Disclaimer: This program discusses medical information that is general in nature, and not intended to serve as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be experiencing.
To kick off the first episode of Nice Living with Dr. Kamran, we’re talking about:
- The “Why” behind the Nice Living with Dr. Kamran Podcast
- What you can expect to hear about in upcoming episodes
- Dr. Kamran’s background and what makes him uniquely qualified to have these conversations
We’ll also talk about Dr. Kamran’s recent decision to re-launch his independent vein care practice near Wilmington, North Carolina.
The following program discusses medical information that is general in nature and not intended to serve as medical advice, to treat any medical condition in either yourself or others. Consult your own physician for any medical issues that you may be experiencing.
Welcome to Nice Living with Dr. Kamran, a podcast series aimed at equipping you with knowledge to help you lead a vibrant life. Doctor Kamran Goudarzi is considered one of North Carolina’s most trusted physicians. He’s a true pioneer in the field of phlebology and vascular surgery and was part of the first group of physicians to receive board certification by the American College of Venous and Lymphatic Disease.
He was the first physician in the United States to incorporate Angiodynamic’s NeverTouch Direct laser ablation treatment for vein disease in his practice. And Since 2002, Dr. Kamran has performed thousands of vein treatment procedures resulting in excellent patient outcomes with very low recurrence rates.
I’m Aimee Bowen. Your co-host. As a former radio host and news director of multiple mid-atlantic market radio stations, I’m passionate about helping foster a better understanding of complex issues and connecting the dots. In navigating health challenges in my own life, I’ve developed a special interest in medicine, health and wellness. So, with this podcast, Dr. Kamran and I will dive into some of today’s top medical, health and wellness topics. From time to time we’ll feature expert guests and leveraging his more than 40 years of medical experience, Dr. Kamran will both ask and answer questions that will provide valuable perspective on meaningful topics and issues related to the world of medicine.
To kick off the show, we’re talking about the why behind the Nice Living with Doctor Kamran podcast. What you can expect to hear about on upcoming episodes. We’ll dive into Dr. Kamran’s background and what makes him uniquely qualified to have these conversations and will also talk about his recent decision to relaunch his independent vein care practice near Wilmington, NC. And now let’s hear from the real star of the show. Our resident expert and vein Guru, Doctor Kamran Goudarzi. Welcome.
Thank you so much, I appreciate it.
Now doctor Kamran, you and I have known each other for just over five years now through my previous life in radio broadcasting and when you reached out with the idea to do this podcast, I just fell in love with the concept. So let’s talk about that. What is it that made you want to start this podcast?
Well, Aimee, I have been a doctor for over 40 years. I finished medical school when I was 24 and that was around 1978. I’m 66 years old and life takes you through various things that you don’t expect. For example, you know I left my home in Iran when I was 14, went to England to boarding school, finished medical school there, then the United States and so on and so forth. So I really felt it was very important to me that we all like to share our experience or knowledge. As somebody said, you know, giving it back.
I think God gave me a gift to have parents who could afford to send me to get a good education and to have the will to pursue this career. And at this stage of the game I feel at 66, you know I’ve still got over 40 years of experience in different aspects of Medicine on different continents and in different parts of the United States and I felt it would be so sad if I did not try to share this with other patients, with physicians, colleagues, people who are even thinking about getting into the world of medicine, patients who have known me and patients who don’t know us. But I feel that there is a certain responsibility every human being has to share their knowledge and experience that they’ve had with other people. In my case, it happens to be medicine and in different parts of medicine, not just surgeries. Not just veins.
Now of course you can’t be Jack of all trades, so and you and I have discussed this, you know talk about diseases of the vein and things that I feel I’ve got a fair amount of knowledge to share. And then there are other areas such as you know, all the way from back pain, orthopedics, massage therapy, acupuncture. I mean you name it. Topics that people are interested in.
