On your internet search journey, looking for varicose vein treatment clinics in the UK (like Centre for Surgery in Watford, for example), you have probably come across one of two terms (or possibly both):
- NICE Recommended
- NICE Gold Standard
These phrases sound positive and reassuring but what is NICE and what are the NICE guidelines for the treatment of varicose veins?
Let’s start by explaining what NICE is.
What is NICE?
To start with, NICE is an acronym and it stands for the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. The institute is a national organisation within the United Kingdom. NICE has a board made up of medical experts and they provide evidence-based guidance. The aim of this is to improve health and social care across the country.
The institute publishes advice, pathways, guidance, and quality standards for a range of diseases and conditions – this includes varicose veins.
The NICE guidelines for the treatment of varicose veins
The clinical guidelines for varicose veins, as written by NICE (publication reference CG168) were originally first published in 2013. This was based on previously published evidence. This means the NICE guidance does not cover more recent, cutting-edge treatments for varicose veins that Centre for Surgery offer – such as VenaSeal.
The main priorities to manage the symptoms of varicose veins are:
- Referral to a vascular service
- Assessment using duplex ultrasound equipment
- Non-interventional treatments such as Endovenous laser treatment
Referral to a specialist vascular service
The published guidelines from NICE state very specific criteria when it comes to patients having their varicose veins treated.
The referral guidelines from NICE, that Centre for Surgery follow are:
- Patients that have varicose veins, and show symptoms that pain, swelling, discomfort, itching and heavy or recurring conditions
- Skin alterations like pigmentation variations or eczema and are thought to be caused by varicose veins
- Superficial vein thrombosis, superficial thrombophlebitis or phlebitis (the development of hard and painful veins
- A venous leg ulcer.
- A healed venous leg ulcer.
- The treatment of varicose veins
The NICE guideline definition of a vascular service as: “a team of healthcare professionals who have training and experience in diagnosing and treating varicose veins.”
At Centre for Surgery, we are proud to have an expert team of consultant surgeons and specialist nurses, all of which are among the best that the United Kingdom has to offer. This team is fully supported by widely experienced clinical managers and patient coordinators. These all help provide our patients with the best care possible.
Duplex Ultrasound scan assessment and treatment
Any future patient suffering from suspected varicose veins, anywhere, is advised to be assessed with the help of a Duplex Ultrasound scan. This enables a Centre for Surgery vascular surgeon to diagnose varicose veins and their severity. The scan also helps the venous surgery to find any valves that may have been damaged and could be causing the varicose veins. Once varicose veins have been diagnosed, the consultant will then discuss various treatment options that are available and provide their recommendation.
Varicose vein treatments at Centre for Surgery
The guidelines, as published by NICE, say that minimally invasive treatments should always be offered as a first choice. Invasive procedures, such as surgical vein stripping, can be very painful and are not recommended as they often carry a number of risks including bleeding and infection which may make the recovery period much longer.
EVLA (Endovenous Laser Ablation) is known as the gold standard treatment for varicose veins and it is recommended by NICE. This varicose vein treatment uses heat or thermal energy on the inside of the vein, causing it to close.
As a second-best option, if the patient’s condition is not suitable for the EVLA option, the guidelines recommend foam sclerotherapy treatment. This varicose vein treatment means injecting a sclerosant-based solution into the affected vein. The foam coats the vein walls, pushing out the blood. After this, the vein walls stick together, causing the veins to collapse and eventually become absorbed by the body.
Phlebectomy is the minimally invasive micro-surgery for varicose vein treatment that is offered by Centre for Surgery in Watford. This method is suited for large varicose veins that are close to the skin surface. This treatment involves small incisions, under local anaesthetic, into which a hook-like device is inserted to pull out the affected vein.
In most cases, one or a combination of the treatments outlined above is going to be suitable for all varicose vein sufferers. The treatments will provide a lot of pain relief and a significant reduction in the symptoms associated with varicose veins.
Compression stockings for varicose veins
Another point that is put across in the varicose vein guidelines published by NICE, is the use of compression stockings when treating varicose veins. The guidelines very clearly state that compression stockings should not be used to treat varicose veins, unless either…
- The patient is unsuitable for other forms of treatment
- Or the patient has declined treatment
At Centre for Surgery, we do not prescribe compression stockings as a form of treatment for varicose veins. We do however recommend using them to ease symptoms, and to aid the recovery process after varicose vein treatment.
If you would like to know more about the NICE guidelines, concerning varicose vein treatments, you can find the guidelines here.
Varicose vein treatments at Centre for Surgery
At Centre for Surgery, we have been offering our patients the most advanced, minimally invasive varicose vein treatments in the UK. Working with some of the most talented vein specialists in their respective fields, we are proud of the work that we do. It would seem that our patients feel the same way. Take a look at the various review sites, badges of which are on our website, and see what our patients are saying about us.
The first step in having varicose veins treated is booking a consultation with a specialist. This is very easy and takes a few seconds. It can be done via our simple form or by telephone on 0207 993 4849. When your consultation is booked in, finding us is really easy. Our street address is Centre for Surgery, 106 Crawford Street clinic, London.
We look forward to meeting you.