BY MINDI RUDAN
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We’ve all seen them; on the beach, bulging behind summer shorts or marring the look of an otherwise great “gam” or worse—on our own legs in the mirror: Varicose or spider veins. Defined basically as veins that have become enlarged and twisted, the “bulge,” appears when valves or the pair of “leaflet valves” no longer meet properly, and simply put, the valves just don’t work anymore. (Valvular incompetence.) This causes blood being pumped from your heart– that we often take for granted, hard-working veins carry to and fro– to back up, if you will, creating the unsightly bulge we know as varicose veins. Most common in the superficial veins in the legs, which are subjected to high pressure from standing, too much sitting, inactivity or the dastardly leg crossing, these veins can actually be found anywhere on the body, even the face.
While most people seek remedy for the cosmetic aesthetics, there’s much more reason to check them out—especially as we age. And while there are countless vein clinics, or even medical “spas” that offer to treat the malady, few bear the pedigree of board certified, world-renown cardiologist Ariel Soffer, founder of Soffer Health Institute, now with SIX locations. His professional credits could fill a page alone, but his personal passion for this field and his journey towards it–is much deeper. This IS the doctor who for FOUR years had an ABC News Health segment called “Dr. Soffer’s Second Opinion.”The same doctor medical companies still call to test and give input on new methodology, new tools, techniques and breakthroughs. This IS the doctor who gives a seminar in New Orleans every year for 3-500 other highly skilled physicians who travel from all over the country to learn from him. HIS techniques, his innate diagnostic ability and gain his insight into this specialty. He’s that talented, and that committed.
And lucky for us, his SoFla locations are graced by him –and a hand-picked and trained staff every day. His website heralds almost rock star adoration from legions of patients, some whose lives have potentially been saved, and countless others he’s made more livable and enjoyable because of his “vein whisperer-ish” knowledge, talent and years of focused experience.
“He’s (Doctor Soffer) clearly the top of this pyramid,” offered Adam Kustin, company spokesperson and someone who’s clearly enamored of Dr. Soffer’s skill and humility after seeing what he does every day. “In this field, he is as good as it gets, yet the man is so kind, so warm and so approachable, it has spawned the growth of this practice.” And call me crazy, but when you are talking about your vascular health, your overall well-being and your potential to enjoy living life, going to a “medical spa” to be treated for veins that work in tandem with your heart daily—SHOULDN’T be a crap-shoot. “You want the best,” said Kustin. “Two people can walk in with the same bulging vein issue, but there’s no way to tell if either has any real underlying health issues. It’s more than just cosmetic.” And Dr. Soffer’s ability makes sure patients don’t walk out just cosmetically beautiful, but walk out KNOWING there isn’t a serious hidden health issue that could be life threatening just down the road. “Sometimes people aren’t bothered by the bulging vein but they experience achy, very tired legs, numbness or restless legs and they never associate these “symptoms” with varicose veins. That’s why seeing a doctor as qualified as Dr. Soffer and his staff becomes so vital.”
And fixing the issue is relatively simple. “And pain-free,” he added. “Most procedures involve closing the vein, sometimes repairing it. The new lasers are very low risk, super accurate and extremely effective. We can also inject saline. It depends on the severity.” When asked why this doctor has made vein health his focus when he clearly is still regarded as one of America’s top cardiologists, the answer brought staggering clarity and a character trait we all want in our doctors. “It was emotional for Dr. Soffer. He wanted to stop fixing the sometimes near unfixable issues in cardiology. Instead he wants to help people prevent these life threatening issues BEFORE they take a toll. Before they compromise how a patient lives life …and he gets an immediate hug,” half-joked Kustin. “He SEES people pain free, enjoying life again who didn’t even know it was possible for them. They never connected the dots, he does.” With six offices locally, Deerfield Beach, Weston, Pembroke Pines, Aventura, North Miami Beach, Hialeah/Miami Lakes, Dr. Soffer is accessible. His staff is multi-lingual, welcoming and most importantly willing to help people start the process.