100 Next-Era Leaders in Asia 2016-2017 -The region's best brightest, most promising-

Akabane Varicose Vein Clinic

President Shinichi Okamoto

Kyoto Prefecture
Message to young people
The most important thing for self-improvement is to maintain the flexibility and ability to absorb skills, knowledge and so on. People tend to become stubborn after five or 10 years of work and stop accepting advice. I call that retrogression and to avoid this, I meditate once a month to make myself believe I am a sponge. Others should do this as well.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been good with my hands. I remember being praised for it one day by a teacher at my kindergarten. When I was an elementary school student, I liked to draw pictures and work on sculpture, and I wanted to make the best use of my skillful hands for a future career. In my childhood, my parents temporarily lived separately and I saw my mother experience financial difficulties. That made me decide to have a financially stable job in the future. But I never thought about being a doctor, partly because I knew no one working in medicine and also because no one from my high school had entered medical school before. But one of my classmates passed the entrance exam for medical school to become the very first graduate of my high school to go to medical school. That made me realize that I, too, had the option of being a doctor.

I started my career as an orthopedic surgeon. Orthopedics specializes in treating bones, and I had many opportunities to treat patients’ legs. During that time, I noticed that there are many patients suffering lower extremity varicose veins and realized that there were only a limited number of doctors treating them. However, as I was concentrating on being a good orthopedic surgeon at that time, I paid little attention to it and didn’t think about being involved in treating it.

In 2011, the national health insurance program started covering the treatment of lower extremity varicose veins using a catheter; an excellent treatment method with a high rate of success that is not very surgically invasive. The insurance coverage of this treatment meant that doctors could help a lot of patients who until then had not undergone the catheter treatment due to the high costs. At that time I decided to switch my specialty from orthopedics to lower extremity varicose veins and help as many patients as I could.

In treating lower extremity varicose veins, I sometimes opt to also perform surgery to address the issue of unsightly bulging veins, so it is nice to have the specialized knowledge of cosmetic medicine. I gained experience in cosmetic medicine when I was an orthopedic surgeon, meaning I have knowledge of vascular surgery, orthopedic surgery and cosmetic surgery. The symptoms of lower extremity varicose veins are swelling, languor and difficulty walking. The symptoms are caused by disorders of the nerves and joints, aging and obesity. Of all the possible causes, a doctor needs to diagnose what is causing a patient’s symptoms. In making such a diagnosis, it is a great help to have specialty knowledge in three different medical fields. I say that is my only, but the strongest, advantage.

The top priority of practicing medicine is to treat an illness, but I also have another priority, which is “how to make a patient happy through the entire treatment process.” For example, even if the varicose veins of a patient are cured, the patient wouldn’t be that happy if the surgery was painful, or the medical staff had a bad attitude. I am trying to create a comfortable environment for patients so that they would say, “I was glad to be treated at this clinic.”

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Akabane Varicose Vein Clinic
Varicose Vein Clinic