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The Mail on Sunday: Scandal of private health sharks overcharging their patients by up to £12,000


Patients who pay for private surgery are falling victim to massive price variations of up to £12,000 for the same procedure.




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The Mail on Sunday: Farewell stilton legs!


Countryfile star Julia Bradbury revelas how a pain-free varicsoe vein blaster finally gave her the confidence to wear skirts .. and even take up pole-dancing!




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Daily Express: A victim of the great vein robbery


Patients are paying over the odds for treatment of this unsightly and painful condition.




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The Daily Mail: Julia - £360 jabs that banished my unsightly veins


TV presenter Julia Bradbury, 47, shows off her legs after £360 jab that makes 'quite ugly' varicose veins disappear



Posing naked on top of a sea of discarded bottles to highlight Britain's plastic waste problem, Julia Bradbury appears to be completely confident with her body.

But the TV presenter revealed she has one particular body hang-up that makes her feel uncomfortable in skirts and dresses.

She has described the prominent veins on her legs as 'quite ugly', and said she has regular treatments to make them disappear.

The mother of three, 47, developed varicose veins during pregnancy due to raised blood pressure and has also had thread veins since her 20s.

The former Countryfile presenter, 47, told the Mail: '[I got them] from my lovely Dad who I inherited lots of things from.

'He's very tall, so I got his height and he's the one who took me walking in the outdoors so I got my appreciation of nature from him as well. But one of the bummer sides is the thread veins, that's the downside.'

Thread veins are tiny blood vessels close to the surface of the skin. They look like fine red wiggly lines. Varicose veins, meanwhile, are swollen and enlarged, often appearing bulging or twisted.

In healthy veins, blood is prevented from flowing backwards by tiny valves.

If these valves weaken or are damaged, blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein, eventually causing it to become swollen.

Fed up of their appearance, Miss Bradbury had laser therapy in 2016 to treat her varicose veins and now has a treatment called microsclerotherapy twice a year during summer for her thread veins.

Tackling thread veins with the treatment costs £360 per session, while the varicose procedure cost £1,995 for both legs.

The BBC star, who has three-year-old twin girls and a six-year-old son with partner Gerard Cunningham, 58, said of her hang-up: 'It didn't stop me going out, but it would certainly stop me wearing certain outfits and certain dresses and skirts.

'There was a point where they were quite bad … it's like the eye was drawn to the hem of the skirt and that happened to be right where I had a quite ugly cluster of veins.'

Miss Bradbury tweeted pictures of her thread vein procedure last week with Dr David West at the Veincentre, a national chain of clinics where she also had her varicose veins treated.

Miss Bradbury, who backed the Daily Mail's plastic campaign last week by posing on top of 750 plastic bottles, said: 'In another six weeks I'll go and see him again and that'll be it for the summer.'

After her varicose treatment in 2016, she said she finally felt confident to wear skirts again, adding: 'My legs feel smooth to the touch and I feel sure that this is a permanent solution to the problem that has plagued me for most of my adult life.'

View this article online: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-5706555/TV-presenter-Julia-Bradbury-47-shows-legs-360-jab.html


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Daily Express: High-tech laser that zapped my leg ulcer


A 20-minute op ended Steve Sippett's year-long suffering that began with a trivial injury.




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The Sunday Times: Mamils' varicose veins gave our laser therapy legs


How we made it: Deborah and David West; Founders of Veincentre.




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The Daily Telegraph: Older men turn to surgery to remove ugly varicose veins


BODY-conscious men wanting to avoid having "grandpa legs" are driving up demand for surgery to remove varicose veins.




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The Mail on Sunday: Brexit brings a health tourist boost for vein surgeon


Brexit brings a health tourist boost for vein surgeon




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Mail Online: Are you plagued by varicose veins? Expert reveals how winter can make your symptoms worse...


Dr David West reveals the most common triggers of vein issues.




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Mail Online: Rising numbers of body-conscious middle-aged men in Lycra are having varicose vein surgery to avoid getting


Surge is linked to a rise in middle-aged men going to the gym or cycling.
Research shows men are taking more care over their appearance.




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The Sentinel: Rise of the 'MAMIL' is behind clinic's success


A medical business which specialises in removing unsightly varicose veins is preparing to move to a bigger premises after seeinng a huge increase in patient numbers, fueled by cycling MAMILs - middle ages men in lycra. preparing to move to




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The Sun: Runners Boom


A RISE in middle-ages runners getting varicose veins removed has helped VEINCENTRE rise.




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Bristol vein clinic goes from strength to strength


A private health clinic which specialises in the treatment of varicose veins, has reported a 40% rise in patients over the past 12 months, with patients travelling from as far as Australia and the Middle East to seek treatment.



Veincentre in Bristol opened its doors in 2007 and since then, its vascular specialists have treated over 400 patients.“Over the past 12 months the clinic has seen a rise in enquiries as more people are moving towards private clinics for procedures currently unavailable on the NHS. People have started to realise that they no longer have to put up with NHS waiting lists and the high cost of private health insurance – there is a better solution,” says founder Dr David West.“Due to medical advances in the treatment of varicose veins, Veincentre is able to provide pioneering treatments such as EVLA, that can see patients consulted and treated in the same day.”Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that doesn’t require general anaesthetic. The efficiency of the procedure means that many of the treatments often last no longer than 90 minutes.EVLA is also recommended by the National Institution for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the default treatment for varicose veins.Dr West also revealed that many patients that visit the centre are referred by GPs.He continues: “Increasing numbers of patients have been referred to the clinic via their GP which is a testament to the consultants working at Veincentre.“We are continually growing to ensure all patients that come to us receive affordable and high quality tailored treatment.”Kate Ogborne, an office manager from Bristol, suffered from varicose veins before being treated at the clinic. After having her second child, a large vein appeared on her thigh travelling down to her knee.“The varicose vein certainly knocked my confidence and even if I wore thick tights, I could still feel the vein through them. I restricted myself a lot when shopping and used to cover up, even in warmer months,” Kate explains.After suffering from varicose veins for 14 years, a 90 minute treatment at Veincentre made Kate’s veins vanish with life changing results.“The treatment was unbelievable; I am really delighted with the results and cannot wait for a holiday where I don’t have to worry about how my legs look.”Veincentre treats both private patients and those referred by the NHS with approval from their clinical commissioning groups at clinics in Bristol, London, Manchester, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent.


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Stoke's Veincentre celebrates one year anniversary


Since opening its doors in 2013, the vascular specialists at Veincentre's Stoke-on-Trent clinic have seen more than 200 patients in the year, with many travelling from as far as Saudi Arabia to receive treatment.



Its star-studded launch last summer saw Veincentre's fifth clinic being opened by Nick Hancock, and since then the centre has gone from strength to strength with a 30% average rise in patients attending the clinic month on month.

Veincentre, a private clinic which specialises in the treatment of varicose veins, has previously been named as one of the top performing healthcare clinics by Private Healthcare UK.

"The clinic is continually growing and this is down to its increasing reputation as a provider of efficient and cost-effective treatment," says Dr David West.

"People have started to realise that they no longer have to put up with NHS queues and waiting lists and that Veincentre is a quicker and better solution."

Dr David West, founder of Veincentre, opened his fifth UK clinic after the exceptional growth and success of his other clinics.

Veincentre specialises in pioneering techniques including Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), which is recommended by the National Institution for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) as the default treatment for varicose veins.

EVLA is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure with no need for general anaesthetic. The efficiency of the procedure means that many patients have their first consultation and treatment at the same time - often lasting no longer than 90 minutes.

Dr West also revealed that many of patients visiting the centre are sent by GPs, he continues: "Increasing numbers of patients are being referred to the clinic via their GP which is a testament to the consultants that work at Veincentre and shows that it is a trusted leader in this field.

"We are continually growing to ensure all patients that come to us receive affordable and high quality tailored treatment."

Beverley Ramsden, a minister from Llandudno, is just one patient that has received treatment at the clinic with life changing results.

"The appearance of my varicose veins used to make me feel sick, especially the bulge of them. I felt it looked like there was a serpent around my ankle. I would never dream of showing my legs as I would always feel so self-conscious," Beverley explains.

After suffering from varicose veins for seven years Beverly - who takes part in belly dancing in her spare time - was tired of feeling self-conscious of her bulging veins. After just a 90 minute treatment, the appearance of Beverley's veins has improved dramatically.

Veincentre treats both private patients and those referred by the NHS with approval from their clinical commissioning groups at clinics in Bristol, London, Manchester, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, Nottingham and Stoke-on-Trent.


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Varicose vein treatment proving popular as new office opens in Nottingham


The new centre of excellence to specialise in the treatment of varicose veins and leg ulcers has opened in Nottingham.



Located close to the heart of Nottingham city centre, Veincentre’s Zenith Clinic opened its doors last Wednesday (July 16). The clinic treats only varicose veins which means treatments are both fast and affordable.

Dr David West, founder of Veincentre, opened the clinic based on the growth of his other clinics which offer EVLA – the NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) recommended default treatment for varicose veins.

