Meet Professor Bruce Campbell MS, FRCP, FRCS 

Consultant Vascular Surgeon

Professor Campbell brings with him forty years of experience treating patients with varicose veins. He has written many papers, a book and led major research regarding varicose veins. Professor Campbell’s extensive knowledge and experience are key when working with patients to discuss which treatments are most effective and to address any concerns or fears they may have. Varicose veins are very common with approximately one in three of the British population developing them over their lifetime. Fortunately for most people they do not cause any problems; however in some people they cause symptoms like heaviness, aching and itching, and there is a risk of them leading to skin damage and ulcers.

Professor Campbell said:

“My first aim is to find out exactly how people are bothered by their veins, addressing any fears and worries. Then we can discuss treatments, if necessary, looking at what options are available”.

“Treatments have changed significantly over the past twenty years with the introduction of catheter techniques under local anaesthetic, including ‘endothermal’ (e.g. laswer and cyanoacrylate glue ablation together with the removal of veins through tiny incisions and also foam sclerotherapy (a modern injection treatment). With so many options available it is important patients make the right choice.”

Treating Varicose Veins

Treatments offered include:

Varicose Vein Cyanoacrylate Glue treatment

Cyanoacrylate glue – a special type of “superglue” – is used to seal off the main incompetent veins with leaky valves, which need to be dealt with when treating varicose veins. It does the same job as closing veins by endothermal ablation (laser or radiofrequency treatment) or by “stripping” in a surgical operation. Glue and endothermal treatments replace the “stripping” part of a varicose vein operation and can be done under local anaesthetic. A special catheter is passed up the vein to the groin, through a small incision at the knee. An ultrasound scanner is used throughout the procedure for precise guidance. Once the vein has been sealed shut, using glue or intense heat (“endothermal”), blood will naturally be redirected to healthy veins. Obvious varicose veins are then removed through tiny incisions (phlebectomies). There may be a little bruising and soreness for a day or two.

Foam sclerotherapy injections – typically carried out with guidance by ultrasound scanning.

Sclerotherapy involves injecting problematic veins with a chemical to seal them off. It has been used for years to treat localised varicose veins. In recent years, foam sclerotherapy (injecting a special foam) has meant that extensive varicose veins can be treated. It is done with the help of ultrasound scanning, performed at Exeter Medical by the Consultant Vascular Surgeon, working with a Consultant Clinical Scientist All the veins in one leg can be treated in a single session, but sometimes further injections are needed to get rid of every varicose vein. The treatment usually takes less than half an hour and patients can drive themselves home after having a short walk. A compression bandage and stocking are advised for just three days after treatment.

Surgery – the removal and ligations tying off of veins through small incisions.

Traditional surgery for varicose veins involved “stripping” (removing) the main vein causing the problem, together with removal of obvious varicose veins through tiny incisions. Surgery is performed under general anaesthesia and bruising is to be expected during recovery. Surgery remains an option for some people with varicose veins, and a variety of procedures can now be done under local anaesthetic, with little discomfort and very rapid recovery,

Professor Campbell also treats smaller thread veins using micro-sclerotherapy which can improve their appearance significantly. Exeter Medical also offers laser treatment for blushes of veins which are too small to inject: this is the best treatment for thread veins on the face and elsewhere, but microsclerotherapy is generally the treatment of choice for thread veins, and other small veins, on the legs.

Professor Campbell added

“Overall the results of treating varicose veins are very good. Anyone considering treatment is welcome to contact Exeter Medical to arrange a consultation about their veins.” 


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