Fortunately I have made some amazing friends and met quite a few people in the world of medicine who are very knowledgeable in their field. So having had this background and the exposure to a wide variety of surgical and medical conditions would give me an opportunity to also interview some of these doctors, which I believe are experts in their field. So if there’s a section that I’m not the expert, I could find the experts in the field to answer some of these questions that commonly patients have. Either they’ve asked me and I couldn’t answer and I sent them to a specialist, or questions that people have to ask when they go to see their specialist.
It is very hard to go to a doctor and not know what is the next step. You know- how do you navigate your way through this very complicated and complex world of medicine? Google just lets you touch the surface – and sometimes it confuses you more than it helps you. So I think with that in mind, I felt this would be a great contribution to the world of medicine and to the community to be able to share knowledge. And of course educate patients.
Now, having said that. This is not all about you and I. Obviously this is what questions patients may have. You know, we would like them to write to us and ask us, you know what topics they want to have discussed so I can go out there and try to find the experts on the topics to answer some of those questions for them.
Now you know from a patient perspective, there are so many things that can just seem overwhelmingly complicated. From even just understanding the medical conditions themselves, their implications, and the insurance and political aspects. But in getting to know you and having had the opportunity to actually at one time speak directly with some of your patients, I’ve come to realize that you have just this incredible ability to break things down in such a relatable way. And I know the listeners will appreciate that as we navigate these different topics.
Medicine doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t have to be big words as the body is very similar to a lot of things we see in nature, and we just have to find something which is very similar to it.
I think one thing that I’ve heard from other people is I’ve had the ability to explain medical terms in a way that people can understand. Maybe because English wasn’t my first language. If you don’t speak a foreign language and they start speaking very complex English or German or whatever it is, it makes it very hard to understand, I think. Medicine is the same way. If people ask you a medical question. You’ve got to explain it in a way that they would understand it, and hopefully as we are interviewing other doctors going forward, we could quote – unquote, bring them back to Earth and let them talk in a language that the average person hopefully will understand.
So this doesn’t have anything to do with the knowledge of medicine or your social, economic or level. I mean, I’ve had lawyers who it was very hard for them to understand some basic medical things. We’ve had artists, we’ve had professors of architecture – and they don’t fully understand what the hemodynamic situation of the body is under the blood flow until I try to compare it to a building and the plumbing and then immediately understand what you’re talking about. So, I think you know, we try to make it as easy and hopefully as enjoyable for listeners.
OK, so a word I keep mentioning is perspective, and in sharing knowledge or consuming information, that’s a very important consideration for folks to keep in mind. Especially when it pertains to something as important as their health. So as I mentioned earlier, you bring to the table this cumulative knowledge and experience that spans four decades, even multiple continents. You’ve witnessed the evolution of the industry, so let’s dig a little deeper into your background, which certainly stems far outside the world of veins. And let’s talk about your training and experience and what you feel makes you qualified to have these conversations.
Well, it’s quite a few things. Having gone to boarding school in England and I had 18 more months to get my boards in surgery when the Revolution in Iran happened I had to come to the United States and start my residency all over again. So that was another five years or seven years after Medical School of basically postgraduate training. It took me through quite a few areas which were wonderful. I mean, I feel very lucky to have had these opportunities, for example, to spend six months in nephrology and diabetes treatment, to one of the top centers in the world for the disease of liver as well. Professor Sheila Sherlock was my professor, and actually defined the modern definition of cirrhosis. When I came to the United States. I was in Houston, TX during my residency, I got an opportunity to go to MD Anderson, one of the top cancer centers in the world. And of course the first kidney transplant and Texas heart was there and we were one of the first groups to use cyclosporin A, which is one of the most modern treatments to suppress immunity so, so the transplants would work and so on and so forth. So then, between Texas and New York, etc. So it’s not just surgery, surgery, medicine, rural surgery as well. I’ve practice surgery in specialized centers like MD Anderson. So I feel I’ve gained a fair amount of experience which is not a narrow area of just veins or surgery, but you know, I like to talk about pretty much every aspect of medicine that I’ve been exposed to. And I think that, as you were mentioning the political aspect of it, for example, because socialized medicine is in England and here is obviously not socialized. Now socialized medicine has got his own issues, but lot of a lot of people, physicians in America don’t fully understand what socialized medicine is. And although it does have a lot of issues, it also has a few advantages and also affects the way you practice medicine. So having practice for two years after I finished Medical school there doing my residency. It gave me exposure truly to how prescriptions are written. Surgery is scheduled. How medicine is practiced in England versus in America.