Veincentre has also previously been named as one of the top performing healthcare clinics by Private Healthcare UK.“We couldn’t have had a better start. We’re full for the first month already. We hope those who suffer from varicose veins in and around Nottingham see that they no longer have to put up with their condition which many doctors refuse to treat on the NHS and those that do mean a long waiting list,” says Dr West.“Varicose veins can be a serious and debilitating condition but a modern, 90 minute treatment gets rid of the pain. Patients are surprised it’s under £2,000 as we’ve known some patients have been quoted as much as £5,000.”Veincentre was first set up in2004 by Dr David West and was the first private clinic in the UK dedicated to minimally-invasive, non-surgical laser treatment of varicose veins.For more information, visit: www.veincentre.com


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Varicose veins in the vagina and legs during pregnancy


Pregnancy effects all women differently, but for those who suffer from varicose veins becoming pregnant can put extra strain on their veins. What is probably not well known is that being pregnant can also cause varicose veins to develop in the vulvar known as vulvar varicosities. This not only causes discomfort but can affect sexual activity.



Vulvar varicosities occur in 10%[1] of pregnant women, most commonly in the second trimester around the fifth month due to the increased weight of the uterus applying pressure to the veins in the pelvic region.In most cases vulvar varicosities will disappear on their own within about six weeks after giving birth. However, this is not always the case and suffering from vulvar varicosities can become a lifelong condition.The treatment for vulvar varicosities is called embolization which involves a simple procedure where a coil is inserted in the vein to block it. For legs, Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is a simple, minially invasive treatment that can banish varicose veins within a few hours.Dr David West founder of Veincentre advises women to treat their varicose veins before becoming pregnant due to the pain and discomfort they could experience during their final trimesters. Varicose veins cannot be treated during pregnancy due to the small risk of harming the baby.“Pregnant women are at a greater risk of becoming varicose vein sufferers due to the increased volume of blood in their bodies and the pressue of the growing baby on the veins in the pelvis. This is what causes a pregnant woman's veins to become more pressured causing them to bulge and swell”, explains Dr West.“Bulging varicose veins on the legs are very noticeable and usually unsightly. However most pregnant women are not aware of having vulvar varicosities, they usually experience aching and pain. It is a condition that has to be diagnosed by a venous specialist and can be easily treated.”Dr West continues; “Varicose veins in the legs is an issue that can make pregnancy very uncomfortable for women, which is why it is best to deal the issue beforehand. A procedure as efficient and minimally invasive as EVLA means there is no need to wait till after pregnancy.”

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/pregnancy-week-by-week/expert-blog/vulvar-varicosities/bgp-20055755


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Body confident - lads who love their legs


It's that time of year when we begin to think about our legs again. Remember them? Those perfect pins that have been hiding all year round.



The arrival of summer brings with it relaxed days spent lounging bare-legged soaking up the sun. But for some getting the perfect beach body in time for summer isn't just about having a toned torso and rippling biceps - it's about achieving those perfect legs also.
It's no secret that a large proportion of men can be conscious about their body image; in particular gay men. In fact, recent studies show that homosexual men experience greater body-dissatisfaction than heterosexual men.
For some men, unsightly varicose veins stop them from wearing shorts and hiding their legs in trousers all summer. Fear not, a solution is out there.
A pioneering new technique called Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is a simple treatment which will eliminate varicose veins forever.
Dr David West, founder of Veincentre, explains: "40% of our clients are male and should not have to limit themselves while on holiday because they are embarrassed of their legs.
"Varicose veins affect people's body confidence and we understand especially during the summer months that men as much as women want to look and feel their best.
"I encourage anyone worried about their varicose veins to seek advice before going on any holiday as the heat can cause further discomfort" adds Dr West.
EVLA is perfect for men on the go as Veincentre can provide the consultation and procedure the same day, sometimes being completed within 90 minutes.
The procedure is pain-free leaving no scarring and within a couple of weeks you could be on a plane to the beach with nothing but shorts packed in your suitcase.


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Quick summer sun solution for varicose veins


With the summer season around the corner the thought of wearing skirts, dresses and shorts can fill varicose vein sufferers with dread and holidaying in hot climates can make varicose veins feel even worse.



Basking in the heat for too long can cause irritation and swelling as blood vessels in the body expand. This can lead to constant itching and discomfort, not a good look for summer!Varicose veins should not stop people baring their legs especially as there is a quick pain-free solution that can be achieved in an afternoon.A pioneering new technique called Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) is a simple treatment that can banish varicose veins. The procedure will also give back the confidence that many may not have had on previous holidays, helping sufferers bare their legs on the beach with pride.Dr David West, founder of Veincentre, explains: “In the UK there are roughly a third of people suffering from unsightly varicose veins and many of them are reluctant to seek help for fear of painful surgery, however EVLA removes these fears.“Instead of the veins being stripped out in surgery, EVLA eliminates the unhealthy veins with no need for anaesthetic. No cuts are made, no time off work needed and most importantly your summer holidays can start straight away.”If you are planning a summer holiday this year, baring your legs should be a fear of the past, do not let your varicose veins ruin your holiday!


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Varicose vein torture cured by "walk-in, walk-out" treatment


Ninety-two-year-old, retired, optometrist Joyce Cordell from Bristol had varicose veins since her eighties but they only started to become painful last year (2013).



Ninety-two-year-old, retired, optometrist Joyce Cordell from Bristol had varicose veins since her eighties but they only started to become painful last year (2013).

One of Joyce's favourite past-times was her daily walks with her beloved dog Mille however, due to the extra weight and pain around her ankles, walking Millie became difficult.

"Suddenly, one day when I was walking Millie, my ankles were a lot more painful than usual. I knew something was wrong but I thought the pain would pass. I am not used to being in discomfort when walking Millie but the heaviness around my ankle was taking my leg sideways and making it difficult to walk", says Joyce.

After much careful thought and research, Joyce decided to go for Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) which is a non-surgical procedure which can be carried out without the need for a general anaesthetic.

She'd seen an advertisement for Veincentre situated in Whiteladies Road, Bristol. She consulted her GP who agreed it was probably time to have her varicose veins attended to and that Veincentre was legitimate.

"I chose not to have surgery on the NHS because I had heard that there was a long waiting list. I had also heard it would involve several nights' stay in hospital and I would not be able to drive for weeks afterwards" says Joyce.

Joyce's initial consultation - with Dr Lyn Jones in Bristol - entailed an ultrasound scan. On her second visit, a few days later, Dr Jones carried out the EVLA procedure on both of Joyce's legs.

Following laser treatment on both legs, Joyce was able to walk out of the clinic - with minimal pain and discomfort after three hours.

Veincentre has clinics in Manchester, London, Bristol and Newcastle-under-Lyme and deals with both private patients and those referred by the NHS who manage to secure consent from their clinical commissioning groups.


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VARICOSE VEINS VANISHED AFTER EIGHT YEARS OF HIDING LEGS


It is a common myth amongst men that varicose veins only affect women, many believe it is not a serious condition and ignore the problem due to embarrassment. Many men go on to allow the condition to take over their lives.



66-year-old Peter Dixon from Knyprsley, Staffordshire suffered in silence for eight years with varicose veins to his lower left leg.
Racing 250 miles a week in training as part of a cycling club for more than 30 years and still taking part in 10-mile bike rides every week, Peter counts himself lucky that his veins have caused him no pain but the knock of confidence was a good enough reason to undergo treatment.
Last October, following a 21-minute laser treatment appointment with Veincentre?s lead consultant David West, Peterâ??s varicose veins had vanished.
â??During holidays with my wife, my veins would swell up so badly that I would always keep them covered. I wasnâ??t in pain, but I didnâ??t understand how or why I had developed varicose veins,â? Peter Dixon explains.
â??At first I thought it was due to cycling, but now I understand that anyone can get them. Many people in the cycling club suffer from varicose veins and the pain that comes with it - I count myself lucky in one sense.
â??I have many holidays planned this year, including a cruise to the Mediterranean â?? thanks to Veincentre - itâ??s a wonderful feeling to feel comfortable in your own skin again.â?
After being refused treatment through the NHS, Peter went for consultation at Veincentre where he was introduced to Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) - a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that can be carried out without the need for a general anaesthetic.
Delivered through a specialist clinic, which only treats veins, EVLA is fast-becoming the treatment of choice amongst those who want to remove varicose veins.
â??Around 50% of our clients are men. However the men we see only tend to walk through our doors once the pain has become unbearable and tend to have suffered needlessly for years,â? says Dr West.
â??By prolonging treatment, they are putting themselves at greater risk of problems such as ulcers. This is not just a â??female onlyâ?? problem and it is definitely nothing to be embarrassed about.
â??EVLA is quick, efficient and effective. No anaesthetic is necessary, no cuts are made and most social activities and work life can be resumed straight away. In Peterâ??s case, there was no need for him to receive any further treatment as the recurrence rate is very low compared to surgical stripping.â?
Up to a third of the UK population suffers from unsightly veins with many afraid to seek help for fear of surgery or after-effects but EVLA removes these fears.


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Specialist Manchester clinic attracts international clients


Manchester-based Veincentre, a private health clinic that specialises in the treatment of varicose veins, has reported a 100% rise in patients since it opened its doors in 2011, with patients travelling from as far as Saudi Arabia to receive treatment.



