"The bitterness of poor quality is remembered long after the sweetness of low price has faded from memory."
Decisions regarding health should be driven by expertise, experience and outcome above all.
Everyone is cost conscious these days but it is important to know that just because treatments sound the same they may not BE the same.
Beware of clinics that quote a cost for treatment without seeing you, this will often be an "under estimate" and not take into account many of the components of care you may require.
We do not quote prices on the website as it can be misleading.
Treatment is very individualised and depends on the extent of the vein problem, the method of treatment, the number of treatments required, the time taken for each treatment, the expense of the consumables used and your individual healing.
The treatment options and costing can only be determined after we have performed a detailed scan and consultation and determined what your goals and expectations are.
The final total cost to fully treat your legs will also depend on your desired "end point".
If your goal is symptom relief, this can usually be achieved in one treatment.
If you goal is a "cosmetic outcome", costs will depend on how extensive the varicose and spider veins are and how many treatments and types of treatment are required to obtain the desired result.
There are also a number of steps and associated costs other than the main treatment cost that may apply in achieving the final desired result. If comparing costs between clinics you need to compare "apples with apples" and consider the total "out of pocket" expense for ALL of the costs DIRECT & INDIRECT below.
DIRECT COSTS: Make sure you factor all of these in, not just "Price of Laser"
Because the vein clinic does all the above “in house” in a streamlined fashioned we usually work out to be much more time and cost effective than other clinics that may outsource some of the above steps. We also usually combine steps 1-3 into one visit to save you time and money. Dr Matar also personally checks all scans to ensure unrivalled diagnostic accuracy and tailor the treatment plan specifically to your vein problem.
Our treatment plans often work out to cost less money "out of pocket" than similar treatment with alternative providers.
INDIRECT COSTS: Often the biggest cost and frequently overlooked
One of the biggest costs that people forget to factor in is the indirect costs both in terms of discomfort and financial cost.
Recovery after surgical stripping is nearly always much more painful and prolonged than after laser or the newer treatments such as Venaseal™.
2 days of your life in hospital and 2 weeks home recovering and not able to work is a huge expense and opportunity cost for a self-employed person. For a mum with young children this is a massive inconvenience and may necessitate additional costs with child care and “calling in favours” from friends and family.
Pain and suffering also comes at a cost as does the secondary treatments needed in about 50% of patients having stripping to treat surgical recurrence.
HEALTH FUNDS: Not much help
The newer vein treatments including endovenous laser have been designed and classified as an outpatient procedure, this is to reduce overall costs on the health care system (admission fees, bed fees, theatre fees, anaesthetist fees etc.). Therefore, the cost of these procedures is not covered by private health insurance.
Health funds will often contribute up to 80% of the cost of stockings worn following procedures.
Health funds will however cover old fashioned surgical stripping performed in a private hospital but cost savings may be minimal (if any) when ALL costs are considered (see below).
There is a Medicare rebate for most of the non-surgical procedures however it rarely covers even the costs of consumable items let alone the overheads of providing a state of the art treatment centre with modern laser, ultrasound, safety equipment, premises, insurance, staff etc. This of course means that out of pocket expenses are encountered.
PRIVATE HOSPITAL - STRIPPING: Beware ALL the hidden costs
Many patients will be disappointed that the outpatient non-surgical vein treatments are not covered by health funds and start exploring surgical stripping because "my health insurance will pay".
Some surgeons that are "no gap providers" will advise "no out of pocket cost for surgeon's fees".
This may give the impression that treatment is "free"; this is usually not the case.
Health fund excess, anaesthetist fees, scan fees, consultation fees and additional “touch up” treatments may all be encountered. We have seen patients with recurrent veins following stripping several years earlier tell us they were $1500-$2000 “out of pocket” following surgical stripping with a “no gap” provider! Even worse they spent a few days in hospital, had two weeks off work and now have to pay to get the veins retreated.
In many cases, they could have been treated by us in 1-1.5hrs with no need to go into hospital, no general anaesthetic, no cuts, scars, no time off work for little extra expense and with lasting results.
PUBLIC HOSPITALS: Good luck with that one
Public hospitals no longer treat or place patients on the waiting list if varicose veins are considered “uncomplicated”, even if symptomatic.
If you have complications of venous eczema, venous ulcers and thrombophlebitis your GP may be able to get you placed on the waiting list at a public hospital.
You will generally wait 6-12mths for treatment, often to done by a surgical trainee. You will have no choice of treatment day or time nor surgeon and will have to take what is offered. You will usually be placed at the end of an arterial list and if the earlier cases run over time, you will be cancelled and need to wait again (often months) for another opening.
SCLEROTHERAPY CLINICS: Buyer beware
There are some clinics that offer a “one size fits all” approach to varicose vein treatment. They offer “foam sclerotherapy” as a stand-alone treatment for everyone and claim results are “just as good as laser without the expense”. This is not supported by the medical literature, international experts or from our experience in seeing a large number of patients coming to us for second opinion after “failed treatment” at such clinics.
Our primary vein closure rates after a single laser treatment are >99.5%, closure rates of large veins after foam sclerotherapy have been reported anywhere from 25-85%. A lot depends on the size of the vein, wall thickness and techniques used. Vein reopening after sclerotherapy is much more common than after laser.
We have seen patients who have attended other clinics having had upwards of 20 treatments over 4-5 years at great expense both financial and timewise who have worn stockings for literally years and still not been “fixed”.
We do use foam sclerotherapy in selected “appropriate” cases as a stand-alone treatment but we feel this is an inferior treatment in the majority of patients we see.
SECOND OPINION: Please let us give you our opinion
We do see patients from time to time that have been to another practitioner and were not happy with how they were treated (usually rushed through a 5 minute consultation) and wish to have a second opinion and quote for treatment.
If you have seen another practitioner and have a written quote for laser treatment we will offer a “free” second opinion and quote subject to conditions below*.
*Must be accompanied by this referral form having been completed by your GP. The written doppler report and quote from the other provider (no more than 6mths old) must also be provided.
If your assessment and quote are more than six months old, a small out of pocket fee (< $150) will apply.
PRICE MATCHING: We may surprise you
We compete on quality rather than price and feel we offer a level of expertise and service that is unsurpassed. Our fees are designed to be as competitive as possible whilst allowing us to maintain state of the art facilities and care.
Our treatment plans however will often work out to cost less money “out of pocket” than similar treatment with alternative providers once all components of your patient journey are factored in (see direct costs above).
GENERAL INFORMATION: If you still want more
Choice magazine published the following information on vein treatments a few years ago. Information contained is for general reference only and does not necessarily reflect the pricing used at The Vein Clinic.
Click here for more information.