America itself is a massive country. The way things are practicing the South might not be the same way they are practicing in the North. And then of course we’ve got all these different insurance companies who have now decided to somehow tell us how we should practice medicine and that sometimes gets confusing to the patients.
Is it the way you are taught in medical school to practice medicine? Or is it the way the insurance companies want you to practice medicine. Which I had that discussion with one of the insurance companies and they said Doc, we’re not saying that’s the correct way of doing it. We’re saying that’s all we can afford to pay for it, and so it really is multifaceted and it can get quite complex. But as we go forward, you are not going to be able to assure these different facets and what they mean. Ultimately, as I told one of my patients today. It all comes down to the art of Medicine, and it is more art and science. And like any other art, it just depends on the artist and how that person practices that art. It’s going to be in a way you know, the way I feel things should be done, but I really suggest that to every patient – just remember not two doctors do things the same way I sometimes compare it to cooking. We all know you need a little salt. You need a little pepper, maybe some garlic. But how much? And how long do you brew it? And how do you like it to taste? You know it is an art
and and this art and the feedback you get from it pretty much shapes you as a doctor. What kind of doctor are you going to be? And hopefully it’s going to be one that patients enjoy spending time with and going to.
Everyone loves a good origin story. As you’ve noted, you’re from Iran and you were finishing up medical school right around the time of the revolution, and that’s a story all in and of itself. But what inspired you to go into medicine in the first place?
Well, uh, I would say my father because you know, I was the youngest of seven, and, I was very lucky because I also have a very big family with a bunch of cousins and everybody stayed with us and my parents were very interested in medicine. My father wanted to be a doctor and he wanted all of us to be physicians and have our own hospital. And so I have another brother who is a surgeon and two sisters are nurses. Actually they are midwives. So, what happened I think in my household, it made me very focused and try to do the best I could in school. And so when I was seven we lived by the Caspian Sea in the North. My parents felt that to get the best education I had to go to Tehran where the best schools are and then when I was 14, England at the time was considered the best place to get educated in the art of Medicine. So I went to England to boarding school and then to medical school. As long as I remember this was supposed to be. I was supposed to be a doctor, because that’s what my father wanted me to do and then over time, I realized you know what? What a gift this is because ultimately every day you come home and if you look at your day and you feel that what you’ve achieved is helping people and helping them to do well in life, it is really wonderful, wonderful field to be in. But would I have picked up medicine for myself? Probably would have gotten into civil engineering. I love math and you know,
but My father made it very obvious when he sent me to England that if I was going to get my check so that I could pay for my apartment, and maybe get some food and stay in boarding school, if I studied anything but medicine, their money would stop. So, that was a very psychological influence that maybe my father had.
Well, I imagine there is some overlap in medicine in those finite applications that you find in mathematics and engineering.
That’s very true. A lot of people say medicine is really a combination of art and science, and although I always felt I was a scientist. I mean, I’ve got a brother who is a great artists, a son who is an amazing artist, but so I think actually I think there’s a lot of art and science, especially surgery is a lot of art and science which are combined together.
Well, you know, doctor Kamran, I’m sure there are countless individuals out there who are certainly glad that you chose this profession. And it sounds like you’re pretty glad you stuck with it as well. Let’s get a little personal here. What stands out to you as your favorite aspect of becoming a medical doctor?