Dr David West, founder of Veincentre, re-located his Macclesfield clinic to the city in 2011 due to its excellent UK and worldwide travel links. Since then the clinic has been named as one of the UK?s top performing healthcare clinics by Private Healthcare UK.

More than 1,000 patients have been treated at the Manchester clinic, including 20% from overseas.

â??Our Manchester clinic has experienced exceptional growth since we opened three years ago. It is one of our busiest clinics and I believe this is down to our increasing reputation as a provider of efficient and cost-effective treatments as well as location,â? says Dr David West.

â??People have started to realise that they no longer have to put up with NHS waiting lists and the high cost of private health insurance - there is a quicker and better solution.â?

10% of patients travelling to the Manchester Veincentre clinic have also come from London due to the considerable price variations for the same procedures up and down the country.

Veincentre specialises in pioneering new techniques including Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), which is recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) as the default treatment for varicose veins.

EVLA is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure with no need for general anaesthetic. The efficiency of the procedure means that many patients have their first consultation and treatment at the same time â?? often lasting no longer than 90 minutes.

â??80% of our patients have been referred via their GP which is a testament that Veincentre is a trusted leader in this field. We are continually growing to ensure all patients that come to us receive affordable and high quality tailored treatment,â? says Dr West.

Martha Bower, a vet from Manchester, is just one patient who received treatment at the clinic with life changing results.

After suffering for 40 years with the debilitating pain of varicose veins and no cure from the NHS, just a 90-minute laser treatment made Marthaâ??s veins and ulcers vanish.

â??In almost 40 years of suffering from the condition, laser treatment was never mentioned to me by my NHS doctor which is annoying given the speed and effectiveness of the treatment being so phenomenal. The ulcerated area was uncomfortable for about two weeks after EVLA but it has now completely healed and the pain has gone,â? says Martha.

Veincentre treats both private patients and those referred by the NHS with approval from their clinical commissioning groups at clinics in Manchester, London, Bristol and Newcastle-under-Lyme.


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Varicose veins - the myths are exposed!


Veincentre, one of the UK's leading private health clinics specialising in varicose veins, has seen more than 10,000 patients since opening its doors 10 years ago. Almost all of the clients that visited the clinic had completely misunderstood their condition and were not aware of the options available to them.

The clinic's lead consultant - Dr David West - has listed the five most common myths surrounding varicose veins and the truth behind these conditions and their treatment.



Myth: Varicose veins is only a problem for women

Truth: 40% of our clients are men. However, they only tend to come to us once the pain has become unbearable. By waiting until this time they are putting themselves at greater risk of developing additional problems. This is not just a "female only" problem and it is definitely nothing to be embarrassed about as it's so common.

Myth: Varicose veins are only a cosmetic issue i.e. not serious

Truth: Varicose veins, if ignored and left untreated, can actually progress into serious medical conditions including leg pain, swelling, skin damage and ulcers. They may also be a result of (and therefore masking) another underlying problem. Some of our clients had suffered with their varicose veins for over 40 years, either because they were not offered adequate solutions by their GP or simply because they were unaware of the options available.

Their daily lives were seriously affected due to constant pain and discomfort. A lot of them had self-confidence issues, avoiding holidays and summer clothing and some of the more serious cases had been unable to walk or stand for long periods of time.

Myth: Treating varicose veins is expensive

Truth: People are turning to "self-pay" private surgery in response to lengthening NHS waiting lists, some clinicians refusing to treat them on the NHS and escalating costs of private health insurance. However, there is a huge price variation for the same procedures up and down the country.

We would not dream of unnecessarily overcharging our clients and I believe some of the prices being quoted at other clinics are ridiculous. What may cost up to £8,000 at one clinic, we'll provide the same varicose vein treatment for £1,995 and I'd argue we'd do it to a higher patient satisfaction because all we do are veins.

Cost should not be a barrier for people seeking treatment for their varicose veins. Treatment options should be tailored to patient's budgets. At Veincentre, we offer payment options to accommodate even the most modest budgets.

Myth: Varicose vein treatment will involve long painful surgery

Truth : Not so with a pioneering new technique called Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), which is recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) as the default treatment for varicose veins.

EVLA is a non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure with no need for general anaesthetic. The efficiency of this procedure means that many of our patients have their first consultation and treatment at the same time - often lasting no longer than 90 minutes.

Myth: Varicose veins are a problem for old people

Truth: This is not just a problem for older people, your genetics also play a large part in the development of varicose veins. We have had clients as young as 16 suffering with varicose veins and seen children with the condition.


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Quick Fix Gives Fitness Coach new boost of energy


Pioneering new laser treatment for varicose veins has given stoke city football club's professional fitness coach a boost of energy after spending the past five years in pain.



Damian Roden received Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) treatment last December after suffering from four blood clots following a flight from Manchester to Cyprus.

The 39-year-old - who is head of sports science and fitness for premier league Stoke City Football Club first developed Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in 2009.

During the last five years, he suffered blood clots to his left leg and varicose veins on his right leg. As Damian was prescribed Warfarin to help thin the blood and prevent a return of his
DVTs, doctors in Manchester had advised against treatment for his varicose veins.

Following a 60-minute laser treatment appointment with Veincentre’s lead consultant – Dr David West – Damian’s veins have disappeared along with the pain.

“Having varicose veins became more of a frustration than anything, let alone the appearance of them. It was a constant throbbing and daily discomfort,” Damian says.

“Part of my job is to train footballers and demonstrate a variety of techniques to help them prepare for the pitch but my energy levels had slowed down and I struggled to keep up. If I couldn’t do the sessions and demonstrate the technique, what chance did I have of motivating the footballers?

“I realised due to my work and lifestyle, if I didn’t do something soon, my veins would only get worse.

“Since the treatment, I can keep up with the fitness sessions. I feel like I have got my legs back from both an appearance and physical aspect,” says Damian.

EVLA is a minimally invasive, non-surgical procedure that takes place without the need for general anaesthetic.

Delivered through a specialist clinic which only treats veins, EVLA is fast-becoming the treatment of choice amongst those who want to remove varicose veins.

“The removal of varicose veins through EVLA is becoming more popular and we are finding that it is just as common in men as it is women. In fact, around 50 per cent of our clients are men and many are choosing this treatment as the preferred option,” says Dr David West, lead-consultant at Veincentre’s Stoke-on-Trent clinic.

“Many doctors refuse to treat varicose veins by Endovenous Laser Therapy (EVLT) if they are on the medication Damian was prescribed to thin the blood for fear of bleeding. We have successfully treated dozens of patients on warfarin without any problems.

“If his varicose veins were not treated, they would have eventually become more increasingly painful due to the amount of pressure he puts on his legs on a daily basis.”

From a young age, Damian has been actively interested in sport. A former footballer for Wrexham Football Club, he has worked in the sports sector for 11 years, nine months of which have been at Stoke City Football Club.

Damian continues: “After my first blood clot appeared, the doctors advised me not to have treatment simply for vanity reasons as it would not prevent other blood clots appearing and could result in further complications.

“I was advised to walk and rest a lot but due to my job, it was really difficult. All I wanted to do was get back up on my feet and move around but my body would not allow it.

“Veincentre’s Stoke clinic is located just a mile away from work and recommended by the club. Having EVLA treatment has given me a new lease of life and made a massive
difference.”

Up to a third of the UK population suffers from unsightly veins with many afraid to seek help for fear of surgery or after-effects but EVLA removes these fears. The procedure is so efficient that many patients have their first appointment and treatment at the same time – usually taking no longer than 90 minutes.

“Instead of the veins being stripped out using traditional surgery, the laser technique eliminates the unhealthy veins where they are leaving the patients with no haunting scars,” explains Dr West.

EVLA is quick, efficient and effective. No anaesthetic is necessary, no cuts are made and most social activities and work life can be resumed straight away. Most importantly the recurrence rate is very low compared to surgical stripping. In Damian’s case, it has allowed him to do his job properly.”

EVLA treatment was brought to the UK (from the USA) by Dr David West. He founded Veincentre – the first private clinic dedicated to treating only veins using EVLA. Recently recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), EVLA is the default treatment for varicose veins.


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Should private hospitals and clinics be added to the recent "rip-off" Britain name and shame list?


Yes they should according to Dr David West, founder and lead-consultant at private health clinic Veincentre.



Recent research by Private Healthcare UK, suggests that people are turning to self-pay private surgery in response to lengthening NHS waiting lists and escalating costs of private health insurance. The same research also highlighted that there is a huge price variation for the same procedures up and down the country.

Dr David West, founder of private health clinic Veincentre explains: "I hope that medical providers and practitioners will see this report as a wake-up call and lead to a fairer market for people considering self-paying for private surgery and treatment. How can patients be charged £3,000 for a treatment and then £7,000 for the same procedure at a different clinic ten minutes down the road? It is unfair and another example of rip-off Britain.

Consumers are now finally able to shop around for the best fixed price surgery deal due to the on-going competition commission enquiry and this new report. At Veincentre we pride ourselves on providing affordable and high quality treatments for all. We would not dream of unnecessarily overcharging clients and I believe these ridiculous prices need to be brought into line.

