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Echotherapy Treatment (SONOVEIN®)


SONOVEIN® (HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) – the latest and most revolutionary Echotherapy treatment for varicose veins and venous leg ulcers.

What is SONOVEIN®?

SONOVEIN®, a high precision Echotherapy solution, is the most progressive technology in the world for treating varicose veins and venous leg ulcers. Unlike endovenous laser, radiofrequency and even foam, this treatment is 100% non-invasive. SONOVEIN® is exclusively available at The Whiteley Clinic. There is no other technique that is non-invasive and can treat the vein from outside the body.

How does SONOVEIN® work?

Sonovein® (HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) – First case in UK performed by Prof Mark Whiteley in May 2019 – Sonovein® (HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound)

Echotherapy treatment (SONOVEIN®) – First case in UK performed by Prof Mark Whiteley in May 2019

SONOVEIN®, which uses high intensity focused ultrasound (HIFU), is about to disrupt the world of venous treatments, specifically varicose veins and venous leg ulcers.

During the Echotherapy treatment, the high-intensity ultrasound beam is focused on the troublesome vein. As the thermal energy is delivered, the affected vein shrinks and is sealed closed. Each treatment cycle, a volume of tissue about the size of a grain of rice is ablated at about 900C. Due to the heat, some patients do require small amounts of local anaesthetic to be injected at the point of heating. However, the volume of anaesthetic is substantially less than the amount of tumescence pumped around truncal veins during endovenous thermoablation such as endovenous laser (EVL) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA).

An in-beam linear ultrasound probe at the front of the SONOVEIN® machine means the vein can be seen in real-time and insures optimal accuracy. The probe enables experts to follow virtually any vein path – even tortuous veins, regardless of their shape size. Veins which are notoriously difficult to access, such as perforator veins, can also be treated – even in the presence of an open ulcer – without the risk of infection.

Unlike traditional varicose vein treatments, no catheters, chemical injections or incisions are required with SONOVEIN®, meaning patients are left with no scars or risk of infection, and can return immediately to their normal daily activities.

Saphenous-sparing varicose vein surgery.

Increasingly, doctors and patients are asking about “saphenous sparing surgery”. This idea was popularised by Claude Fraceschi who invented CHIVA and encompasses ASVUL developed by Paul Pittaluga.

In normal varicose veins treatments, the whole system related to the varicose veins is destroyed. This gives very good long-term results, but it does destroy the saphenous vein. This vein is the vein that is usually used for bypass grafts for heart or leg bypasses. As such, many patients are now asking about varicose vein surgery that saves the saphenous vein in case it is needed in later life.

This is called “saphenous sparing surgery”. There is a debate amongst experts as to whether this sort of surgery has a higher chance of recurrent varicose veins in the future. However, patients who want to protect their saphenous vein accept that they might need further varicose veins treatments, provided the saphenous vein is left intact for future bypasses.

Because SONOVEIN® is so precise in its treatment, it is ideal for performing saphenous sparing surgery. Indeed, it has advantages over all other techniques of saphenous sparing surgery as it is so accurate. It can treat a specific part of the venous system to re-route the blood, sparing the saphenous vein whilst removing pressure and reflux from the varicose veins.

Who can benefit from SONOVEIN®?

Sonovein® (HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound) – Are there any drawbacks from Sonovein?

Echotherapy Treatment – Prof Mark Whiteley adjusting the Sonovein® (HIFU – High Intensity Focused Ultrasound)

SONOVEIN® is revolutionary because it is 100% non-invasive. It can treat straight or tortuous veins. It can treat veins that are too tortuous for a laser of radiofrequency ablation device to pass up. As such, recurrent varicose veins that are too difficult to treat with laser or radiofrequency can often be suitable for this Echotherapy treatment.

SONOVEIN® can also be used for incompetent perforator veins. As these are found most commonly in severe varicose veins such as recurrent varicose veins and those with brown skin stains or even venous ulcers at the ankle, these sorts of vein problems may well be treated optimally by SONOVEIN®.

Are there any drawbacks with SONOVEIN®?

With SONOVEIN® being so new (the CE mark for the SONOVEIN® was only given in April 2019) we have not yet fully identified which patients and patterns of venous conditions are optimally treated with this amazing technology and which are not suitable.

As with endovenous thermoablation in 1999, this technology will develop, and will no doubt improve rapidly as lessons are learnt with clinical experience. However, as a totally non-invasive and precise treatment option for varicose veins, venous leg ulcers and other manifestations of venous reflux disease, SONOVEIN® must be considered as the next potential disruptive technology in this field.

As it is exclusively available in the UK in The Whiteley Clinic, our consultants will be happy to advise you if your veins are suitable for this Echotherapy treatment, or whether one of our other endovenous treatments would be optimal in your specific case. This will be determined by your venous duplex ultrasound results and our clinical examination.