Phlebology is the specialty of medicine dedicated to the treatment of venous disease. Phlebologists are physicians who treat patients with venous disorders such as varicose and spider veins. Essentially, all physicians who practice Phlebology have transitioned from another medical specialty. That is why most Phlebologists are double-board certified in their original specialty AND Phlebology. ONLY physicians can sit for the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine Board (ABVLM) exam. This written exam provides no assurance that a provider is proven to have the technical skills to perform venous procedures, rather simply documents basic academic knowledge.
Nurses and Physicians Assistants are not Physicians and therefore are not Phlebologists. Beware of chain vein centers and other vein clinics that substitute physicians with nurses and physician assistants and market them as “Phlebologists.” Some vein clinics have gone further by associating these mid-level providers as physicians or doctors. These mid-level providers are qualified to assist in venous procedures but are NOT approved by Medicare to perform procedures independently. They are appropriately compensated at lower levels than Physicians. The motivation for substituting physicians with mid-level providers is likely motivated by financial savings and could never be about improving patient care. Patients looking for the highest level of medical/surgical experience and skill for the treatment of their venous disease should beware of these so-called “Fake Phlebologists.”