I also believe there are clinics out there that try to offer too many treatments which reduces efficiency and pushes prices up. At Veincentre we just treat veins which enables our consultants to provide an efficient and cost-effective service to our patients. Therefore we are able to treat patients at a fraction of the cost of some other clinics and private hospitals. What may cost up to £8,000 at one clinic, we provide the same treatment for £1,995.

The growth in the self-pay market is in contrast to the private medical insurance market, which is declining. According to market commentators, Laing & Buisson, 10.8% of the UK population are currently covered by private medical insurance the lowest rate in more than 20 years.

The Private Healthcare UK Self-Pay Market Study 2013 has been compiled by the research team at www.privatehealth.co.uk, the UK's leading independent guide to the private healthcare sector. The research was carried out among 110 leading industry figures including representatives of the UK market providers, clinicians, third party administrators and senior decision makers in NHS private patient units.

The key findings of the research include:

77% of industry respondents expect self-pay to increase over the next three years.
There is wide variation and little apparent rationale for the pricing of self-pay private treatment. The range of prices provided for some procedures varied by more than 100% from the lowest to the highest.
The main factors influencing the growth of the self-pay market are rising private medical insurance premiums, reduced confidence in NHS services and reduced access to NHS services.
The reality (or perception) of rising NHS waiting times was seen as a major factor on the willingness of patients to switch to self-pay options.
31.9% of respondents to the survey believe the greatest demand for self-pay treatment is to be in the 45 to 54 age group.


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Veincentre top private clinic in Manchester


Commenting on being recognised as the top private clinic in Manchester as chosen by Private Healthcare UK Patient's Choice Awards 2014, Dr David West - founder and Medical Director at Veincentre, said:

"Veincentre just treats veins which enables our consultants to provide an efficient and cost-effective service to our patients.



Since opening in 2011, our Manchester clinic has treated hundreds of patients from not just across the region but as far afield as Spain and Saudi Arabia.

We are delighted to be recognised by Private Healthcare UK as one of the UK's top private clinics as patient welfare and comfort is at the forefront of everything we do.

As we specialise in the treatment and diagnosis of veins, we are able to treat patients at a fraction of the cost of other clinics. What may cost upwards of £8,000 at one clinic, we provide the same treatment for £1,695.

Patients are also treated more efficiently as they are treated by vein specialists. Every team member, including front of house, have witnessed the procedures first-hand so they know what each treatment entails, which is important to patients.

Private Healthcare UK enables patients to leave honest reviews and this helps to ensure we address any issues head-on to improve service.

Professionalism, follow-up care, minimal amount of discomfort, cost and clarity of advice given are frequent comments we receive, as well as putting patients at their ease.

It is a great honour to see that Veincentre has three clinics recognised in the top eight of the UK's private healthcare clinics."


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Veincentre top private clinic in Stoke-on-Trent


A private health clinic that specialises in the treatment of varicose veins and leg ulcers has been named as one of the UK's top eight performing healthcare hospitals or clinics as selected by patients.

Veincentre, which is based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, is the only clinic in Staffordshire to have been recognised in the Private Healthcare UK Patient's Choice Awards 2014.



Veincentre, which is based in Newcastle-Under-Lyme, is the only clinic in Staffordshire to have been recognised in the Private Healthcare UK Patient?s Choice Awards 2014.

Chosen due to been given one of the top eight highest satisfaction ratings by patients out of the 20,000 hospitals and clinics listed on Private Healthcare UK, Veincentre took three of the top spots with its London and Manchester also listed.

Veincentreâ??s Newcastle-Under-Lyme clinic at the Nuffield hospital opened in 2004 and has treated over 2,000 patients from across the region and further afield.

It uses pioneering new techniques to treat varicose veins including Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) which delivers phenomenal results.

EVLA is recommended by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) as the default treatment for varicose veins.

A non-surgical, minimally-invasive procedure there is no need for general anaesthetic. The procedure is so efficient that many patients have their first consultation and treatment at the same time â?? lasting no longer than 90 minutes.

â??Veincentre just treats veins enabling our consultants to provide an efficient and cost-effective service to our patients,â? says Dr David West, founder and lead-consultant at Veincentreâ??s Stoke clinic.

â??Since opening in 2013, our new Stoke clinic has treated patients from not just across the region but as far afield as Spain and even Egypt.

â??We are delighted to be recognised by Private Healthcare UK as one of the UKâ??s top private clinics as patient welfare and comfort is at the forefront of everything we do and testament to the great work the whole team delivers.â?

The Patientâ??s Choice Award recognises hospitals and clinics that deliver excellent customer care and a great patient experience.

To appear on the list, establishments have to have achieved an overall patient rating of 4.5 or higher out of 5 during 2013, in the patient reviews section of the site.

Keith Pollard, managing director of Intuition Communication, publishers of Private Healthcare UK, says the Patientâ??s Choice recognition is of huge importance to the clinics: â??With more than 20,000 private hospitals and clinics in the UK, it can be very difficult for clinics to stand out and differentiate themselves from their competitors, especially as they often offer very similar treatments and procedures.

â??By gaining the recognition of being a â??Patientâ??s Choiceâ?? hospital or clinic, it is clear that these establishments â??go the extra mileâ?? for patients, offering superb customer care.â?

Veincentre was first set up in2004 by Dr David West and was the first private clinic in the UK dedicated to minimally-invasive, non-surgical laser treatment of varicose veins.

â??Private Healthcare UK enables patients to leave honest reviews and this helps to ensure we address any issues head-on to improve service,â? says Dr West.

â??Professionalism, follow-up care, minimal amount of discomfort, cost and clarity of advice given are frequent comments we receive, as well as putting patients at their ease.

â??It is a great honour to see that Veincentre has three clinics recognised in the top eight of the UKâ??s private healthcare clinics.â?

Veincentre treats both private patients and those referred by the NHS with approval from their clinical commissioning groups at clinics in Manchester, London, Bristol and Newcastle-under-Lyme.


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Operation usually classed as cosmetic done at no charge Varicose vein surgery a first for NHS hospital The Sentinel - Wednesday 3rd Jan. 2007


BY GRAEME BROWN graeme.brown@thesentinel.co.uk
SURGEONS at Staffordshire's biggest hospital have carried out revolutionary varicose vein treatment free of charge on the NHS for the first time.


The vascular surgery team at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, used an Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) procedure on Alan Lawn, aged 58, of Blurton. They removed a vein that had become so painful, Alan was losing sleep.

The operation, carried out under local anaesthetic, uses a laser inserted by the knee, to deliver a pulse of light which causes the vein to collapse and seal shut. It was developed five years ago, but was classed as cosmetic, rather than medically vital, and therefore not available for free until now.

However, surgeons at Clayton's Nuffield Hospital have been carrying out five privately-funded operations a week for the last three years. Aideen Walsh, a consultant and vascular surgeon, who carried out the operation at the Hartshill complex, said the procedure could save the NHS money by avoiding overnight stays. She said: "The operation went absolutely fine. We were pleased because he felt so comfortable that he was ready to go home straight away.

"Alan arrived at around 9am and was back home by lunch time, and we were being super-cautious.

"When we are properly up and running, patients should be in and out in two hours. For Alan to have an operation, the chances of him getting out on the same day would have been much lower without this procedure. There has been some discomfort, but we expected that. Miss Walsh and four other surgeons from the hospital's vascular surgery team have put together a business case for the treatment to be offered free at the hospital."

It has already been available at hospitals in Leeds and Belfast for more than a year. Varicose veins generally occur in the legs, and affect about one in five adults, and in the 2006 financial year, 242 people underwent so-called vein stripping surgery at the university hospital.

The condition occurs when veins lose their elasticity and bulge with blood, after the valves in a vein become weak and let blood travel the wrong way back through the vein. This usually causes legs to ache and feel heavy and uncomfortable. In severe cases, the skin over the vein becomes dry, itchy and thin, which can be painful and cause an ulcer to develop.

Traditionally, patients with severe cases have undergone vein stripping surgery, where the vein is cut open and tied off at the end, but patients can take weeks to recover.

With EVLT, some are able to return to work the next day. The vein stripping surgery at the hospital is not offered free of charge for cosmetic reasons. Mr Lawn, who is medically retired because he suffers from a severe form of asthma, received the treatment on December 21.

The National Institute for Clinical Excellence sanctioned the treatment, after carrying out studies including one on 40 patients which showed it was still effective three years later. However, some experts have questioned the long-term impact, as little is known about what happens after three years. But consultant interventional radiologist Dr David West has carried out the procedure around 300 times on a private basis at Nuffield Hospital, and says it has been a success. He said: "It is a fantastic treatment. I have been trying to get it set up at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire myself. It should have been available there a long time ago. "No treatment is 100 per cent successful, there are always some that it isn't suited for, but I have an enormous amount of faith in it."

Should this laser treatment be offered free on the NHS? Write to The Editor, The Sentinel, Forge Lane, Etruria, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 5SS, or email us at letters@thesentinel.co.uk

'I used to be up all night with it - now I can sleep...'

ALAN Lawn hopes seven years of pain has come to an end after laser treatment at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

The 58-year-old, from Blurton, had been losing sleep and struggling to move, because of a swollen long saphenous vein in his right leg. He says he is already sleeping better less than two weeks after undergoing the treatment.

