after their initial training to become a board certified phlebologist.
Since phlebology is a field with rapid improvements, it is important that a phlebologist stay current on all the latest techniques! This is also much to your advantage! The ABVLM is also involved in improving communication between the general public, varicose vein treatment patients, and various government entities who exert influence over this medical speciality. Therefore, a board certified phlebologist will also likely be a better communicator with you about your treatment options. He or she will also likely be a better communicator with your insurance company which will increase the likelihood your varicose vein treatment will be covered by insurance and not have to come out of pocket!
When medical school students graduate from medical school, they do not automatically and immediately have the right to practice medicine. In order to practice medicine in the United States, a medical school graduate must obtain a medical license. This is a professional license that must be maintained in good standing for as long as they practice medicine. Furthermore, this is a STRICT legal requirement to practice medicine. In fact, if person is found to be practicing medicine without a professional license in good standing, they can be brought up on criminal charges. Unlike the required medical license, however, a phlebologist specialty certification is not a strict legal requirement to practice phlebology.
Thus, if you go to your general practitioner, he or she has the legal right to make a professional diagnosis of varicose vein diseases and even treat them in his or her office. However, most responsible general practitioners will refer you to a varicose vein treatment center, such as Metro Vein Centers, with board certified phlebologists who have special training and far more experience in this specialized branch of medicine than they do. However, you should be aware that not all doctors do this because it is not strictly a requirement of law or their professional license to do so.
So, to sum up, you should look for and insist on seeing a aboard certified phlebologist to determine if you need varicose vein treatment and the best treatment for your condition. This gives you several advantages. First, the doctor you see will have specialized training in this specialized area of medicine. They will also likely have a great deal of experience in treating vein diseases. This means you’ll be able to trust the diagnosis and recommended treatment more. Working with a board certified phlebologist will also ensure you have the best chance to have your insurance pay for the procedure(s). Finally, you’ll be in better hands in terms of communication about your varicose veins. Good luck and check out Metro Vein Centers for your varicose vein treatment.