Choosing the Best Vein Specialist is Not So Simple – Happel Vein Center

Choosing the Best Vein Specialist is Not So Simple – Happel Vein Center

What’s the Ideal Training, Experience and Certification of a Vein Specialist?

Pittsburgh Vein Care signAll web sites look alike when you are searching for a vein center or a vein doctor.

You need to look closer at the true qualifications of the doctor who will actually be doing your treatments to get the best results possible.

Would you ask an electrician to fix your leaking faucet or plumbing?

Of course not.

You have to pick the right specialist for the specific medical problem that you have.

That applies to varicose vein problems as well.

You need your vein specialist to be trained in all aspects of varicose vein treatments.

Vascular surgeons who are board certified to meet that critical requirement.

searching for a vein specialist

Would you knowingly choose a vein doctor with these backgrounds?

Training of Doctors Who Perform Vein Treatments

Doctors who call themselves vein specialists include:

  • family practitioners
  • dermatologists
  • cardiologists
  • general surgeons
  • interventional radiologists
  • gynecologists
  • emergency medicine doctors

Although they are legally allowed to perform vein procedures, they often do not have the training in venous disease.

Most are not true vein specialists.

Most cannot manage complicated or advanced venous problems that they may have seen at a three-day weekend conference.

What Is a “Phlebologist?”

You might have seen some doctors calling themselves phlebologists.

They usually did not train in veins or vascular disease.

Doctor holding American Board of Surgery

Choose only a board certified vascular surgeon trained in vascular disease

The phlebology certification is not officially recognized by the accrediting boards which includes the American Board of Medical Specialties (the ABMS.)

The ABMS was founded in 1933 to prevent exactly this kind of fake board from being perpetrated on the public as legitimate.

Hospitals don’t recognize these boards like the American College of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and neither should you.

On the other hand, training in vascular surgery requires an approved fellowship to sit for the written and oral board examinations in vascular surgery.

An ideal vein specialist has been trained at a prestigious medical institution like the Mayo Clinic.

What Are the Other Ideal Qualities of a Vein Doctor?

You want a doctor who will treat you like a person and not another case or number.

Since Dr. Happel treats his patients himself, he will get to know you personally.

Trust is also earned when you see that your doctor is on your side fighting for the best care that can be provided.

After the appropriate testing is done, a customized treatment program specific to your individual vein issues will be designed.

Your vein doctor must be proficient with Doppler ultrasound.

Ultrasound is critical in both diagnosing and also treating varicose vein problems.

Look for credentials like registered vascular technician (RVT) and the registered physician vascular interpretation (RPVI).

The doctor must be able to actually do the Doppler ultrasound themselves.

They often depend on a technician to tell them which procedure to do.

How Important is Experience When Treating Your Vein Problem?

A vein doctor must specialize in veins and not dabble in treating them one or two days per week.

You really don’t want a part time vein specialist.

Experience is critical.

A doctor who has been practicing for over thirty years will have seen every different variation of varicose vein disease.

Every patient’s vein problem is different.

  • Some people require laser.
  • Some patients require injections or sclerotherapy.
  • Some have very large veins that need removed through micro incisions. That is called phlebectomy.

Others need a combination of those treatments.

A true vein specialist’s experience allows them to know almost intuitively which treatment plan will work the best.

Let’s go to the last move in this chess game of looking for the right vein specialist.

Why Vein Center Inspections Are So Important

Happel Laser & Vein Center is an IAC accredited vein center

Happel Laser & Vein Center is the only accredited vein center in Pittsburgh

Most doctors do not want to go through the headache of having their vein center accredited.

It is very difficult, time intensive, and arduous.

The standards are rigorous and exhausting to fulfill.

At this time, accreditation is only mandatory in Massachusetts in order to participate in their Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurance plan.

An admirable quality in a vein specialist is their choosing to have their vein center to be inspected and accredited.

At present, this is completely voluntary.

To be accredited, the vein center must fulfill all of the demanding requirements to ensure the public that national standards have been fulfilled in regards to safety and quality.

Minimum standards of training, experience and ability to perform the required basic procedures must be observed and graded by inspectors.

Just like in a hospital.

Without being inspected, you have no ideas what corners might have been cut.

Would you go to a restaurant that has never been inspected?

Why should a vein center be any different?

The Bottom Line

Don’t be fooled by all the fancy web sites for vein centers that you see when you are choosing a vein center in Pittsburgh.

Unsuspecting patients don’t realize that not all doctors who are treating varicose veins are alike.

Most places claim to have “experts” but they have never trained in the vascular field or treated a vein in their training.

They don’t have the hands-on technical skills attained after an extensive training program like vascular surgeons have.

Don’t fall for gimmicks like free screenings to entice you to any old vein center nearby.

Dr. Happel and the Happel Laser & Vein Center meet all of the important criteria listed in this article for being rated the top vein specialist and the #1 vein center in Pittsburgh.

The Happel Laser & Vein Center was the first and remains the only vein center in Pittsburgh to be granted accreditation for varicose veins treatment and the fourth vein center in the United States to achieve this distinction.

Why would anyone have a vein procedure done at a vein center that has never been inspected like hospitals are?

IAC accreditationAchieving this elite status of IAC accreditation differentiates Dr. Happel.

He has over three decades of experience and was the first physician to perform laser varicose vein surgery in Pittsburgh.

You want a vein center of excellence.

The IAC or Intersectional Accreditation Commission has verified that John Happel MD has voluntarily undergone a rigorous review including on site examination of his vein facility by a national panel of vein experts.

IAC accreditation is a “Seal of Approval” that patients can rely on as an indication that a vein center’s safety and qualifications have been comprehensively evaluated.

Dr. Happel received his vascular surgery training and vascular surgery fellowship at the world-famous Mayo Clinic.

That means a lot.

Dr. Happel is Board Certified in Vascular Surgery.

He practices on varicose veins full time. Doctors refer their family and friends to him because of his superior qualifications and experience in the field of specializing in varicose veins.

He does not delegate your diagnosis or your treatment to others.

He alone will discuss your treatment plan and perform all of your varicose vein treatments.

He is a national recognized leader in the field of vein care.

The Happel Laser & Vein Center is located in McMurray, PA. and is twenty minutes south of downtown Pittsburgh.

Got Veins? Get Happel.

Don’t put off the treatment of your varicose veins any longer.

Call 724-969-0600 or visit us




About The Author

Dr. John Happel

Dr. John Happel has been in practice as a surgeon since 1986 in the Pittsburgh region. He specializes in vascular surgery and has subspecialized in the treatment of varicose and spider veins since 1999. Dr. Happel is board certified in vascular surgery and recertified in vascular surgery in 2012. He was chosen in 1985 to fulfill the position for the vascular surgical fellowship at the world renowned Mayo Clinic.