Alan said: "It had been hurting for about seven years. It would throb and there was a big lump on my leg, but now it has nearly gone down completely. "I used to be up all night with it. The vein has stopped me from sleeping a lot, and sometimes I have been restricted from walking on it. He added: "I didn't sleep a wink all night before the operation, because there was an agonising ache in the vein. I was very happy with the procedure. I have felt a slight ache since, but considering I have had an operation, it is nothing." Alan has undergone six operations for both varicose veins and haemorrhoids, including a stripping on his left leg at the age of 25. This time, surgeons lasered the long saphenous vein, running from the foot to the groin, and he believes this has been an easier process. Alan said: "I think it is definitely advantageous to offer it on the NHS. "For the stripping operation, I was in hospital for a week, and had a general anaesthetic. This was a lot faster and more effective."


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Patients from across Europe travel to North Staffs for pioneering care Vein treatment in demand by Dave Blackhurst The Sentinel - Mon. 3nd oct. 2005


SCORES of patients are flocking to North Staffordshire from across Europe for revolutionary treatment on varicose veins.
A consultant at the Nuffield Hospital, in Clayton, has become the first in Britain to perfect the technique which cures the painful and common condition in just one hour by using laser treatment.



Radiologist Dr David West has already carried out the procedure on 60 sufferers from as far afield as the Channel Islands, Spain and Italy - so avoiding the need for full-blown surgery involving a general anaesthetic and weeks of recovery.

They have been treated at the Nuffield Hospital as the relief is only available in the private sector, costing around £1,500.

But now the medic is trying to bring it into the NHS and offer it to patients at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, where he has practised for years.

He claims that as the patients are on waiting lists already, it will not cost cash-strapped local budgets any more to bring the breakthrough to their aid.

The technique was developed in America and Dr West travelled to the States to learn it three years ago.

Six other centres now use laser treatment to wipe out varicose veins, which affect one in five adults.

As the ailment is not lifethreatening and often no more than disfiguring, the NHS locally stopped funding surgery for many patients five years ago.

But the University Hospital has continued to treat more severe cases where the legs ache, the skin becomes dry and itchy and an ulcer can develop.

Dr West said: "It is carried out in outpatients' clinics, takes about an hour and the patient can even return to work the following day.

"Instead of the veins being stripped out using traditional surgical methods, the laser technique destroys the faulty veins where they lie and they simply shrivel away.

"No anaesthetic is necessary, no cuts are made, no time off work is needed and most social activities can be resumed straight away.

"Other important benefits include a low rate of complications, a high success rate and a much lower recurrence rate. "It is an amazing advance in the treatment of this common and understated problem. Varicose veins cause pain and embarrassment to millions of people in the UK but surgery is denied to many due to NHS funding restrictions."

Grandmother-of-two Christine Cooke is back wearing skirts and shorts for the first time in at least 15 years after benefiting from Dr West's laser treatment.

Christine, of Baldwin's Gate, had her varicose veins treated through traditional methods five times before going to see Dr West.

Christine, aged 57, said: "I have just been on a cruise round the Med and it's been great to wear shorts and skirts again. Husband Brian loves to see me in them. "Even though I had the veins done several times before, they never really went away. And under the old method I would have to walk three miles a day for the first 10 days after the operation to get my circulation moving again. "This time I was in for about an hour and the bandages could be taken off the next day." dave.blackhurst@thesentinel.co.uk


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Why do Madonna's hands look older than her face? by PETA BEE Daily Mail, 27th June 2006


At 47, Madonna has the body of a teenager but the hands of a grandmother. Pictured yesterday leaving her gym after a workout, the material girl displayed hands that appeared to be ravaged by age, with bulging veins and paperthin skin that wrinkled as she clutched a bottle of mineral water.



Older women are particularly vulnerable to "ageing" hands because the menopause causes a drop in their levels of oestrogen - the hormone that helps to keep the skin plump and fleshy.

Exposure to sunlight and chemicals also cause thinning and drying of the skin on the hands, as well as brown spots, wrinkles and prominent veins.

According to Dr Alan Kanter, a spokesman for the American College of Phlebology (the study of vein disease), "veins also become less elastic with age and this allows more blood to remain in them, thus pressing them close to the skin which, itself, is more transparent as you get older".

Although they are not necessarily a health concern, Dr Kanter says big veins do "tend to age one's hands".

Madonna's hands reflect not only her age, but also that she's a keen exerciser.

"Strenuous exercise, particularly strength training, increases blood flow which makes the veins bigger," explains Dr John Buckley of the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences and a physiologist at Keele University.

"Getting hot when you exercise also makes the blood vessels dilate. A lot of people notice the veins on their hands stand out after a gym session, but the older you get, the more prominent they become."

As blood flow returns to normal during recovery, so the veins reduce in size. But not always to the point where they disappear completely, says Dr Buckley, although he adds that exercise is vital for good circulation.

"The appearance of veins may be unsightly, but it is not unhealthy," he says.

A study published in this month's Plastic And Reconstruction Surgery, the official journal of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), confirmed that hands are a giveaway sign of someone's real age.

When subjects were asked to examine photographs of female hands and to estimate how old they were, most did so accurately.
Participants were also asked to compare digitally altered photographs of female hands - with blemishes and veins removed or jewellery and nail polish added - with unaltered photographs and to assess which looked younger.

Overall, the characteristic that most commonly gave away age was prominent veins.

Looking younger after a facelift or eyelid surgery can clash with aged hands,' says Dr Roxanne Guy, president of ASPS.

"After the face, hands are the second most visible tell-tale sign of one's age."

Madonna may be keen to hear the solutions suggested by Dr Guy. "A good skincare regimen that focuses on the hands can be highly effective in maintaining skin thickness and fullness," she says.

Non-surgical procedures, such as laser treatments and chemical peels, can reduce age spots. Fat injections can be used to plump up the hands, while laser ablation can reduce the prominence of veins.

Hand vein sclerotherapy is also an option. A virtually painless treatment, it involves injecting hand veins in a similar way to varicose veins in the legs.

A small cotton compression bandage is worn for two hours after treatment, and recovery is swift.


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Love your legs as spring fashion goes micro-mini By REBECCA WARD Daily Mail, 2 April 2007-04-09


Prepare to unveil your pins this summer
Problem: VARICOSE VEINS leave your legs marbled with green and purple welts.
PAY A PRO: Caused by impaired and irregular blood flow, varicose veins need specialised help.



At The Vein Centre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Dr David J. West offers tailored treatments including ultrasound imaging to identify the underlying problem and pinhole procedures to help treat veins and prevent any recurrence.

Unlike traditional methods where the vein is physically stripped out and removed, Dr West destroys the vein in situ using either laser treatment or the injection of chemicals - both resulting in a quicker recovery compared to surgery. Visit www.veincentre.com. Prices start from £1,600.

DIY: V-NAL Xtra supplements, £10.05 for 40 capsules, made from red vine leaf extract, butcher's broom and horse chestnut, help reduce, repair and tone varicose veins from the inside out. Taking between one and three tablets daily will help strengthen the vein wall and improve their appearance. Call 0870 366 5729 for details and mail order.

Every year we hear that hemlines are on the up, but this spring the look is shorter and sexier than ever, with the season's hottest styles sporting the highest of hemlines.

The micro-mini is everywhere with designers including Alberta Ferretti, Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen and Chanel sending models sashaying down the catwalk in hotpants, thigh-skimming dresses and pelmet skirts.

And while you might not be brave enough to stride out Sienna-style in a pair of Edie Sedgwick-inspired hotpants, if you want to be anything like on trend, you're facing the prospect of baring a staggering 50 per cent of your body - the half that's been quite happily sheltering behind leggings and opaque tights for the past six months.

For a nation of pear shapes, renowned for problematic posteriors and thick thighs, that's not a pleasant prospect.

The problem with getting a pair of perfect pins is that you have to fight a war on several fronts simultaneously.

From banishing chunky cankles (that part of the leg that is neither calf nor ankle) to smoothing cellulite and getting rid of unsightly thread veins, the list is almost endless.

But panic not, there's still enough time to take action and, fortunately, a combination of new salon treatments and products for home use means shaping up from hip to toe has never been so simple.

Here we give you the lowdown on the common problems - and the best in-salon and at-home solutions.

Problem: CELLULITE on the back or even front of your thighs.

PAY A PRO: Treat dimpled, orange peel skin with a course of Cryotherapy wraps, from £50 (01455 891 785). The ultimate quick slim aid, the treatment uses extreme cold, smothering the skin in Cryogel, a cool body massage gel that reduces the surface temperature of the skin.

As the treated area warms, the body is encouraged to use stored fat as a fuel supply, burning calories and spot-slimming difficult areas. Applied beneath bandages, pre-soaked in a caffeine-rich cocktail, the treatment also has a diuretic effect that eases water-retention, kick- starting detoxification and the elimination of cellulite-causing trapped toxins.

DIY: Yes, you've heard it before but nothing beats good old-fashioned body brushing for dramatically - and quickly - improving the appearance of cellulite.

Invest in an Elemis Body Brush, £14.50 (firm enough to do the trick without leaving your legs red-raw) and always brush towards your heart. For extra benefits, combine your daily brush with a cold shower, the drop in temperature will also help boost your circulation to help flush out the toxins that cause cellulite.

