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Vascular surgery

Say goodbye to unsightly varicose veins

Vascular veins can make life miserable. As well as causing itchy, painful, achy legs, they can make you incredibly self-conscious about letting anybody else even see your legs. Many patients feel unable to wear knee length garments for example.

Veins and arteries carry blood around the body. Blood flows freely through them in one direction (with arteries carrying blood away from the heart, veins towards it), but non-return valves prevent blood flowing back along them the wrong way.

If these valves stop working properly, pressure can build up. This can cause the vessels nearest the surface of the skin to enlarge and twist, showing up on the skin as ugly, unsightly blue or dark purple lines. These are known as varicose veins.

Sometimes smaller veins in the leg are affected, creating a thin, spider-like appearance on the legs. These are referred to as spider veins (or thread veins).

Unfortunately, varicose veins and spider veins will not go away naturally. Once you have them, they are with you to stay (and may get even bigger and more noticeable)…unless you have varicose vein surgery. For most patients this is no longer available on the NHS.

If you are unhappy with your varicose veins, either because of the way they look or the way they feel, you do not have to suffer in silence. Good, effective treatments are available to help improve the appearance of your legs.

The two Consultant Vascular Surgeons at The Sloane Hospital run the biggest practice for varicose vein surgery in the entire country (as recorded by the Private Health Information Network). They have carried out many thousands of varicose vein surgeries between them and are known both nationally and internationally for their work.

If you’re going to have private varicose vein surgery, doesn’t it make sense to get it done by the very best?

While anybody can develop varicose veins, they are more common in people aged between 20 – 50 and those who spend a lot of time standing still (like hairdressers). They also occur more frequently in women.

Varicose veins are not life-threatening, but they will usually become larger and more noticeable over time if they’re left untreated. Many people will be unhappy about the way their legs look as a result and will often wear clothes specifically to cover them up.

There are three reasons people decide to have private varicose vein surgery:

  • To LOOK better
  • To FEEL better
  • To PREVENT anything worse developing in the future (such as venous ulceration)

Between 50 - 60% of people with varicose veins will have symptoms from them. Common symptoms include:

  • Aching and swelling in the legs or ankles
  • Itching legs
  • Pain in legs when walking

The NHS does not routinely treat varicose veins as they are seen as more of a lifestyle problem than a medical one. It is only when they cause more serious problems, like leg ulcers, that help is (eventually) available.

Many years ago, the only surgical option for treating varicose veins was “open” surgery. This involved a general anaesthetic and a cut in the groin area.

Fortunately, there have been significant advances since then!

Modern minimally invasive vascular surgery provides far faster, simpler treatment options with much quicker recovery times and lower rates of recurrence. The majority of varicose veins patients can be treated under Local anaesthetic, without the need to be put to sleep with a general anaesthetic. In some ways having varicose vein surgery these days is a bit like going to the dentist.

Varicose veins can be treated in a number of ways, including foam sclerotherapy, Clarivein and radiofrequency ablation / VNUS closure.

While we have extensive experience of each of these, and can provide them where appropriate, our preferred method of treating varicose veins is with Endovenous Laser Ablation Therapy (EVLT).

EVLT involves placing a laser fibre in the vein, guided by ultrasound to ensure it is in the correct position, then using amplified light energy to destroy the inside of the vein wall and seal it up to stop it leaking. Once it is sealed up, the pressure drops and the vein can shrink back down to normal size, improving the appearance of the legs. Any residual veins left over can be cleared up with injection sclerotherapy.

EVLT is done with local anaesthetic and you will be able to drive again within 5 days and return to work after 7-10 days. For more information see

Our vascular consultants are highly experienced in treating varicose veins and were the first surgeons in London and the South East of England to use this operation. With over 17 years’ experience in using EVLT, they have helped thousands of people wave goodbye to their ugly varicose veins and the annoying symptoms they caused. They would be delighted to help you too.

When you first meet with your consultant, they will talk with you about your varicose veins and any symptoms you have.

They will carry out a physical examination of your leg, investigating all possible causes of the physical symptoms you have.

Ultrasound is an invaluable diagnostic tool for many vascular conditions and can help determine the best treatment option for you. During your consultation, a duplex ultrasound will be carried out confirm to show both the speed of blood flow and the structure of the leg veins. This is used to confirm where the veins are originating, so that the ideal treatment can be planned.

(Our Consultant Vascular Surgeons carry out their own ultrasound scans on most patients, helping to streamline the process and avoiding delays and repeated appointments)

This is often all that is needed to confirm a diagnosis and to plan treatment. If this is the case, the next time you see your consultant will be for your varicose vein surgery. We will arrange your surgery at the earliest opportunity.

Leg pain can sometimes be caused by a non-vascular problem, such as a trapped nerve in the spine or arthritic damage to a joint. For this reason, your consultant works closely with other specialists, including spinal and orthopaedic surgeons. If they suspect there is another reason for your leg pain, they will refer you to the most appropriate specialist for help.

Whatever the cause of your symptoms turns out to be, whether vascular or non-vascular, you will always be seen by a consultant. You will never have to worry about being seen by a more junior doctor.

Many of our patients are fairly local to Beckenham, Kent, although people also visit us from other parts of Kent as well as the surrounding counties.

If you are considering private varicose vein surgery in Kent, we believe that The Sloane Hospital is the only sensible choice. Here’s why:

  • Fast access to a leading expert – If you are fed up, embarrassed or frustrated by unsightly or itchy varicose veins, our vascular consultants can provide you with the help you need sooner. As leading experts in the field of varicose vein surgery, you will receive superlative care, experience-guided treatment and follow-up aftercare.
  • Convenient appointments – It is very easy to arrange an appointment with one of the top vascular surgeons in the UK, at a time that is convenient to you. Having worked together for more than 20 years, our two vascular surgeons work incredibly well together and will provide you with a seamless service from start to finish.

We look forward to welcoming you to The Sloane Hospital and giving you “varicose vein-free” legs once more.

Arterial surgery is an area of medicine involved with investigating and treating problems in the arteries (apart from those in the heart and the head, which are managed by cardiologists and neurosurgeons).

Many problems can occur with the arteries. The commonest problems are pain in the calves on walking – sometimes called intermittent claudication or peripheral vascular disease.

At The Sloane Hospital, we are very happy to see you for an outpatient consultation for arterial conditions and can give you advice and guidance and refer you to the appropriate treatment centre.

In terms of the vascular treatments we provide at the hospital, our focus is mainly on varicose vein surgery.

Specialists offering Vascular surgery

Mr Aaron Sweeney

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

MB, Bch, BaO, FRCS (Gen.Surg.)

The Blackheath Hospital 3 more Chelsfield Park Hospital The Sloane Hospital Shirley Oaks Hospital

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Mr Eddie Chaloner

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

BA, FRCS (Edin), FRCS (Gen)

The Blackheath Hospital 2 more Chelsfield Park Hospital The Sloane Hospital

View profile Book online