Phlebologist: Specialists in the Treatment of Vein Diseases and Disorders
Dr.'s Arash and Kourosh Keyhani both
specialize in the study of veins and
how to diagnose and treat them.
A phlebologist, a vein treatment specialist, is a doctor that has specialized in the study of the veins and how to diagnose and treat the diseases and other disorders associated with the veins. In the past, vascular surgeons, dermatologists, general practitioners and hematologists were the only doctors who would attempt to treat varicose veins, spider veins, venomous malformations, superficial thrombophlebitis and chronic leg ulcerations.
In 2005, the American College of Phlebology (ACP) started pushing for recognition by the Board of Medical specialties. In 2006, the AMA approved the specialty of phlebology on the list of self-designated medical specialties. The creation of the American College of Phlebology in 2006 and the funding of the first fellowship program in 2007 at the University of California in San Diego lent itself to create the Board Examination in Phlebology; the first Board Examination was held in 2008.
It should be noted that the field of Phlebology is due to the advancement of treatment therapies for the various diseases of the veins. Estimations of people who suffer from some sort of vein disorders is around eighty million Americans, making the specialty field of Phlebologists a necessity.
The necessary training for a physician to be board certified as a phlebologist includes:
- Graduation from a four-year medical school
- A three-year residency program
- A one-year apprenticeship under a phlebologist
- A three-year fellowship program
Once all the requirements are completed, the doctor must then pass the board exams, where they will be certified as a phlebologist. This makes them the best vein treatment specialists in the diagnosing and treatment of the veins.
Past treatments that were available to patients was vein stripping, which was not an attractive option for the surgeon or the patients, thereby, leaving patients with an unhappy choice when they were told that the varicose veins would just come back again.
Treatments now available to the phlebologist by duplex ultrasound technology include:
- Medical lasers
- Endovenous ablation techniques used to heat the vein from inside with a catheter
- Needle based vascular access
Although compression stockings is still a first option when trying to treat vein problems, especially for patients with aching and heavy legs due to existing blood clots in the deep and superficial veins and in healing ulcers, they in no way can cure chronic venous insufficiency (varicose and spider veins), also known as venous reflux.
Sclerotherapy works very well for spider veins and superficial small varicose veins, which entails injecting a small amount of sclerosing solution into the vein making it collapse in a matter of seconds.
Foam sclerotherapy is used to treat the bulging and twisting varicose veins by using ultrasound-guided foam.
Lasers remove small leg veins by heat, destroying them over a two or three week period.
Patients should understand that each treatment is individualized to the patient for the best results.
There are a number of other procedures to deal with vein problems and diseases, which a phlebologist will be able to help the patient determine which treatment is right for them.