ON March 14, 2019 surgeons carried out a procedure which up to this time had never been performed in St. Lucia. The procedure is called radiofrequency ablation of the saphenous vein and is used in the treatment of varicose veins.
Many people are familiar with varicose veins and the fact that venous disease can cause significant symptoms including pain, swelling and ulceration.
Treatment of this condition often includes dealing with the saphenous vein. The usual method is called stripping. This requires a cutting operation performed under general anesthetic with at least one night spent in hospital and several days to a few weeks of recuperation.
However radiofrequency ablation, a more modern technique allows the procedure to be carried out under local anesthetic and is performed as a day case. The technology uses a simple injection and the passage of a wire which can then deal with the saphenous vein.
As the process is less invasive the pain, swelling and recovery is much quicker and easier. The procedure was performed as part of a training workshop at St Jude Hospital by Dr. Dave Harnanan and Nurse Azyadeth Contreras with support from Medtronic and Bryden Pi out of Trinidad. Surgeons from St. Lucia and other islands in the OECS participated in the training workshop.
This week a lecture was held for all medical health professionals at Tapion Hospital. A television programme geared towards educating the public on the subject also aired Thursday evening on Healthwise on HTS.