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Vascular surgery

Get rid of unsightly varicose veins

Vascular surgery covers a wide range of venous and arterial problems, with patients making an appointment with our consultant for treatment of varicose veins, thread veins, spider veins, red veins and facial veins, venous eczema, VNUS ulceration, and deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

We see patients who have serious medical requirements – for instance, varicose veins are not solely a cosmetic issue; they can be contributing to venous ulcers and venous ulceration can be very dangerous. If left untreated, amputation may be needed.

Our consultant also sees many cosmetic issues, (facial veins, thread veins, spider veins etc).

Patients may also visit with symptoms that point to:

  • Lymphoedema
  • Leg swelling in general
  • Various venous and arterial disorders
  • Peripheral vascular disease
  • Lumps and bumps under the skin
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating)
  • Sports conditions, mainly linked to the vascular system, e.g., sportsman’s groin (hernia) – there are certain conditions linked to sport that could have a vascular aspect to them, says our consultant
  • Vascular compartment syndrome.

Our practice also offers aortic aneurysm monitoring, for those patients who need it.

Varicose Veins

Since varicose veins is one of the most common complaints we see people with here at BMI St Edmunds Hospital, we lay out (below) some of the symptoms patients might notice. These include:

  • Lumpy veins 
  • Blue veins 
  • ‘Knobbly’ (raised) veins 
  • Aching legs 
  • Night cramps 
  • General discomfort.

Often, there’s a misconception about who is prone to getting varicose veins; men and women can both get them, and it is often a genetic condition.

If a patient presents with thread veins, our consultant will always check (via ultrasound) if the varicose veins are feeding into the thread vein. If they are, the varicose vein will need to be treated first. Otherwise, the more cosmetic aspect won’t go away permanently; they will just come back.

About one in four people are affected by varicose veins. There is a myth that they can only affect people who are overweight, or that it is a disease of old age, of pregnancy, or it happens by crossing your legs - but it’s not always true, and it can affect people of any age.  

During your consultation within our vascular surgery practice, you will discuss your medical history with our consultant, as well as any medication you’re taking and the symptoms you are experiencing.

Depending on the patient’s symptoms and complaints, at BMI St Edmunds Hospital, our consultant may go on to offer treatment for the following:

  • Carotid endarterectomy
  • ClariVein to treat varicose veins
  • Endovascular aortic aneurysm repair (EVAR)
  • Endovenous laser therapy for varicose veins (EVLT)
  • Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating) treatment
  • Sclerotherapy treatment for varicose veins
  • Veinwave to complement sclerotherapy treatment for varicose veins
  • VNUS closure procedure (Venefit).

The consultation follows the same pathway for whatever condition the patient presents with, with diagnostics specific to the condition, e.g., if patients present with a hernia, then an abdominal scan would be performed.

At the one-stop clinic, the consultant will perform everything that is necessary in the initial consultation.

For varicose veins, for example, the patient would attend the consultation and talk about their problem (medical history). They will then undergo an examination of the leg(s), which the consultant would perform himself. Some patients may need a venous duplex ultrasound scan – and by doing this, the consultant is able to determine the nature and extent of the varicose veins and suggest the correct treatment.

Some patients, depending on the nature of the veins or perhaps their age or medical condition, may need an arterial doppler (ankle pressure) performed.

The above gives a picture of what the consultant needs to do. If any treatment is needed, this will be explained, and the patient can also take away an information leaflet.

Our patients always have time to consider advice post-consultation and think about and digest the information they are given. They can also decide not to proceed with any treatment(s).

If treatment is required, our consultant will follow this up with the patient around six to eight weeks after the procedure. This will allow our consultant to see if the treatment has been a success.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

The consultant also performs a lot of endovenous laser ablation of varicose veins (EVLA). This can be done under local or general anesthetic.

If it’s a complex case or if both legs are treated at the same time, it will be done under general anesthetic, unless it is not wise for the patient. If the latter is the case, the decision may be made to treat each leg separately under local anesthetic.

Cosmetic Procedures

Our consultant often sees patients who have had treatment for thread veins at a beauty salon, but it has not worked.

The main reason for this is that there may have been underlying venous problems and unless you treat those first, the thread veins either won’t disappear – or if they do, they will come back.

Seeing a vascular surgeon means the underlying problem can be identified and corrected and the thread veins can be treated in an outpatient clinic.

If a patient does not have an underlying problem, the thread veins can be treated in an outpatient setting using a technique called injection micro sclerotherapy. During the procedure, a saline solution is injected into the veins every two to four weeks. Each time the vein is treated, in general (although each patient is different) veins fade by 20 to 30%. They can completely go away, and, on average, three to four sessions are required. Some people need more treatments if the veins are more resistant.

For treatment of facial red veins, our consultant uses a procedure called VeinWave – this is specifically for facial veins, and it utilises a vein light for examining the red vein and determining the treatment option. Our consultant then uses the VeinWave to treat the area.

Cosmetic treatments can make a difference to a person’s life: when the psychological stress is removed, the patient is relieved. When the patient is free of thread veins, they can feel more comfortable wearing a short skirt or shorts.

There is a wealth of reasons to choose BMI St Edmunds Hospital for vascular surgery. Offering a quality, local service, it is one of the only large hospitals in the area – and provides an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of a large hospital within a smaller, ‘friendlier’ establishment.

Here are some, at-a-glance reasons why you might choose BMI St Edmunds Hospital for your initial consultation: 

  • Reduced waiting times – Patients who visit BMI St Edmunds Hospital can benefit from shorter waiting times and treatment, than if, for example, they were to wait for surgery on the NHS.
  • Flexible appointments – You can choose an appointment time to suit you and your schedule; in some cases, remote consultations will be offered.
  • Consultant-led appointments – Your appointment will be consultant-led, and you will see the same person each time – from your consultation, right through to any treatment needed. 
  • Patient satisfaction and personalised care – In an independent survey* in 2020, 99% of our patients said they would recommend BMI St Edmunds Hospital. *Results were compiled by healthcare agency, Quality Health.  

People visit BMI St Edmunds Hospital for vascular surgery consultations and treatment from a wealth of places. These include local places: Coddenham, Cavendish, Kersey, Lavenham, Long Melford, and East Bergholt), and further afield.

Some patients travel to the hospital for their consultation from nearby towns, cities, and counties, including from Essex and Cambridge and the surrounding area.  

To learn more about our consultation process and the treatments offered, please call 01284 701371.

Specialists offering Vascular surgery

Mr Michael Gaunt

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

BSc (Hons), MB ChB(Dist), MD (Dist), MA (Cantab), FRCS (Eng)

BMI St Edmunds Hospital

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