Problem: SAGGY KNEES need to be slimmed down.

PAY A PRO: For slimming specific spots, such as knees or saddlebags on thighs, try SmartLipo from £2,000. Dr Mike Comins is the man to see, call 020 7584 1642 or log on to www.hansplace.com. Unlike traditional liposuction methods, this process involves inserting a small fibre-optic laser into the skin.

Absorbed by the fatty tissue, the laser 'pops' unwanted fat cells which, once broken down, are naturally excreted out of the body. The knock-on effect of the treatment is an increased production of collagen that leaves knees looking more toned after just four weeks.

DIY: Sisley Celluli Pro Slimming Complex, £85 (020 7491 2722), may market itself as a cellulite treatment, but try applying it to fatty joints to help slim and reshape knees. Active ingredients of rice and bitter orange get to work on the treated area increasing lipolysis (the burning of stored fat) and resulting in a smoother, slimmer shape.

Problem: WATER RETENTION makes for puffy, shapeless legs.

PAY A PRO: Susie Lung is the fairy godmother of figure fixers. A course of Body Dynamics Treatments, from £75 per session (0795 777 1503) uses intensive, and at times, painful, deeptissue massage and lymph drainage to break down fatty deposits and disperse water retention.

This allows her to re-contour your figure with her fingertips. Each 90-minute session uses a combination of essential oils and massage to reduce puffiness. She is particularly effective at making limbs look leaner and longer. For best results, book a six-session course.

DIY: Packed with water-reducing essential oils, including broom and bitter orange, Clarins Anti-Eau Body Treatment Oil, £30, quickly helps de-puff and drain problem areas, creating a slimmer, more defined result. Try rubbing the oil directly on to skin after bathing and for an extra boost add a few drops to your bath water.

Problem: SADDLEBAGS need to be streamlined.

PAY A PRO: The French swear by mesotherapy, a minimally-invasive method of treating fatty areas using a series of tiny injections that introduce a cocktail of natural slimming ingredients just below the skin.

This side of the Channel, Dr Georges Roman is championing mesotherapy and getting great results. Using a speciallydeveloped delivery system, the needles only prick the skin, entering 1mm deep, making the 30-minute treatment relatively painless.

Sign up for several sessions to see longterm results, with each treatment from £140. Call the Devonshire Clinic on 020 7323 2123.

DIY: While topical treatments and therapies all play a part in the slimming process, sometimes good old-fashioned exercise is your best bet.

Enter the Power Plate, from £2,599 (020 7586 7200; www.power-plateuk.com). It's used by celebrities including Madonna as well as many athletes as the intensity of each workout is far greater than normal.

The machine vibrates which causes the muscles to repeatedly contract and relax while they are exercised. The result is faster figure-firming and the quick reduction of bulging saddlebags.

Problem: THREAD VEINS are smaller than their varicose cousins but can still leave pins looking less than perfect.

PAY A PRO: Polaris technology combines bi-polar radio frequency and laser to treat veins at a shallow depth of just 2mm beneath the skin's surface.

Delivered via a special applicator that cools as it treats the area, discomfort is minimal, but results are impressive as veins are quickly heated and destroyed. Visit www.wigmoremedical.com. From £250 per session.

DIY: Coverderm Vanish Jambes, £36.95 (0845 230 1087) uses vitamin K and marine brown algae to strengthen the capillary network and visibly reduce the appearance of spider veins, helping to correct sluggish micro-circulation. The lightweight gel is quickly absorbed, leaving no sticky residue and is clinically proven to fade leg veins by 26 per cent after 12 weeks continued use.

Problem: CANKLES, a thickening of the lower leg where calves and ankles are not clearly defined

PAY A PRO: Thick shapeless ankles can be genetic, making the area more difficult to slim, but other common causes such as water retention can be effectively remedied. For a holistic approach try acupuncture, proven to be highly effective in easing swollen joints and puffy limbs, especially ankles.

By stimulating key pressure points and restoring the body's flow of energy, this is very effective at restoring good circulation. For a directory of qualified acupuncture practitioners, visit www.medical-acupuncture.co.uk.

DIY: Organic beauty brand Ikove offers symptomatic relief from swollen ankles with its rosemary-rich Cream For Tired Legs, £16 (www.ikove.co.uk). It eases leg swelling and aching pain, helping ankles return to their former svelte glory.

LONG-DISTANCE LEGS
For a total hip-to-ankle leg transformation, kick-start your good intentions by booking a residential stay with experts.

The Capri Palace Leg School
This Italian school offers intensive therapy to get legs looking and feeling great. Expect thalassotherapy, workouts in water, deep tissue massage and essential oils to help firm, smooth and de-cellulite. Prices from £240 per person for a sevennight stay, visit www.capripalace.com.

Wild Fitness, Kenya
Courses range from nine days to five weeks, combining hardcore fitness training with plenty of muscle-easing massage. Sessions, including sand-running, guarantee you'll return with legs-todiefor. From £2,205 per person for the nineday trip. Visit www.wildfitness.com.

Exclusive Escapes
This combines the beauty of a Mediterranean holiday with the body-refining skills of Marja Putkisto. Choose from various Greek and Turkish destinations with most courses involving two, two-hour sessions of body conditioning. Prices from £1,300 for seven nights. For details, visit www.exclusiveescapes.co.uk.


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KERRYANNE CLANCY meets a woman who says her life changed for the better after new treatment cured a painful disorder I'm walking tall now my varicose veins have gone. The Sentinel Sunday - 13th Feb 2005


For years 57-year-old SYLVIA PENLINGTON from Gedney Grove, Westbury Park, Newcastle, had suffered the discomfort and nuisance of varicose veins because she was scared of surgery, but a pioneering new method of laser treatment being offered by a North Staffordshire specialist changed all that - for good.



I've had bad veins since I was 14. They say it's hereditary and both my parents had them quite badly too. They started on my left leg just below my knee on the inside, but at that stage it was just one vein so I wasn't bothered. I would wear mini skirts and later long skirts and trousers came into fashion anyway.

It wasn't until I had my son Darren at 21 that it got worse, due to the pregnancy. I developed another vein near the groin on my left leg and when I was pregnant I found they were quite painful and made me really uncomfortable. After I had Darren they didn't bother me so much, until I had my daughter Corrina.

That caused another one to develop on my left leg so they were beginning to look like a clump and they began hurting again. Afterwards I found they were always bad during warm weather and on holiday they would really stand out and swell up. But I didn't want to do anything about them because I didn't want to go into hospital. I was scared of surgery. I just tried to help myself by giving up smoking as I was worried it was clogging up my arteries and making them worse.

It came to a head when we went out to Spain last September and decided to buy a property there. We were walking around for five days solid. While we were there I decided to wear some shorts and I saw my daughter look at my leg and I felt self conscious about them. It was then I thought that if I'm going to move out there I have to deal with them because I don't want to have to keep wearing trousers and long skirts in the hot weather.

By the time I came home the veins in my left leg were sticking out like a sore thumb. Usually once I came back from holiday they would go down, but this time they didn't and they were painful. My left leg was really bad and they began to form like a lump of grapes and on the right leg they were beginning to go round the back of my calf so it was becoming really noticeable. Then my mother began getting ill towards the end of last year and she couldn't walk much as her varicose veins were hurting so badly and I just thought this is going to be me'.

My daughter came home with a leaflet all about laser treatment for varicose veins. I thought it was a wonderful idea but would cost far too much, but when I told my husband he said I should do it as he knew how fed up I was. At the time we had some shares in Abbey National so we decided to cash those in so I was able to go ahead with it all. The consultation cost £100 and took place at the Nuffield Hospital. The consultant said the problem was that there was a blockage at the top of my left leg and half way down below the knee on my right leg. When he said I could come in for it in the next three to four weeks I couldn't believe it and I almost cried.

I had them done on November 30. They talked to me about the risks of things like blood clots, but I was willing to try anything not to have those veins and not go through surgery. I went in for the procedure at 11.20am and by 1.20pm I was walking home.

I didn't find it painful - it was more uncomfortable because they inject your leg and they work on one at a time. A small plastic tube is put down the vein which the lasers passed through and you can be awake for the whole thing and I think I talked the whole time to keep my mind off it. After the procedure they put tight bandages on my legs from the foot right up to the top so I could hardly bend my knee and I couldn't drive or wash and those had to stay on for a week.

When I went back a week later and they took the bandages off I was pleased. My legs were bruised, but the veins had gone, except one little bit so I had to have two injections of a kind of foam to get rid of that. After that I had to wear special support stockings for another week, but I was able to drive my car.

Now I can't wait to move to Spain. I only wish this had been available 10 years ago so I could have taken my mother to have hers done so she wouldn't have suffered.

Hi-tech alternative to surgery promises quick fix

A REVOLUTIONARY new treatment for varicose veins is now available at North Staffordshire's Nuffield Hospital offering an alternative to surgery. While surgery has traditionally been the only treatment on offer, patients have taken weeks to recover. But with EVLT (endovenous laser treatment) they can return to work the next day.

