Veith Symposium 18 Nov 2021 – Mark Whiteley presenting High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) for varicose veins using Sonovein S
Before the 1990s, the treatment of varicose veins was stripping them out. At the end of the 1990s and in the first two decades of the 2000s, minimally invasive endovenous surgery was introduced. The first case in the UK was performed by Prof Mark Whiteley in March 1999. Initially, radiofrequency ablation was used. However, in 2005, this was superseded in The Whiteley Clinic by endovenous laser (EVLA).
Although most doctors expected radiofrequency and laser ablation to be superseded by techniques that do not use heat, 2019 a revolutionary new procedure was invented.
High Intensity Focused Ultrasound (HIFU) is a completely non-invasive way of ablating tissue inside the body, without breaking the skin. Ultrasound can pass harmlessly through the skin and body tissues. Hence it’s use in scanning gallbladders or pregnant women.
However, it is possible to focus all of the ultrasound to one point under the skin and turn the power up enough to heat the tissue and ablated at that point. This is the principle of HIFU.
A company called Theraclion has developed the Sonovein machine. Sonovein was initially used to treat breast lumps and thyroid lumps without breaching the skin. However, in 2019 HIFU varicose veins treatment started.
In 2020, Theraclion introduced a faster system of HIFU, called Sonovein S.
Mark presented two talks at the Veith Symposium about HIFU:
In these talks, Mark presented his three-year experience of treating patients with HIFU and shared some of the tricks and tips of using the Sonovein machine. He also explained some of the limitations of the current setup. Mark discussed some of the future developments to improve these limitations.
Not everyone is suitable for treatment with Sonovein S, but as the technology develops further, more patients with varicose veins will be suitable for this new non-invasive technique.
Currently, Sonovein is only available in the UK at The Whiteley Clinic in Guildford. In Europe, more Sonovein machines are appearing. There should be trials of Sonovein starting America in 2022.