At first sight, this might not seem remarkable.
However, why this is special is that the patient was treated with the non-invasive HIFU method in an outpatient room.
HIFU, or High-Intensity Focused Ultrasound, is also known as Echotherapy. For varicose veins, the Sonovein machine is used for Echotherapy.
This patient got onto the couch at 16:08 this afternoon. The incompetent small saphenous vein was completely ablated using HIFU over the next 35 minutes. The patient got off the couch at 16:43.
There was no need for any plasters or stitches. She didn’t need any painkillers. She didn’t even need a support stocking.
If endovenous laser (EVLA) or radiofrequency (RFA) had been used, the device has to be passed up inside the vein and so there needs to be a very sterile area. Thus there needs to be a lot of preparation for keeping the device sterile, and cleaning the leg and surroundings to prevent infection being introduced into the vein and therefore bloodstream.
Injections of tumescent local anaesthetic would be needed around the vein. Of course once treatment with endovenous laser or radiofrequency began, this part of the treatment is very fast. However, the patient would then need the closure of the wounds and many people would put compression bandages around the leg particularly as the tumescent anaesthesia often oozes out of the wounds.
This total process is certainly no less than the 35 minutes beginning to end that our HIFU patient needed. In fact, in most cases, it would take longer.
This case shows what is becoming possible with HIFU. However, as it is such a new technique, we are still developing and improving how we treat patients.
What it does show is that many of those patients who are suitable for HIFU are getting excellent treatment quickly and painlessly, and returning to normal life immediately.
As our research and development continue, the number of patients who will be able to benefit from treatment with HIFU will continue to increase.
HIFU is EXCLUSIVELY available in the UK at The Whiteley Clinic. Contact us for more information.