I think the most rewarding thing is to see patients do well to feel you have achieved something that could have possibly been missed. It’s funny actually yesterday I was having a meeting with this gentlemen I’ve just been introduced to and I was telling him how a patient who came to see me because he had some vein issues on his legs and he had gone through the insurance company. Which is very regulated with vein disease, you know. Insurance companies pretty much dictate who you can treat and who you cannot treat so, he had gone through three months of wearing stockings and etc, so he was already to have his surgery scheduled and so at the last meeting, I got a chance to spend more time with him and do a more thorough exam. Because IPAs and so on had seen him first. And I noticed that he had his whooshing sounds in his neck. We got it carotid stenosis, some narrowing of his veins, so I said look, you really need to look at this before we do your veins when we look to find out about very high grade blockage of his artery to his head which was, it really was walking time bomb. He was just getting ready to have a stroke. So I said, look, let’s wait and not touch the veins. Let’s just fix this artery. That’s why you came to see me and so he’s extremely thankful he just came back roughly about two weeks ago with his wife all the way from Raleigh just to tell me that they were so thankful that I saved his life.
Now that is the tremendous enjoyment you get out of that. It literally makes you high. I mean you go to bed at night I think. Thank God, you know I did that and I’m just, you know this patient, they see so many doctors and nobody notices that. And if I hadn’t paid more attention to spending time with him, examining it properly, you know I might have missed them, and then, so that’s, that’s so wonderful about what we do. Those things are so intense there so important in your life that you were able to make that kind of difference that you remember for the rest of your life, and I think at this stage of my life, you
know, looking back at the memories and some of them, it’s just like having yesterday little things that you did, which made a big difference. Letting you know father spend a few more few more years with their child, or somebody who’s got cancer at least have a few more extra years. So that’s what’s so wonderful about medicine and I really feel very, very lucky to be in a field that you can have that kind of satisfaction because as somebody said, it, “for everything else there is Visa”. So, so I mean the enjoyment get out of that, and it doesn’t matter what you know what the physicians say and we all complain how hard you have to work and exhausted we are but that enjoyment. There’s nothing like it. And that’s all I’ve got to say.
Now, as I mentioned at the beginning of the show, you’re known across the country for your pioneering efforts in the world of vein disease and state of the art treatments and forgive the pun, but what is it that made you essentially want to laser focus on this specialty and really become known as “the guy” to go to – If you want nice legs?
Considering that about 40% of the population, anywhere from 30 to 40% have venous disease, you can imagine there’s just not enough doctors in the country to treat all these. So of course, being one of the first ones here, we ended up getting very busy and it got to a point where the majority of my work is just to take care of the patients needs when it comes to your venous disease and has left me relatively little time to do other types of surgery. Although I’m trying to still do as much of my other field, which is, you know, 40 years of having so much practice in the art of general surgery, you hate to just do one thing, just veins and nothing else. So I’m doing the other types of surgery as well. But venous diseases – I could probably at this stage get into a point where if I did nothing but just take care of the veins, I would still be very busy. Probably seven days a week.
After 17 years of doing thousands and thousands of lasers, you get better at it. You can improve your own technique. You can do a better job, and I think another thing in word of medicine, or perhaps in any other field is, as new technology comes out – just because it’s new, is it good? Is it as good as what it was? You know? What is the recurrence rate? You know? What is the complication rate?
And this technology seems to be a pretty solid method at this point.
You know 17 years later doing laser treatment, these patients are still doing extremely well. Somebody, a long time ago was saying that Dr. Kamran, I was looking at the few patients that you’ve done done, he said looking at their legs, and said “Nice legs, Dr. Kamran”. And that became a joke. But it wasn’t my legs they were talking about, it was: look at, look at these legs that you created. You know, how nice they look and so that that’s when it became a joke and I was like “Nice legs Dr. Kamran”. But that’s basically what it is. And, although I’m, I’m getting the credit for it, it is really the technology.
