What is Phlebology?
Although abnormal veins have been treated for well over 100 years, the recognized field of phlebology is relatively new compared to other specialties. Phlebology is an area of medicine, with a focus on vein disease diagnosis and treatment. A phlebologist is a physician who has completed additional training, and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vein disorders, including but not limited to spider veins, reticular veins, and varicose veins. Although phlebology is a recognized area of medicine in Canada, a phlebologist must be licensed by the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPSO) as either a Family Physician, General Practitioner, or specialists in another recognized area, such as dermatology. Diagnosing vein disease is done through a very detailed medical history, physical exam, and detailed ultrasound examination. Numerous treatment options are available depending on the severity and locations of specific leg veins. The main stain of treatment includes compression stockings, which are essential to any type of vein problems, from spider veins to varicose veins. Sclerotherapy, with either liquid or foam, is commonly used on all sizes of veins. More invasive treatments such as phelbectomy, endovenous ablation therapy, and vein stripping are also viable options depending on the specific vein problem. Both the Canadian Society of Phlebology (canadiansocietyofphlebology.org) and the American College of Phlebology (phlebology.org) provide excellent patient resources on phlebology, as well as continuing education and fellowships for phlebologists. Dr. Hetz is a current standing member of both the Canadian Society of Phlebology and American Society of Phlebology.