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Vascular surgery

Get rid of unsightly varicose veins

Vascular veins can make life miserable. As well as causing itchy, painful, achy legs, they can make you incredibly self-conscious about letting anybody else even see your legs. Many patients feel unable to wear knee length garments for example

Blood is moved around the body through veins (which carry blood towards the heart) and arteries (which carry blood away from the heart). Non-return valves in these vessels stop blood flowing back along them the wrong way.

Sometimes, these valves may stop functioning properly and blood will leak back through again. The pressure this causes in the vessel may cause the veins near the surface of the skin to twist and enlarge and twist, becoming visible on the skin as unsightly blue or dark purple lines. These are known as varicose veins.

Smaller veins in the leg can also be affected, leading to a thin, spider-like appearance on the legs. These are known as spider or thread veins.

Unfortunately, once varicose veins and spider veins develop, they will not clear up naturally. In fact, they will often get bigger and more noticeable over time. Varicose vein surgery can resolve the problem and improve the appearance of your legs, but this is no longer available on the NHS for most patients.

If you have varicose veins and do not like how they look or feel, you do not have to just put up with them. Effective treatments are available to help improve the appearance of your legs, sooner than you may think.

The two Consultant Vascular Surgeons at BMI The Blackheath Hospital run the biggest practice for varicose vein surgery in the country (as recorded by the Private Health Information Network).

If you are considering private varicose vein surgery, doesn’t it make sense to see the leading experts in the country for advice and treatment?

Anybody can develop varicose veins, although they are more common in women, in people aged between 20 – 50 and in those who spend a lot of time standing (like hairdressers).

Varicose veins are not in themselves a medical emergency, but they will often increase in size and become more noticeable if left untreated. Many people will be unhappy or embarrassed about the way their legs look and will often wear clothes specifically to cover them up.

There are three reasons people decide to have private varicose vein surgery:

  • To LOOK better
  • To FEEL better
  • To PREVENT anything worse developing in the future (such as venous ulceration)

Varicose veins sometimes will not always cause symptoms, but between 50 - 60% of people will have symptoms of some kind. Common symptoms include:

  • Aching and swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Itching legs
  • Pain in legs when walking

Because varicose veins are seen as more of a lifestyle problem than a medical one, they are not routinely treated on the NHS. Help will only be available if a more serious problem develops, such as a leg ulcer.

A number of years ago, the only surgery for varicose veins was “open” surgery. This involved a general anaesthetic and a cut in the groin area.

Fortunately, there have been significant advances since those early days of varicose vein treatment!

Modern vascular surgery is minimally invasive, providing quicker, simpler treatment options with improved recovery times and lower rates of recurrence. The majority of varicose vein surgery can be done under Local anaesthetic. In some ways having varicose vein surgery nowadays is a bit like going to the dentist for treatment – quick, simple and quite painless.

There are a few ways varicose veins can be treated, including foam sclerotherapy, Clarivein and radiofrequency ablation / VNUS closure.

We have extensive experience of each of these treatments and can provide them where appropriate. However, our preferred method of treating varicose veins is with Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT).

EVLT involves placing a laser fibre into the vein and using ultrasound to guide it into the correct position. Amplified light energy is then used to destroy the inside of the vein wall and seal it up to stop it leaking. This causes the pressure in the vein to drop so that it can shrink back down its to normal size, greatly improving the appearance of the legs. If any residual veins are left over, they can be cleared up with injection sclerotherapy.

EVLT is done using local anaesthetic and you will be able to drive again within 5 days and return to work after 7-10 days. For more detailed information, please see www.radianceveinclinic.com.

Our vascular consultants are extremely experienced in varicose vein treatments and were the first surgeons in London and the South East of England to use EVLT. They would be delighted to help you too.

When you first meet with your consultant, they will talk with you about your varicose veins and ask you about any symptoms you have.

They will carry out a physical examination of your leg, looking at all possible causes of the physical symptoms you have.

Ultrasound is an incredibly helpful diagnostic tool for many vascular conditions and can be used to plan the best treatment option for you. During your consultation, a duplex ultrasound will be carried out to show both the speed of blood flow and the structure of the leg veins. This is used to confirm where the veins are originating, so that the best treatment can be planned.

(To streamline the process, our Consultant Vascular Surgeons carry out their own ultrasound scans on most patients. This avoids unnecessary delays and the need for repeat appointments)

This will often be all that is needed to confirm a diagnosis and to plan treatment, and we will arrange your surgery at the earliest opportunity.

Leg pain can also be caused by a non-vascular problem, such as a trapped nerve in the spine or damage to a joint from arthritis. If upon examination your consultant suspects there is another reason for your leg pain, they will refer you to the most appropriate specialist for further investigation.

Located right next to Blackheath train station, it is incredibly easy to travel to us. Many of our patients live in London, but people also visit us from further afield.

If you are considering private varicose vein surgery in London, we believe that BMI The Blackheath Hospital is the sensible choice. We can provide you with:

  • Rapid access to a leading expert – Whether you are embarrassed by how your legs look or frustrated by itchiness or pain in them, our vascular consultants can help you sooner. As the leading experts in varicose vein surgery, they will provide you with exceptional care, experience-led treatment and aftercare.
  • Convenient appointments – We can easily arrange an appointment for you with one of the most experienced vascular surgeons in the UK, at a time that is convenient for you. Our two vascular surgeons have worked closely together for more than 20 years and provide a seamless service from start to finish.

Arterial surgery is involved with investigating and treating problems in the arteries (apart from those in the heart and the head, which are managed by cardiologists and neurosurgeons).

Many different problems can occur with the arteries, the most common being:

  • Pain in the calves on walking (sometimes called intermittent claudication)
  • Peripheral vascular disease.

At BMI The Blackheath Hospital, we would be very happy to see you for an outpatient consultation for any arterial condition. We can give you advice and guidance and refer you to the appropriate treatment centre.

In terms of the vascular treatments provided at the hospital, our focus is mainly on varicose vein surgery.

Specialists Offering Vascular surgery

Mr Eddie Chaloner

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

BA, FRCS (Edin), FRCS (Gen)

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

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Mr Aaron Sweeney

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

MB, Bch, BaO, FRCS (Gen.Surg.)

BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

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Mr Prakash Saha

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

BSc(Hons), MBBS, PhD, FRCS

BMI The Blackheath Hospital

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