Varicose veins in the legs affect about one in five adults, and while they aren't life threatening, the legs may ache, feel heavy and be uncomfortable. In severe cases the skin over the vein becomes dry, itchy, and thin and an ulcer may develop at this site.

More commonly the veins become more obvious in warm weather as they swell and when someone stands up making the person, particularly women, extremely self-conscious. They happen because the valves in the veins are not working properly to keep the circulation of blood flowing in the veins.

Blood returning to the heart flows upwards from the legs. It is moving against gravity so the veins in the legs have to work hard to pump a heavy amount of blood.

The flow is helped by a series of one-way valves in the veins that only allow the blood to move upwards (against gravity). This reduces the pressure of blood below by supporting it at different stages on its way up. If the vein valves are leaky, the weight of the blood going from the heart to the lower legs presses on the walls of the veins. The blood cannot drain properly and so flows back down again causing the veins to bulge and stretch. Varicose veins tend to run in families, and there is a genetic tendency towards leaky valves. Being overweight increases the risk of varicose veins, as does tight clothing and standing up for long periods of time, for example as part of your job.

Treatment has previously largely consisted of an operation called ligation and stripping, where your surgeon makes a small cut in your groin at the top of the main affected vein. This vein is tied off (ligation) and then carefully removed through the cut (stripping). Dr David West, consultant interventional radiologist at the Nuffield and University Hospital of North Staffordshire said NHS surgery for varicose veins in North Staffordshire was currently limited only to patients with serious problems. However, EVLT treatment is being offered on the NHS in other areas such as Leeds and Belfast, as the method has been approved by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence. He says: "At the moment at the Nuffield we are treating about one person a week with EVLT. EVLT is relatively new, and was developed in the US in 2000. Since then it has become really popular, but in this country there are still only a handful of centres actually performing it.

"There are advantages to EVLT - the most obvious being that a patient can get back to work and normal activities very quickly as there's very little pain afterwards and the success rate is high for destroying a faulty vein, at around 98 per cent. There's also a low rate of recurrence of the problem, whereas after surgery it's often quite high.

"Most people chose to have it done because they are concerned about the symptoms they are getting and the appearance of the veins, and some are concerned about the long term effects. They chose EVLT because they don't want surgery and would rather avoid a general anaesthetic.

"It isn't suitable for everyone at the moment as it is used on problems with the great saphenous vein which accounts for two thirds of patients with varicose veins. For the other third who have problems with other veins we can't offer it to them, but I think that will change in the future."

The procedure involves the leg being injected with a local anaesthetic before a nick is made in the skin over the problem vein. A wire is fed into the vein and the position is checked with an ultrasound scan. A plastic tube is then inserted and the laser fibre is fed into it. Anaesthetic is injected around the vein helping to drain the blood from it and create a barrier between the vein and the structures around it to avoid damage. The laser is then fired up and drawn slowly out. Afterwards the leg is bandaged and the patient is advised to take a short walk to get the blood flowing normally before they can go home and get back to normal activities. The whole thing takes about one hour per leg.

The treatment causes the vein to shrivel up and as it does the patient often complains of a tightness on the inside of the thigh over the following week.

In some patients there may be some veins left which require further work. This can be done either by taking them out through tiny nicks in the leg, or injecting them with a foam mixed chemical which pushes the blood out and destroys the lining of the vein.

Currently Dr West is the only consultant in the North Staffordshire area carrying out EVLT, but it is hoped the treatment will become available on the NHS in Staffordshire in the future.

Condition affects one in five.

Varicose veins are swollen veins (usually on the legs) that look lumpy and bluish through the skin. They occur when the valves in the veins become weak, allowing blood to collect in the leg veins instead of travelling back to the heart.
They are rare in people under the age of 20 but become more common as people get older. Around one in five people will develop varicose veins and women are more often affected than men.
The condition can run in families and is more likely to develop in pregnancy.
Standing for long periods and being overweight increases the risk of varicose veins developing so these should be avoided.
Wearing elastic support stockings and taking regular walks help too and creams containing extract of horse chestnut are believed to help lessen the appearance and size of the varicose veins.
Other options for treating varicose veins include: sclerotherapy - a chemical solution is injected into small veins microwave treatment - a fine tube is inserted into the veins and microwave heat is used to shrink them EVLT (endovenous laser treatment) - a fine tube is inserted into the veins and laser light is used to shrink them.
The procedure costs £1,400.

For more information log on to Dr West's website at www.veincentre.com


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Varicose veins are more than a beauty issue. The Scotsman - Mon. 2nd oct. 2006


LUMPY, bumpy veins on the legs are often regarded as just another unsightly sign of getting older. For women, it can signal the end of wearing shorter skirts or dresses that show off their legs.



But varicose veins are more than just a cosmetic condition - they can be uncomfortable and painful, and patients are often referred for surgery to have them removed. Yet patients can do little, if anything, to prevent the problem in the first place, as varicose veins are caused by the forces of gravity gradually taking their toll on the body.

"Varicose veins are very common, particularly as we get older," says Dr Kieran McBride, medical director of the Scottish Vein Centre, based at GP-Plus in Edinburgh. "Blood in the legs normally flows up the legs back to the heart, but it is under low pressure so gravity tends to push it back down the leg. This is normally prevented by valves in the veins.

"Most varicose veins are caused by a faulty valve in the groin or behind the knee. This allows blood to be forced out into the veins under the skin from the main veins inside the leg muscles. This leads to the valves in the superficial veins becoming faulty, and the increased pressure in these veins causes them to enlarge."

While women are more at risk of varicose veins earlier in life, particularly if they have children, McBride says it is also a major problem for men. "By the time you are 50, as many men have them as women," he says.

"Yet men don't do much about them, and they learn to live with the symptoms, like aching, itching and burning. It can become quite severe and can cause significant problems. In a minority of people, they can ulcerate and become a chronic ordeal for the patient."

However, the standard surgical treatment can actually put people off seeking help in the first place, adds McBride, as many people are nervous of having a general anaesthetic.

"Generally, very few people seek treatment," he says. "The perception is that it requires surgery under general anaesthetic, and that has been the traditional method."

While this "surgical stripping" of the affected vein usually works, McBride says a significant minority will suffer complications, and almost a third will have a recurrence of the problem. "The way surgery has dealt with it was to tie off the top of the main vein and then strip out the distended vein from the thigh," he says. "That is still an effective treatment, and is the proven treatment. The problem is that is has a 15 per cent complication rate, and a four to six-week recovery time."

McBride, a consultant interventional radiologist with NHS Fife, is now running the first Scottish clinic to offer new non surgical treatment - using a thin laser fibre to burn away the affected vein.

During Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) treatment, a small needle is inserted into the varicose vein at knee level or at the upper calf, and a flexible fine wire is passed up the vein to the junction at the groin or the knee crease. A fine tube is then passed over the wire into the vein and the laser filament threaded up the tube. Once the fibre is in position, the laser is turned on and the vein will shrink, closing up from the inside.

The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic, leaving a five millimetre nick on the skin and, apart from wearing a compression stocking and avoiding sport for a couple of weeks, the patient can return to normal activities almost immediately.

McBride says EVLA treatment is only carried out after an extensive initial consultation, including an ultrasound scan of the levels of blood flow in the affected leg. Currently, the SVC is the only clinic in Scotland offering EVLA and foam sclerotherapy treatments - sometimes recommended for patients who have had EVLA to help shrink bulging "branch" veins, or to treat patients who have thread or spider veins. Foam sclerotherapy involves injecting a chemical solution into the vein which then causes it to shrink or close up.

EVLA treatment was approved by the National Institute of Clinical Evidence (NICE) in 2004, and provisional approval was given for foam sclerotherapy in June this year. McBride concedes there are some sceptics within the medical profession who doubt whether the new therapies are better than traditional surgical treatment.

"There is a certain reluctance in the surgical community and a few in radiology," he says. "When the evidence is gathered, we want to sway those who are disbelievers. There is enough evidence out there to convince me that it's got real promise, and that it could replace surgery, probably in the majority of cases."

While EVLA treatment is currently only available for private patients, at a cost of around £2,000, McBride says he is keen NHS patients should have that choice available to them.

He is currently in the process of discussing a feasibility study with NHS Fife to test his theory.
After the capital costs of equipment are paid, McBride says that the treatments could actually prove more cost-effective to the NHS than traditional surgery, which requires a theatre team and longer post-operative recovery in hospital.


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Conditions: Varicose veins The Times, November 4, 2003


VARICOSE VEINS are lumpy blue raised veins under the surface of the skin on the legs. These fill with blood when the patient is standing up but become flat on lying down. They may cause aching, discomfort and heaviness and, sometimes, ankle swelling.



The condition is caused by faulty valves: veins have to work against gravity to return blood to the heart and have one-way valves to prevent the blood flowing backwards. These valves can become weakened and blood pushes into the veins near the surface of the skin; these veins then swell up and become unsightly. The larger ones form varicose veins; smaller ones, known as spider veins, form a starburst or spider's web pattern and can also show up on the face. Risk factors include getting older (especially after 40), heredity, pregnancy and standing for long periods. The raised pressure in varicose veins can cause skin damage, eczema, darkening of the skin and, ultimately, ulcers. However, they seldom cause serious medical problems and are not, contrary to popular belief, connected with deep vein thrombosis.

