3 Things People Hate about Varicose Vein Specialists in Pittsburgh

3 Things People Hate about Varicose Vein Specialists in Pittsburgh

Varicose Vein Specialists – Should They Stay or Should They Go?

How Some Varicose Vein Doctors Fool Patients and Get Away with It

Nowadays, I am seeing more dissatisfied patients than ever who want a second opinion from another varicose vein specialist for their unwanted veins.

Some have already been to a previous vein center as a result of a TV, radio, or newspaper ad.

Many others chose the other vein center because it was located close to their home.

We live in an age where people don’t seek out individual doctors for their medical care anymore.

That’s sad.

In Pittsburgh, that concept is largely being driven by the two competing health insurers, UPMC and Highmark.

They direct their referrals only to specialists within their network.

Here’s how varicose vein referrals from your primary care doctor in Pittsburgh really works.

This essay discusses the pros and cons of the depersonalization of specialty medical care as it pertains to varicose vein treatment.

Firstly, let’s review the three biggest complaints that people in Pittsburgh have after being seen at vein franchises and med spas here in our city.

It still blows my mind that people actually go for the treatment of their varicose veins at med spas which are not great places for varicose vein care.

Anyway, let’s begin.


Here goes.

Reason #1.

#1 Not Seeing a Doctor At All on the Initial Consultation Day

That is the number one pet peeve and complaints that people have against vein centers that hire part time doctors – let’s just say – of questionable backgrounds and qualifications in Pittsburgh.

The fact is that these vein “supermarkets” actually train their own varicose vein specialists and assistants.

That’s not good!

I recently received a form letter from a Pittsburgh med spa looking for a doctor (any kind, it didn’t matter to them).

The letter read – “no experience needed.”

It added,

“We will train you.

Make up to $1500 per day on a part-time basis treating veins.”

Is that the kind of doctor that you were anxiously awaiting to see on your consultation day?

Most people who shop for varicose vein procedures without thinking much about it will end up with this kind of part time doc.

Most people don’t want to see just a nurse or physician’s assistant of some sort when they come for a consultation about their varicose veins.caution sign

Warning: “Cookie-cutter medicine” doesn’t cut it when treating varicose veins.

Everyone’s veins are so different. Venous disease really is quite variable.

Therefore, the treatments also vary tremendously from person to person.

The treatment that your friend or family member received is often not what you will need.

Your medical problems and general health also influence the treatment decisions.

If a suspicious doctor only shows up on the treatment day, you are being seriously short-changed.

Do you want to trust your treatment decisions and health to an assistant of some sort?

Phantom doctors – who show up only on procedure day and leave the building as soon as they are done – are a big problem with these places.

You never even learn their names let alone their qualifications.

Most of the time if you dig further, you will find that these vein docs with dubious credentials were actually trained by the vein center.

If you investigate further, they are really family practice doctors, emergency room doctors, gynecologists or general surgeons trained only in vein stripping which is no longer done.

#2 Not Being Told the Whole Truth

These are the hidden facts that are often not disclosed beforehand at vein franchises and med spas.

  1. How much will my insurance pay?
  2. How much will I need to pay after insurance has paid their part?
  3. People with high deductibles need to know the total cost of their procedures since insurance really won’t come into play.
  4. Is their ad saying – 95 % of veins covered – even close to being truthful?
  5. Did the vein center train them? (very common in Pittsburgh)
  6. Will more treatments be needed?
  7. What are the clinic’s vein specialists and the staff’s qualifications?
  8. Has the vein center ever been inspected? (all health facilities must be inspected and accredited to be safe)
  9. What would happen if there is a medical emergency in their facility?

Many vein centers hire multiple rotating doctors who practice in dozens of offices in the Pittsburgh area to work their satellite offices.

Many of these satellites are just set up to corral the people who want somewhere close-by to have their veins treated.

#3 Corners Are Being Cut by Vein Specialists

Risks aren’t discussed at sketchy Pittsburgh vein clinics.

Your doctor must go over possible complications and risks in detail.

It’s called informed consent.

You must be told the risks and alternatives before you sign the permission form to do vein surgery.

All of the people who come for second opinions tell me that the risks of their vein treatments were never discussed at all at the other vein center.

I suppose they didn’t want to scare their potential victims.

Doctors are supposed to focus on keeping patients healthy and not on maximizing revenue.

But do you know what’s sad?

Self-interest is a strong motivator.

Opportunistic vein specialists and vein centers are nowadays financially driven and entrepreneurial.

This is especially true at vein franchises and med spas.

They are a menace.

Think about it a minute.

Then bite the bullet and do some serious research.

Make a true effort beforehand and save your regrets.

How to Research a Varicose Vein Specialist

The following example and link is exactly what can happen to you if you don’t carefully investigate a vein doctor first.

Patients get hurt when greedy vein doctors practice this way.

The best terms for this is varicose vein patient abuse.

Frequently, the doctor’s underlying excuse is that they were burned out in the field that they had originally chosen.

They chose practicing on veins as a way out.

It’s very common in today’s high-stress financially driven medical environment.

Why else would these doctors switch their life’s work to treating a previously underserved population?

Here’s a detailed guide on how to research the best vein center in town.


To sum up, in our present-day financially driven health-care environment, you can’t assume anything about a vein clinic.

Be skeptical.

It’s a tired old cliché. But isn’t tired old cliché one?

Come closer. A little closer. I need to tell you something.

All things considered, don’t naively choose a vein clinic believing that a place has your best interest at heart.

Seek out a truly unbelievably qualified and genuine vascular surgeon.

Not an entity where all of the medical staff including the doctors are just interchangeable cogs in a machine.

Research an actual varicose vein specialist (not a place), their qualifications, their training, and the accreditation of the vein center where they work.

Our doctor is an experienced board certified vascular surgeon trained in venous problems at the Mayo Clinic.

Call us at 724-969-0600 to learn the truth about Pittsburgh vein specialists.

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.