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Right Arrow Trust offers new treatment for varicose veins
20 March 2006 at 16:09

There are many treatments available for varicose veins and Frank Mason, Consultant Vascular Surgeon at Southport & Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust has just introduced a new technique called EndoVenous Laser Treatment (EVLT). One of its main advantages is that it can be performed under local anaesthesia.

Mavis Husbands, of Knowsley Road, Southport was the first patient to benefit from this new treatment under local anaesthetic earlier this month. She commented afterwards; “It all went very well and I feel fine. The great thing is that I have not had to stay in overnight as I came in this morning and will being going home this afternoon.”

Frank Mason added; “Because it can be done under local anaesthetic, it has the advantages of allowing “walk-in, walk-out” surgery with the operation lasting less than an hour. There is no need for patients to stay in hospital overnight after the procedure, and the patient has a much shorter, less painful, recovery time, as a groin incision is not required. Patients will be able to return to work and resume their usual activities much sooner.”

The Procedure
An ultrasound probe is used to guide the insertion of a laser fibre into the vein to be treated. This is done through a very small incision, usually below the knee, and usually only 2-3 mm long.

When it is in the correct place, the laser is switched on. The laser light heats the blood almost instantaneously, forming steam bubbles. These bubbles transfer the heat to the vein wall, destroying it and causing the vein to close. Once this has happened, the surface veins can be treated by simple removal (phlebotomy) or injection (sclerotherapy).

The Benefits
Mr Mason went on; “EVLT reduces the possibility of a postoperative wound infection and is less likely to cause bruising in the thigh, as the vein is not stripped out. Elderly patients may also benefit, as they may previously have been unsuitable for a traditional varicose vein procedure under general anaesthesia. Recurrence rates should also be reduced. However, not everyone’s veins are suitable for this procedure, so each case must be considered individually.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors
Until recently this treatment was only available to patients being treated at private hospitals.

The treatment can be used on varicose veins and other venous problems of the leg include unsightly veins, venous eczema, itching, discolouration, phlebitis and ulceration.

Photo shows Mavis Husbands (on theatre trolley), Mr Frank Mason (centre) and other members of the theatre staff.

Issued by Matthew King, Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.

Enquiries to: Matthew King Tel: 01704 704714
E-mail: matthew.king@southportandormskirk.nhs.uk