Diagnosis: Varicose veins are examined while the patient is standing and the veins are filled with blood. A handheld Doppler ultrasound device can detect faulty valves by monitoring moving and stationary blood. Further investigations can be done with duplex ultrasound scanning - similar to one used during pregnancy. The more accurate the assessment, the smaller the incisions needed during surgery.

Treatment: This is only necessary if problems like ulcers or bleeding arise, or if the discomfort is interfering with everyday life. Removal for cosmetic reasons is rarely available on the NHS. Support stockings can relieve aching, but many people dislike them.
The standard outpatient treatment for smaller varicose veins and spider veins is sclerotherapy (scarring therapy), which involves injecting a solution into the veins that causes these to close up and turn into scar tissue. It may have to be done a couple of times, but most patients can expect a 50 to 90 per cent improvement.

The larger varicose veins on the leg can be removed with surgery under a general anaesthetic. The main saphenous vein that runs from the groin to the ankle is removed by passing a wire through it and stripping it out. This vein is also removed for heart bypass surgery because deeper veins can take over its job. Smaller varicose veins are pulled out through tiny 2-5mm incisions above them (phlebectomies). After veins are removed, a compression bandage or stocking is worn for two to three weeks.

Surgery can leave permanent scars, and a common complication is damage to nerve tissue around the treated vein, leading to numbness in small areas.

Incidence: About 40 per cent of women are affected by varicose veins compared with around 15 per cent of men. About 60,000 varicose vein operations are carried out by the NHS each year, as well as an untold number done privately for cosmetic reasons.

New research/developments: Newer techniques for removing varicose veins are usually only available privately. In one procedure, Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVT), a laser fibre is inserted via a quarter-inch incision into the saphenous vein. Guided by duplex ultrasound imaging, the surgeon then threads the laser fibre along the vein to heat and seal it. EVT can be done under local anaesthetic and patients recover after a few days. The likelihood of varicose veins reappearing after surgery is between 10 and 25 per cent; with ELV it is 7 per cent after three years.

A similar approach, known as VNUS Closure procedure, closes up the vein by heating it with a radio frequency probe.

These methods deal only with the saphenous vein; smaller phlebectomies may still be needed. �Recent studies show that these new treatment options are comparable to the more invasive surgical technique without the scars and prolonged recovery times,� says Professor Arielle Kava of the New York School of Medicine.

A 1,000-patient study commissioned by the Department of Health is looking at the cost-effectiveness of the new treatments to see if they should be available on the NHS. But the results are not due for several years.

Complementary therapies: Herbalists recommend horse chestnut for its astringent and anti-inflammatory properties to help tone vein walls. The herb can be taken orally or applied in a lotion, cream or gel (German studies found aescin, a component of horse chestnut, effective in relieving mild cases).

Hydrotherapy � alternate hot and cold baths or showers to improve circulation � was found to help those involved in a Swiss study, while yoga practitioners recommend inverted poses such as the Plough � a half shoulder stand � to drain blood from the legs and ease pressure on the veins.

A high-fibre diet helps to prevent constipation which aggravates varicose veins. Foods such as blueberries and citrus fruits that are rich in rutin, a bioflavonoid, are thought by some to strengthen vein walls. Some nutritionists recommend supplements of vitamin B complex, vitamin C and bioflavonoids, and vitamin E (300-800IU) to aid circulation and maintain strong blood vessels.


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There's no need to suffer in vein By Claire Dight The Times, October 20, 2004


FIFTY per cent of women over 40 have problems with varicose or thread veins and if you are a secretary or PA, your job might be making the problem worse, according to Philip Bull, a consultant surgeon.



"The cause of varicose veins is not known," he explains, "but the hereditary factor is thought to be the main one. If your parents had them, you are 60 per cent likely to suffer. Immobility, lack of exercise and obesity exacerbates the condition which is much more common among women than men."

This is bad news if your job requires you to stand or sit behind a desk for long periods every day. Varicose veins are abnormal, dilated blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vessel wall that allows blood to flow the wrong way. The symptoms range from a feeling of heaviness and a dull ache to unsightly lumps, swelling, itchiness and skin discolouration. Thread veins, which appear like a spider's web of red lines, especially around the knees, can be covered up by foundation or thick tights. Varicose veins often require surgical intervention.

The conventional operative procedure, vein stripping, requires a general or spinal anaesthetic. An incision of 3-4cm is made in the groin or behind the knee to find the guilty vein. Through ultrasound, the route is tracked and incisions made along the leg. The vein is then tied at the points where its branches meet the main vein, so it effectively dies. Each section is then removed through the incisions. Patients typically need two weeks off work and a full recovery can take some months. Scarring can be a problem.

Now, however, there is a lessinvasive procedure, more suited to a busy lifestyle. EndoVenous Laser Ttreatment (EVLT) was developed in America and approved for use in the NHS by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence this year.

EVLT involves inserting a laser head into a small incision via a guide wire above or below the knee at the closest point to the vein. The guide wire is removed leaving the laser head in place. The head is then slowly withdrawn, flashing once a second to kill the vein through thermal injury. The procedure is carried out under local anaesthetic and takes about 20 minutes per leg.

Philip Bull believes that the new procedure is better for patients. �After EVLT the vein becomes hard to the touch and the patient may experience some redness and tenderness for some weeks, but it is not painful. The patient can walk around, travel and resume normal activities after only a two-hour stay in hospital to ensure the local anaesthetic has been absorbed.� He advises patients to wear compression stockings for four to six weeks after surgery.

The procedure won�t suit everybody. About 10 per cent will not benefit if they have had prior surgery for the same problem vein or suffer from thrombosis.

One person who successfully underwent the therapy, however, was Helen Cliffin, 34. She had the treatment when she became increasingly aware that her varicose veins were affecting her confidence and, because she was finding them painful, her day-to-day activity.

Helen�s family has a history of varicose veins but she didn�t worry about it until she became pregnant at 29 and her veins worsened significantly. She ignored them as she was so busy. When she was pregnant again at 32, her legs felt constantly tired and heavy. After the birth of her second child, she became embarrassed about her legs and stopped wearing skirts. She was advised to take regular walks and keep her legs elevated but found this did not help. She sought surgery and was relieved to find it unnecessary.

Her EVLT treatment involved two 40-minute sessions. �There was no pain, and it was easy and quick,� she says. Helen had her treatment at the Private Patients Services clinic in London. A consultation costs £150 and the therapy from �£1,200.


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Simple surgery can restore male fertility | Varicose veins in testicles to blame | Operation can revive sperm count by Mark Henderson The Times, November 29, 2006


One of the commonest causes of male infertility can be treated successfully with a simple and minimally invasive surgical procedure that improves significantly the chances of fathering a child.



The new technique can correct knots of varicose veins in the scrotum, known as varicoceles, that can adversely affect a man's sperm count and quality, research in Germany has shown.

Within six months of 173 previously infertile men with at least one varicocele receiving the therapy, a quarter of their partners had become pregnant, scientists at the University of Bonn found.

The treatment also significantly improved average sperm counts and enhanced sperm motility; a measure of its swimming ability which is critical to fertility.

“We found that spermatic vein embolisation combined with anti-inflammatory treatment improves sperm motility and sperm count in infertile men with varicoceles”, said Sebastian Flacke, who led the study. “Six months after treatment, 26 per cent of couples had achieved a pregnancy.”

Varicoceles are common, affecting up to 20 per cent of adult men. The networks of faulty veins usually develop between the ages of 15 and 25. They are often harmless and lead to no serious symptoms, but can at times cause pain and damage the testis.

As with varicose veins in the legs, varicoceles occur when the one-way valves inside veins that draw blood away from the testicles and back towards the heart fail. This means that blood does not circulate properly out of the testicles, causing swelling and the formation of a clump of tangled blood vessels that can be felt through the scrotum.

The reverse blood flow can both raise pressure on the testis, potentially causing tissue damage and shrinkage, and raise the temperature with adverse effects on sperm quality. About 40 per cent of infertile men have varicoceles, many more than in the general population, though the link to infertility is not universally accepted by specialists.

Traditional treatment has normally involved open surgery to remove the faulty veins, but the new embolisation process now offers a much less invasive alternative.

A small cut is made in the groin area, and a catheter is fed into the affected vein, using x-ray guidance to find the right place. A special fluid and tiny platinum coils are then injected, which cause the blood to clot and close off the faulty vein. Blood then cannot flow back down it towards the testicles, and instead returns towards the heart using healthy veins. The procedure is performed under local anaesthetic, it is not normally painful, and patients can usually leave hospital and even return to work the next day.

In the study, which was presented yesterday at the Radiological Society of North America conference in Chicago, Dr Flacke’s team treated 223 infertile men aged between 18 and 50 for varicoceles, using embolisation. A semen analysis was performed on 173 of them. All the men had healthy, apparently fertile female partners with whom they were trying to conceive. Of the 228 varicoceles treated in this way (some patients had more than one), 226 were cured.

Six months after treatment, 45 of the men’s partners were pregnant. “This study confirms that varicocele repair can significantly improve sperm count and motility” Dr Flacke said.


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