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Do you need a second opinion for your veins?

Approximately one third of the population has some form of varicose veins in their legs.  While a much smaller percentage of these people go on to have significant symptoms, vein problems affect millions each year.  But does everyone need to be treated for this?

Many patients have been told that if they are found to have venous insufficiency, where the valves in some of their veins don’t close properly, also known as incompetent valves, then treatment is necessary.  This is simply NOT TRUE for every patient.  The key to deciding if you need treatment is basically one of two reasons:  either you are having symptoms that are interfering with the quality of your life (such as leg fatigue or tired heavy feelings, itching, aching, swelling, pain or other symptoms that limit your activity or require you to interrupt your activities), or you have physical signs of very advanced disease (such as superficial blood clots, chronic swelling in the legs, skin changes in the ankles or legs, ulcerations and more).

However, many ‘vein doctors’ will insist that if they find venous reflux on an ultrasound test in your legs, that you must be treated or you will get severe complications.  Every week I see patients who come for a second opinion about their vein problems, and almost always they have been told that they need unnecessary multiple procedures on their veins, EVEN IF THEY HAVE NO SIGNS OR SYMPTOMS!  This is not the standard of care and could be fraud.  Certainly, if you do meet the criteria that is briefly outlined in the above paragraph, treatment will likely help.  But if you go to a vein clinic for one concern, and they recommend many treatments for things that you have no concerns about, they YOU NEED A SECOND OPINION.  (This is particularly true in vein clinics that have multiple offices and are often in many states, and are owned by business that require the local doctors to meet ‘quotas’ of procedures every month!  Often, you will not see the same doctor work there for more than a few months, the doctor is rarely a board-certified vascular surgeon and you may never even see the actual doctor!)

Dr Kimmel is a board-certified Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, with over 30 years of private practice experience, who now focuses exclusively on vein problems.  His reputation is paramount to his success, and he will always be honest and direct with every patient.  If you do not need a procedure done, he will tell you.  His recommendations are determined by up-to-date and fact-based best practices.  So, if you have questions or concerns about what or why a vein clinic is pressuring you to having unnecessary procedures, call The Kimmel Institute and request a second opinion for your vein concerns.  As Dr Kimmel often says, “An educated patient is the best patient!”