Vascular surgery is used to resolve problems with the vascular system (arteries and veins), such as varicose veins. At London Bridge Hospital vascular surgery is carried out, wherever possible, using peripheral arterial interventions. This is a minimally invasive technique designed to facilitate recovery.
Vascular surgery can be used to treat the following problems.
Usually treated by an operation on the abdomen where the aneurysm is replaced with an artificial artery. However, where possible the treatment, ("endovascular aneurysm repair") where a special stent graft is, is threaded into the aortic aneurysm through a small incision in each groin. This results in a shorter stay in hospital and a much quicker recovery period.
Micro-Injection-Sclero-Therapy of Thread Veins
In micro-injection sclerotherapy (MIST) an irritant solution is injected into the thread veins - also called spider veins and telangiectasias. This causes inflammation and destruction of the venule and, with time, the body's scavenging cells - the macrophages - clear the area leaving a very gratifying cosmetic result - as soon as six weeks with the fine thread veins but, occasionally, with the larger thread veins or reticular veins, there may be brownish skin-staining which can take up to two years to clear. Indeed, with larger varicose veins, the staining may never clear completely.
Peripheral arterial interventions
The very latest technologies will be used to minimise patient discomfort. The consultants are proponents of minimally invasive therapies for occlusive disease (pelvis and leg arteries) and carotid disease (neck arteries).
Varicose veins are prominent superficial veins which may present as a purely cosmetic problem. However, they may also cause symptoms which include pain, aching, cramp, restlessness and ulceration. The principle investigation is Duplex ultrasound imaging which identifies deep and superficial vein problems. Based on this investigation the most appropriate form of treatment can be offered. Treatments include open surgery: junctional ligation and removal of superficial veins; laser ablation; ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy; and micro-injection-sclerotherpy. One or a combination of these treatments would produce a good cosmetic and functional result. The consultants can offer a one-stop diagnosis using a Duplex scanner, which means only one visit is necessary before treatment. Furthermore, the surgeon actually sees the imaging (Duplex) her / himself and is therefore able to better plan and execute the intervention. Most patients will be suited to laser or VNUS treatment – this can be performed under local anaesthesia and involves shorter recovery time. General anaesthetic under theatre conditions can still be used if preferred by the patient.
VNUS Closure of Varicose Veins
The principle is exactly the same as for Laser except that a gentler heat is used - it is generated by radiofrequency waves.
"Traditional" Open-type Varicose Vein Surgery
When carried out by an experienced surgeon and with intra-operative ultrasound guidance, this is still considered by most experienced vascular surgeons to be the gold-standard.
The London Bridge Hospital is able to offer AAA screening to all. Abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) kill over 4000 in the UK every year. Screening for AAA is proven to save lives. The AAA screening is a simple ultrasound scan of the abdomen that is painless and takes only a few minutes. Further advice if required or treatment, including endovascular (minimally invasive) repair of AAA is also available by the vascular surgeons at the London Bridge Hospital.