Fast forward a few years later after starting your practice, you want to have immense success, just huge success. You merged with the company and helped establish some vein centers across the United States, even helped them establish basically a better standard of care, elevate the treatment methods that exist out there for spider veins, and varicose veins. But you found somewhere along the way that may be bigger isn’t always better? So, walk us through that. And why you recently reopened Scarless Vein Care by Doctor Kamran, which of course for listeners is a private practice, dedicated to treating patients suffering from vascular issues like varicose veins and spider veins.
You know a minister from a church was one of my patients and we all came to the conclusion that the most important thing in life is balance. If we could find a balance between too much work and too little work, and how much love we give our kids and how much, we don’t. How much money is too much and how much is too little or how much rest is not enough. So I think medicine is kind of very similar and I have been in practice, as I said, I think 1985, I opened my practice in United States. So when I was practicing surgery, I was always in practice, essentially by myself and that gave me an ability to help when some patient just need more time. You know, this is as I told somebody we’re not, we’re not selling hamburgers, you know. I mean when patients need you, they need you. When somebody’s got cancer and, they feel they need to talk to someone. You need to talk with them. You can not look at your watch. You’ve just got to spend time with them.
So success we were having in treating venous disease and the results were getting – it was amazing. I was very thrilled with it and that it was very obvious there lots of papers published to this date that venous disease is one of the most under diagnosed or undiagnosed conditions in the world – I felt gosh I have experienced that. I’ve noticed that there’s not many people out there who know, you know how important this condition is. So it got to a point where we were doing a lot of commercials, but they were infomercials.
So instead of telling physicians – which I always try to talk to the other physician and tell them what this is all about, is try to also tell patients that, listen, some of these conditions you have are treatable. If your legs ache at the end of the day, is not because you’re getting older, you have arthritis or it could be venous disease, or you’ve got swelling. That’s what it could be. And of course the potential discovered in clots and so on. That obviously is very important.
So, I was approached by a physician friend of mine who is a dermatologist. He was joining this national organization and he wanted to put dermatology centers through the whole United States and they wanted me to be national director of veins and and you know help them put vein centers with these dermatology centers.
Of course, that was my opportunity to teach the rest of the country and maybe the rest of the world – or anybody who didn’t know how to treat veins to realize how important it is to, you know, treat veins. And how to do it properly. And I always told my colleagues, if you’re going to do venous disease, don’t dab into it. You got, you gotta do it properly. It is a specialty. So so it really would open the door to what exactly I wanted to do, which is go and teach and put vein centers so everybody in America would be able to benefit from it.
We trained quite a few physicians in the art of treating venous disease. Some of them are working with quite big centers now. Some of them are working independently. We also put in some vein centers throughout the United States in different areas. The corporation which was doing this, they sold their vein practice to another company and this company was even bigger, so it didn’t take very long to realize that what started as trying to teach and train a lot of physicians in an art that I felt was having very good results and which should be practiced in a certain way – was no longer going to be feasible or possible because the corporations are so big and this, you know, center was very large. And I was missing,
I was missing that personal contact – the one on one basis where every patient that came to my office, I know their first name, their last name, the lab results. I knew them well.
And by the way, it is extremely important in medicine to know your patients, because if you’re missing some data, or there is something about your patient, you don’t know and just start operating on them, they could potentially have significant consequences. And the love of Medicine, and maybe because I left home when I was 14 and spent my whole life in medicine, maybe there was a reason that all the love that I had to give and get back was from my patients. And honesty sometimes wonder psychologically, maybe that affected me to large extent because I needed my patients as much as my patients needed me.
It is like being married for a long time. When you don’t talk and you don’t communicate, when you can’t stop and say I love you – then there’s not a marriage anymore. It’s just a union. And, I felt I was losing that love and affection and the sensation of my patients as my family was beginning to disappear and I wasn’t happy. I was really not happy and one day my wife turned around and said “Honey, you’re just not happy with this are you?” You know, I really I’m not complaining about, you know this company or any other company. I think I want to get this smaller. If you’re too big, then you’ve lost that touch. So I felt maybe somewhere in the middle? You know something that – and this is where I am.
