What do the treatment of varicose veins and golf have in common??
“It’s a funny thing. The more I practice the luckier I get”
The famous words of Arnold Palmer. This premise is true for most things in surgery and none more so than venous disease. Varicose veins are a common disorder and as such traditionally had been dealt with by General Surgeons in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is only in more recent times that Vascular Surgeons have taken ownership of this condition. We are entering a new era in treatment; a decade ago there was a swing from open surgery for gallstones to the now commonplace keyhole or laparoscopic operations. As surgeons who have lived through this change we now see the benefits to patient, reduced pain, earlier return to work and smaller more cosmetically acceptable cuts. Now comes the time for keyhole techniques to change the treatment of varicose veins.
Modern walk in walk out techniques have the advantage of less pain generally cosmetically better result with smaller incisions and lower recurrence rates. There is also an advantage in that most techniques can be done under local anaethetic leading to a more rapid recovery for the patient. Strong evidence now exists suggesting that endovenous venous procedures out perform open varicose vein surgery in most situations. In order however to take advantage of these techniques a Surgeon has to lean new techniques, the use of duplex imaging, catheter placement the use of tumescent anesthesia. To use another golfing analogy I practice in Northern Ireland. There is no doubt amongst Northern Irish Golfers Rory McIlroy is probably the most gifted golfer of modern times and is destined for true greatness. He recently changed clubs and with this has come a change of fortune. Now in time I’m sure Rory and his new clubs are going to achieve everything we expect and more, but for now Rory is back on his learning curve. The same situation occurs with new techniques in surgery, it takes more than just doing a new technique to be good at it. It takes practice adjustments patience and advice from those who have done more than you. Then and only then can the benefits of expertise lead to better results for patients.
As I said at the start “ It’s a funny thing. The more I practice the luckier I get!” and patients are now benefiting from the luck generated by modern venous practitioners