Minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins to be showcased at National Health Service EXPO
VNUS Medical Technologies, a worldwide leader in medical devices for the minimally invasive treatment of venous reflux disease, recently announced that the UK NHS National Innovation Centre has identified the VNUS Closure procedure as a select innovative technology that is bringing benefits to National Health Service (NHS) hospitals and patients.
The VNUS Closure procedure is a minimally invasive treatment for patients suffering with symptomatic varicose veins and venous reflux, and has been demonstrated in numerous comparative studies to offer advantages over conventional vein stripping surgery. The technique will be showcased at the NHS EXPO Meeting on June 18-19, 2009.
“Our treatment alternative has enabled many NHS Trusts to perform a very common operation virtually pain-free in a simple treatment room in around 30-40 minutes without a general anaesthetic or overnight stay,” said Michael Branagan-Harris, UK Managing Director for VNUS Medical Technologies UK Ltd. “This in turn has enabled hospitals to save money by freeing up expensive resources such as operating theatres, ward beds and staff for more invasive procedures.”
“It is clear that by freeing up hospital operating theatres and reducing both treatment and recovery times, this technique offers significant benefits for both the patient and the NHS,” said Brian Winn, Head of Technology & Product Innovation at the NHS National Innovation Centre. “In my view the VNUS Closure Procedure is the preferred technique to treat venous reflux because it requires no special modifications to operating areas, is well tolerated by patients, requires minimal post-procedure analgesia and is highly effective at permanently closing the vein,” said Ian Franklin, Consultant Vascular Surgeon from Charing Cross NHS Hospital & Imperial College London.
Varicose veins are caused by increased pressure in the legs as a result of venous reflux and faulty valves in the leg veins. Left untreated, venous reflux can lead to painful varicose veins, swelling in the lower limbs, and skin problems, such as itching, redness, eczema, and leg ulcers.
For the past century, the traditional treatment for varicose veins has been a technique called vein stripping, which is carried out under general anaesthesia in operating theatres, and sometimes involves an overnight stay in a hospital bed. This treatment involves a groin incision and the complete removal of the saphenous vein, and recovery can be lengthy and uncomfortable. Surgeons in the NHS perform around 37,000 varicose vein stripping procedures every year.
The VNUS Closure Procedure consists of inserting a thin radiofrequency (RF) catheter into the diseased vein through a small incision. The catheter then heats the diseased vein sequentially in 7-centimeter segments, sealing it from the inside and effectively closing it down. Blood returning to the heart then naturally reroutes through healthy veins containing normal valves.
“We are delighted that the NHS National Innovation Centre is showcasing our technology at the forthcoming EXPO meeting, and appreciate their support in driving the acceptance and adoption of our innovative treatment through NHS Hospitals across the UK,” said Brian Farley, President and CEO of VNUS Medical Technologies. “With the support of the NHS, Charing Cross NHS Hospital in London and Ian Franklin, we are continuing our programs to train more surgeons in the VNUS Closure procedure so that more UK patients can benefit from this proven technology.”