An Interview with Dr. Bertrand Janne D’Othe

We are pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Bertrand Janne d’Othée to Empire Vein Specialists’ team of vascular specialists.

Dr. Janne d’Othée’s distinguished career spans more than 20 years as an interventional radiologist specializing in the treatment of varicose and spider veins. He has held clinical and faculty positions at several teaching hospitals including Harvard Medical School and the University of Maryland School of Medicine and more recently as a full Professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Dr. Janne d’Othée also holds a Master of Public Health degree from the Harvard School of Public Health.

We asked Dr. Janne d’Othée to share a bit about what has inspired and motivated him in choosing his career and throughout his years in practice.

Can you describe what inspired you to devote your career to helping people with varicose veins?

I have been interested in the diagnosis and management of varicose veins for over 20 years, and there are many factors that continue to make my work as a vein specialist both challenging and interesting. One of the most important factors is that this work gives me the opportunity to work directly with my patients at all phases of their care. By being involved in my patients’ clinical and diagnostic evaluations, their treatment, and their follow up, I get to make a greater difference in their quality of life.

Another factor is that there is a high degree of variability in the anatomy and interconnections of the veins in the legs from one person to another and, as a result, people experience varicose and/or spider veins in many different ways and no two patients are alike. So, we have to constantly adapt our treatment strategy to best accommodate each patient’s individual needs.

Additionally, although varicose veins affect a large portion of the population, instruction on the care and treatment of varicose veins receives less emphasis in medical training than other conditions, such as heart attack, cancer, or stroke. As a result, many patients are advised to simply wear compression stockings and to not worry about their vein issues. This makes it difficult for patients to find someone with the training and skills to help them.

What are some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of your job?

As a vein doctor, I can have a significant impact on a person’s quality of life in a short amount of time and with very low risk to my patient, which is very gratifying. I also very much enjoy that my work gives me the opportunity to interact with my patients during all phases of their care: from the initial consulting and diagnostic process to the treatment and post-treatment follow-up. This makes it possible for me to get to know my patients as individuals and to provide the best and most individualized care for each patient.

Regarding challenges, from a public health standpoint, varicose veins and venous reflux, in general, take a huge toll on human health; they are very common and represent a costly burden on both the individual and society, as a whole, particularly when they are left untreated and when venous ulcers develop. This situation can be largely prevented but greater public awareness is needed and that is currently a great challenge for our profession.

What are the most common concerns that bring patients to see you?

Many patients endure painful and uncomfortable symptoms such as burning, aching, itching, cramping, swelling, fatigue, and the sensation of heaviness in their legs. This can go on for years. For example, for women, symptoms often worsen during and after each pregnancy, but unfortunately, many patients don’t seek attention. They may be unintentionally misguided to “just wear compression stockings” or they may not be aware that there are new treatment options.

Also, vein problems can be symptomatic at less advanced stages. Spider veins can cause similar symptoms to larger varicose veins, with considerable pain and discomfort that impacts quality of life. It’s important to take these patients’ complaints seriously and not dismiss them.

Can you share one or two of your most memorable experiences helping patients with their varicose vein problems?

There are many, but often the patients that are the most memorable are those who come in with venous ulcers, and some of these ulcers may even have been present for months or even longer and they may have been left untreated. These venous ulcers can take a long time to heal with conservative measures alone, but when we get a chance to provide the minimally invasive treatments that we have available for this condition, it always impresses me how much of a difference we can make and how quickly we can start the healing process, oftentimes within days to weeks. And what is impressive too is not only the healing of the ulcer, but also the rapid improvement in symptoms such as pain and swelling, both of which can be severe at first.

What is new and noteworthy in the world of varicose vein treatment?

The treatment of varicose veins has been revolutionized in the past two decades with the emergence of advanced, minimally invasive vein treatments. Patients appreciate that with these treatments there are no longer painful incisions, as with stripping surgeries; just one or a few tiny incisions, typically 3 mm or less, with no sutures or stitches required. Recovery time is shorter and easier, too.

Among these new treatments, the newest and the best has been shown to be the VenaSeal® sealant, which is injected into the varicose vein through a thin (< 2mm diameter) flexible plastic tubing (catheter). This means a shorter procedure than ever before, fewer punctures, and immediate results. Post-procedural pain is mild in most cases, and there are very few restrictions, no need for compression stockings, and virtually no down time.

What does the future hold for varicose vein treatment?

The technology we have to treat varicose veins is excellent and will continue to be refined. I think the most important piece of the puzzle that still remains is increased public education to raise awareness that there are safe, effective outpatient interventions to fix varicose veins and prevent patients from having to suffer.

Does Empire Vein Specialists offer patients advantages that they might not find elsewhere?

As the saying goes, you get good at what you do often. At Empire Vein Specialists, all of our physicians are vascular specialists who have a common interest and goal: helping people with venous reflux, be it varicose and spider veins or venous ulcers. Focusing all of our efforts on this one disease process allows us to continually optimize and refine our skills. And last but certainly not least, EVS has more extensive experience with VenaSeal® than any other varicose vein facility in the country.

Are there any other talents or skills that you bring to the practice?

I am fluent in Spanish and developed a love for the Spanish language during an elective exchange program in Chile that I participated in during medical school. I very much enjoy every opportunity to speak and interact with our Spanish-speaking patients.

Dr. Janne d’Othée will be leading Empire Vein Specialists’ newly opened Ontario facility which is equipped with multiple exam rooms, ultrasounds rooms, and procedure rooms with staff dedicated to the latest technology in the diagnosis and treatment of varicose veins and related issues. Empire Vein Specialists is pleased to serve the Ontario community and welcomes anyone who is experiencing vascular problems related to varicose or spider veins to call and schedule a complimentary vein screening. The pain-free, non-invasive screening takes 20 minutes and is conducted by a Registered Vascular Technologist.

Empire Vein Specialists is the top provider of VenaSeal, the leading outpatient varicose vein treatment, in the USA. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-VARICOSE (1-800-827-4267).