How do you know if you need a vascular surgeon or a vein specialist? What are the differences between these two specialties? For example, if you have painful leg swellings and varicose veins—large and twisted veins on your legs, do you consult a vascular surgeon or vein specialist?
There are differences in the area of expertise between a vascular surgeon and a vein specialist. Read to learn more about these two specialties.
A vascular surgeon specializes in medical conditions that affect arteries, veins, and lymphatic vessels in the body. Vascular surgeons carry out diagnostic and therapeutic procedures for diseases affecting the blood vessels outside the heart.
Treatment procedures could be medical or surgical using minimally invasive surgical techniques.
Here are some vascular diseases a vascular surgeon manages:
- Abnormal blood vessel swelling called aneurysms
- The narrowing and hardening of arteries called atherosclerosis
- Blood clots in the veins
- Abnormal swelling due to blockage in the lymphatic vessels.
Arterial diseases affecting blood vessels outside the heart are the most common vascular disorders. According to the Center for Disease Control, peripheral arterial disease affects 6.5 million adults living in the U.S.
Here are some symptoms that require a vascular surgeon’s intervention:
- Unexplained coldness in your foot
- Cramp-like pains in your thighs and legs after an exercise.
- Pains in your legs and feet that feel worse when you walk more than a block.
- Pale or purplish discoloration of the skin around your legs.
- Unusual numbness or weakness in your legs.
- Poor healing of wounds in your heel or ankle.
The majority of individuals with peripheral arterial disease may not have these symptoms, but here are some risk factors:
- Prolonged history of uncontrolled diabetes.
- Chronic hypertension
- Adults above 60yrs
- History of smoking and sedentary lifestyle.
If you suspect you have a disease in your veins, consulting a vein specialist is preferable.
Vein specialists are trained medical professionals with the expertise to diagnose and treat disease conditions of the veins. These experts manage peripheral venous diseases, such as:
- Varicose veins
- Blood clots in the veins called vein thrombosis.
- Thrombophlebitis-Inflammatory changes in the veins.
- Spider veins- small and tortuous veins visible on the skin.
The American Heart Association states that approximately 23% of adults in the U.S.A have varicose veins. This high prevalence rate indicates the importance of early diagnosis and prompt treatment in managing these venous diseases to prevent complications.
Venous diseases have characteristic features that help you identify them. For example, the presence of swollen clusters of veins that appear purplish or red with associated pain or swelling in the affected area. Also, these vein disease symptoms get better after walking or elevating the legs. The presence of these features, together with significant pain and swelling requires consulting a vein specialist.
Here are some risk factors for developing a peripheral venous disease:
- Physical inactivity
- History of leg trauma
- Jobs that require prolonged sitting such as office workers or prolonged standing such as teachers.
You will benefit from a vein specialist’s screening if you have any of the above risk factors.
To prevent delays in seeking the appropriate specialist care, consult a vascular surgeon if you suspect you have symptoms of peripheral arterial disease. However, if you have symptoms of peripheral venous disease, seek care from a vein specialist.
Getting the proper medical care from a qualified professional improves your health outcome if you have vascular disease.
If you need help with peripheral venous diseases management or have other common questions, our team at Carolina Vein Specialists offers proven therapeutic measures for treating venous disorders. Call Carolina Vein Specialists at 336-218-8346 to book an appointment.