So, I’m back to Scarless Vein Care which is initially what we started roughly around 2002. We tried to find the location which would be very easy for patients to get to and that’s why we’re in Waterford Medical Center in Leland and a lot of my patients are really happy there. Right now, it seems to be most central for pretty much everybody who comes and sees me. I’ve had patients coming from on the other side of Charlotte to Richmond, to
even, I think the longest was Argentina, where they came to stay here for six months for me to finish out their treatment. So we’ve had visitors from quite a few South American countries. We’ve had quite a few patients come here, so you know. Overall I think what I have now and the only experience that I have learned from the past and the team who is working with me now, which we’ve been working with me for a long time – I feel in a very happy where I am, and I think I can provide the kind of care that I felt was is what my patients deserved, and because of that, you know, I’ve separated.
I mean people sometimes wonder. Well is it was it corporate America etc etc. Was it because the company was so big or was it the way? I think ultimately, you know you’re happy or unhappy in a relationship for a number of reasons. It wasn’t me.
I know it’s gotta take a whole team approach to really fulfill that vision in the level of care that you want to provide for your patients.
The staff are with me. We’re part of a family. We are part of the village. I happened to be the surgeon in that village, but it literally takes a village to take care of a vein issue here. Insurance coordinator – you know have to keep up with what they’re doing and understand what they’re doing and how to help the patient to make sure that the insurance covers their treatment. Otherwise they’ll have to pay out of their own pocket. And maybe they didn’t need to pay out of their own pocket if it was filed properly. Then your ultrasound technologist, you know, has got to have the ability to make a diagnosis. They’re the ones who show you where, where the problem is, and how significant it is. They are your eyes at your ears in a way. And, so, on to the receptionist, you know, and everybody else.
I mean the team that I have with me I think are very happy. I feel that they are happy and I see the energy and I see their smiles in their face and when your staff, especially medicine, when they’re happy patients feel it and they’ve patients feel that positivity. When patients come to your office, they are already scared, they’re depressed. This is not where they want to be. And the last thing they want to see is somebody with a sad face or angry face walking in acting as though you’re a pain in the neck. That’s not what they want to see, you know. And if they have a question, sometimes they ask a lot of questions because they are scared and they are nervous and your job is to stand there, you know an answer, other questions and calm them down. Help them to go through it. You know.
So, a good staff, a loving staff, is extremely important in practice and I feel I have it now. I really do I. I’m sorry that some of my staff you know who was pretty much handpicked are not with me. I wish I could have all of them, but the ones that I was able to bring with me and helping me out right now, they’re absolutely amazing. I’m not saying anybody else wasn’t good, but these guys are absolutely amazing. I’m really thrilled and thankful to God to have such a great team, and I really mean it. I think our patients notice that to that. How great this staff is. And I think one of the best gifts that God gave me is you Aimee, you have been wonderful. You’ve been very understanding about what this disease is and now you’re helping me to, you know, not just talk about venous disease, you know, talk about all these other conditions and help the world a little bit more through knowledge to be able to take care of themselves and to pick the right doctors to take care of their condition. And I think that’s an amazing contribution that we can make to the world of Medicine. I’m very thankful to you for enabling me to do this because without you I couldn’t do it and that I think you know it, and I certainly know it.
Well, it’s my pleasure. I am looking forward to continuing the conversation on many upcoming medical and wellness related topics.
Thank you so much. Appreciate it.
Thank you so much for listening to our first episode of Nice Living with Doctor Kamran. Visit scarlessvein care.com/podcast to view show notes and get a little more insight on some of the topics we discussed in this episode. You can subscribe to the Nice Living with Dr. Kamran Podcast on your favorite platform so you can get access to new episodes as soon as they’re live. Until next time – I’m Aimee Bowen.
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