Recommended varicose vein treatment already benefiting patients
NNUH is leading the way in the treatment of varicose veins by offering minimally invasive treatment as opposed to open surgery as recommended by new NICE guidelines published last month.
The Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (NNUH) offers patients with varicose veins a walk in, walk out service with two types of interventional treatment known as endovenous ablation. Laser treatment has been offered at Cromer Hospital for three years and radiofrequency ablation has been offered at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital since October 2012. Both these treatments involve inserting a catheter and heating the vein from the inside, causing irreversible damage to the vein and its lining which closes it off. Previously patients who needed varicose vein treatment had only the option of the more painful alternative of open surgery where veins are stripped and removed.
There are many benefits of the types of treatment offered in Norwich and Cromer. Patients can have the procedures with a local anaesthetic as opposed to a general anaesthetic; the recovery is shorter and much less painful. They can both be carried out within 20-40 minutes and patients can return home on the same day without a stay in hospital.
NICE guidelines now recommend that all patients with confirmed varicose veins should firstly be treated with non-invasive treatments, such as radiofrequency ablation or laser ablation, and that open surgery should be offered when other methods are not suitable.
Rob Brightwell, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, said: We fully support the guidelines and we are proud that the vascular service provided by the Trust has been ahead of the game in terms of offering these treatments to our patients for some time. We want to make sure our patients get the best care and treatment possible so that they can recover and return home as soon as possible.
Jim Clarke, Consultant Vascular Surgeon, runs the service in Cromer and added: We established an endovenous service using the laser in Cromer in December 2009 and have been expanding it ever since. Nearly three hundred procedures have been performed. It is now a routine walk in walk out service ideally suited to the new Cromer Hospital. Very few patients need traditional open surgery with stripping.”