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Vascular surgery

Investigation and treatment of problems in the blood vessels 

Vascular surgery is a field of medicine involved with the investigation and treatment of problems in the blood vessels (apart from those in the heart and the head, which are managed by cardiologists and neurosurgeons respectively).

Blood vessels can become damaged by disease or trauma, and more serious problems are treated in specialist centres with critical care facilities.

At BMI Sarum Road Hospital in Winchester, experienced Consultant Vascular Surgeons primarily provide varicose vein surgery, but are happy to evaluate arterial problems and refer you to the appropriate treatment centre for further help where required.

Blood is moved around your body in a complex arrangement of vessels known as arteries, veins and capillaries. Arteries carry blood as it moves away from the heart, while veins carry blood as it moves towards the heart.

One-way valves in veins prevent blood from flowing back on itself, but if these valves stop working properly, blood is able to move back through them the wrong way, causing a build-up of pressure in the vessel.

Over time, this increased pressure can cause the vessels nearest the surface of the skin (peripheral vessels) to twist and enlarge. Visible on the skin as unsightly blue or dark purple lines, these are known as varicose veins.

Smaller veins can also be affected, causing thin, spider-like marks to appear on the legs. These are known as spider veins or thread veins. Unfortunately, once varicose veins or spider veins have appeared, they will not go away naturally.

The only way of treating varicose veins once they have formed is with varicose vein surgery.

Varicose veins are not normally treated on the NHS as they are seen as more of a lifestyle problem than a medical one. This can be quite disheartening for people who are unhappy with how their legs look or who are experiencing aching, itching or swelling in their leg as a result of the varicose vein.

Over time, varicose veins will often become larger and more visible on the legs. This can cause embarrassment and make people feel increasingly self-conscious about the appearance of their legs. They may start choosing what to wear based purely on whether it will cover up their legs, rather than on what they would actually like to wear. This can be particularly difficult in warmer weather, where shorts, skirts, dresses or bathing costumes would otherwise be worn.

In addition to how varicose veins can make your legs look, they may also cause your legs to itch, ache or swell.

Varicose veins affect women more frequently and are often seen in people who spend a lot of time standing on their feet (like hairdressers). Although they can develop at any age, they are most commonly seen in people aged 20 – 50.

You may choose to have private varicose vein surgery for one of three reasons:

  • To LOOK better
  • To FEEL better
  • To PREVENT anything worse developing in the future (like a venous ulcer)

If you are not content to just accept and put up with how a varicose vein is making your leg look or feel, it is good to know that effective treatments are available that can help improve the appearance of your legs and to relieve your symptoms.

Varicose vein surgery can be done a number of ways, but each method involves lowering the pressure in the affected vessels so that the superficial veins can return to their normal size and become less visible on the skin.

At BMI Sarum Road Hospital, we provide Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT). EVLT using amplified light energy from a laser fibre placed in the vein to seal the vein up.

In some cases, open surgery may be needed to successfully treat your varicose vein.

Your consultant will be able to discuss to the most suitable treatment for you once they have carried out a diagnostic scan during your initial consultation (see section below).

When you meet your consultant at BMI Sarum Road Hospital, they will talk with you about your varicose veins and any symptoms you have.

They will carry out a physical examination of your leg and a duplex ultrasound will be carried out. This scan is used to confirm where the affected veins are originating, so that the treatment can be accurately planned.

This is normally all that is needed to confirm a diagnosis and to make plans for you to have your surgery. Your consultant will explain everything to you, including expected recovery times and possible risks or complications, so that you can make an informed choice about treatment.

Should you have any questions, they will be very happy to talk them through with you. If you are happy to go ahead with treatment, this will be booked in for you as soon as possible.

In some cases, you may be referred for an MRI or CT scan to better visualise the blood vessels and to assess their health.

If another reason for your symptoms is suspected, such as a trapped nerve or arthritic damage in the knee, they will refer you to the most appropriate specialist at the hospital for assessment.

People living in Winchester and other parts of Hampshire choose to have varicose vein surgery at BMI Sarum Road Hospital for a number of compelling reasons:

  • Rapid access to an expert – When you have decided to get help for a varicose vein, you won’t want to be waiting weeks (or even months!) to see somebody. Our streamlined means you can be seen by an experienced vascular surgeon without delay for detailed assessment.
  • Fixed-price varicose vein surgery – We provide clear, fixed pricing for varicose vein surgery, so you will never have to worry about any unexpected charges.
  • Consultant-led care – You will always be seen by the same consultant and will never be treated by a more junior doctor. The consultant you see at your first appointment is the same one who will carry out your varicose vein surgery.
  • Experienced staff – Your consultant is aided by an experienced team of healthcare professionals including radiologists, anaesthetists and nurses. With quick, easy access to any member of this wider team, you will always see the most appropriate person for your needs.
  • Recommended by patients – In an independent survey, 99.5% of the people we treated said they were likely or extremely likely to recommend BMI Sarum Road Hospital to their friends and family.
  • Location – BMI Sarum Road Hospital is just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Winchester, located in a stunning rural setting next to the Royal Winchester Golf Club.

Specialists offering Vascular surgery

Mr Nicholas Muir Wilson

Consultant General & Vascular Surgeon

MBBS, BSc (physiology Ist class), MS, FRCS (Eng), FRCS (Gen Surg)

BMI Sarum Road Hospital

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