Sunderland hospital offers pioneering treatment for varicose veins

Consultant surgeon Ben Banerjee discusses the proceedure with patient Peter Dixon from Town End Farm.
Consultant surgeon Ben Banerjee discusses the proceedure with patient Peter Dixon from Town End Farm.
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A PIONEERING hospital procedure has been hailed a massive success after being successfully performed on 4,000 patients,

In 2007, Monkwearmouth Hospital became the first to offer laser treatment for people suffering from varicose veins.

Since then, 4,000 people have passed through the hospital’s doors to have the simple operation carried out.

The endovenous laser therapy means patients no longer have to endure a painful and lengthy operation under general anaesthetic to remove their unsightly veins.

Instead, patients can pop into the hospital as part of an outpatient session and undergo a simple and pain-free procedure in less than half an hour without a general anaesthetic.

Ben Banerjee, consultant vascular surgeon, carried out the milestone operation at the hospital’s outpatient department last week on Peter Dixon, of Town End Farm.

Mr Banerjee said: “The first operation was carried out in 2007 and was a major breakthrough for local patients in treating one of the most common procedures.

“Unlike conventional removal of varicose veins, the laser treatment is completed within minutes, does not require a general anaesthetic or hospital stay, has fewer side effects and means the patient can be home again within hours.”

The therapy sees doctors pass a laser through a tiny cut in the leg and the high temperature closes up the vein from the inside as it moves outside the leg.

Because of its simplicity, patients are able to walk straight out of the treatment room and can be back to work within one to two days.

Traditional surgery for varicose veins can take up to an hour and patients can be off work for up to six weeks.

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VARICOSE veins are usually found in the calf or thigh.

 It can cause tiredness and a feeling of heaviness and occasional pain.

 Traditional surgery under general anaesthetic sees the surgeon cut into a patient’s groin and lower down the leg and make a lot of small incisions before the vein is removed.