A Second Opinion
Second opinions perform a valuable function in the field of medicine. They can help eliminate medical errors and contribute to better patient care. In the area of vein health, second opinions are an essential part of effective diagnosis and treatment, and they can assist patients in taking control of their own health.
Patients often choose not to seek a second opinion for fear of offending their doctor. However, seeking a second opinion is an acceptable and encouraged practice, and most doctors support their patients in this effort.
If you are considering a second opinion, first discuss it with your doctor. Many physicians will be pleased to refer you to an objective source outside of their practice. You can also find a doctor who will provide a second opinion through your insurer, by looking online, by asking other patients, or by using the "Find a Physician" service at the American Board of Phlebology's website.
Second Opinions in the Field of Vein Health
Venous disease is one of the most common chronic conditions in the U.S. The development of new, non-invasive technologies has led to more and more people seeking treatment and being treated for their symptoms. Second opinions fulfill an important role in the effective management of venous disease in light of the growing accessibility of these new therapies.
Who Should Seek a Second Opinion
Patients should feel free to seek a second opinion about any issue related to their care. These are just some of the most common reasons related to vein care and venous disease:
- Patients with venous disease may face a choice of treatment options. Treatment for venous conditions can include ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, light-assisted sclerotherapy and endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), for example. The type of treatment depends on vein size and the source of insufficiency, among other factors. It is often important to get a second opinion to ensure recommendation of the best treatment option for the individual.
- In addition to today’s new treatments, there is a wealth of conservative treatment options including exercise, and compression stockings that can serve as excellent options for patients. Patients should seek a second opinion if they feel their doctor has not presented all available options for managing their symptoms.
- Because of the growing accessibility of laser treatment in treating venous symptoms, some doctors may only provide laser treatments and not other procedures. Seeking a second opinion from a certified phlebologist who provides all types treatments can eliminate bias and direct patients to the best treatment for them.
- Sometimes patients express concerns about varicose veins, spider veins, or pain and swelling in the legs and are told that vein procedures are ineffective or not worth the time, money or pain involved in treatment. In fact, today’s vein procedures are generally painless, non-invasive, and extremely effective, and require little recovery time. In these situations, patients should consider a second opinion from a vein specialist who is informed about the most up-to-date treatments available.
- Patients may receive recommendations of surgical procedures or “vein stripping” to treat vein conditions and eliminate varicose veins. These once viable procedures have been replaced by new, non-invasive procedures. If a doctor has not provided a patient with information about non-surgical options, including sclerotherapy and EVLA, patients should consider seeking a second opinion.
- It is important to see a skilled, board-certified phlebologist who is professionally trained and who understands the effect of venous health on overall health. If a patient has received treatment recommendations from a doctor who is not certified in phlebology, they should consider a second opinion from a board-certified vein specialist.
- Treating visible veins without proper diagnosis of the source of venous insufficiency can be both ineffective and unsafe. Venous disease must always be treated at the source of the insufficiency. If a doctor has recommended treatment without a complete physical screening, patients should consider seeking a second opinion from a certified phlebologist.
- Doctors who perform laser procedures may not always have extensive clinical training and experience in performing laser procedures or an understanding of the physics of lasers. Seeking a second opinion from a skilled, clinically-trained phlebologist is recommended when laser procedures are involved.
- Physicians may not always recommend treatment for symptoms such as leg fatigue, swelling or symptoms that only affect appearance. However, venous disease is progressive and affects overall health even if symptoms are minor or strictly aesthetic, and patients should consider seeking a second opinion in these instances.
- A patient who is told a venous condition will resolve or not progress without intervention is a candidate for a second opinion. While venous symptoms can be effectively managed, venous disease is a progressive condition for which there is no cure. It is important for patients to understand that venous symptoms cannot be cured by treatment, and that symptoms will not resolve without treatment.
- Patients should always be certain they have been provided with all the necessary information about their diagnosis. Any recommended procedure should be fully and openly explained to the patient’s satisfaction. If patients are ever confused about a diagnosis, if they don’t understand a vein treatment procedure, or if they feel uneasy about the level of communication they are experiencing with their doctor, they should consider seeking a second opinion.
The Vein Healthcare Center
The Vein Healthcare Center is dedicated to providing outstanding medical care. We take a comprehensive approach to patient care, and to this end, we feel strongly that second opinions are an essential part of effective care. We always support patients in their pursuit of a second opinion, and can provide them with recommendations of physicians who can provide objective opinions about their case. We are also pleased to provide patients with an unbiased new perspective of their current diagnosis and treatment recommendations.
If you are a patient who is considering a second opinion about a diagnosis for whatever reason, call the Vein Healthcare Center at 207-221-7799 to schedule an appointment. Or if you prefer, you can can request an appointment online.
Physicians interested in referring a patient to the Vein Healthcare Center can find information at Refer a Patient.