How to receive the best possible treatment for hernias and varicose veins

Mr David Birchley at Exeter Vascular Services, Devon

Mr David Birchley offers a full range of treatments and expert medical advice for conditions relating to hernias, vascular veins and thread veins. - Credit: Exeter Vein and Hernia

For those seeking medical advice for hernias and varicose veins, private healthcare may offer the support and guidance you need.  

Varicose veins occur when one-way valves within the vein fail, creating a flow of blood that travels away from the heart. Hernias are abnormal bulges in the abdominal wall or groin that may appear intermittently, or be constantly present.  

Mr David Birchley, private consultant and vascular surgeon at Exeter Vein and Hernia, talks us through some of the common misconceptions people have about vascular conditions and what treatments are available to help.  

Q: What are some of the most common misconceptions about varicose veins and hernias?

Man with hernia at Exeter Vascular Services in Exeter

A tell-tale sign of a hernia is a constant or reoccurring lump on the abdomen, which can be difficult to treat on the NHS if not classified as high-risk. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A: The most common misconception about these health conditions is that they cannot be treated. There is very strict guidance on what can and cannot be provided for patients suffering from hernias and varicose vein disease through the NHS. In my NHS work I have to adhere to these guidelines.  

In my private practice however, I am very often able to offer treatments to patients who may have been told they are ineligible or cannot be treated for these conditions.  

Q: Can you offer treatment for both cosmetic and health improvement purposes?  

A: Yes, I offer a range of treatments for all presentations of hernias, thread veins and varicose veins.  

To gain NHS treatment for hernia pain and other symptoms, you must have what is considered a high-risk hernia, in which there is a significant chance of it becoming trapped. Privately I can offer treatment for any hernias because I am not limited to the same restrictions as the NHS.  

The same applies for varicose veins and thread veins. I'm able to offer treatment to patients to help with the symptoms and appearance of varicose veins, and thread veins. You're not always eligible for these procedures on the NHS.  

Varicose veins at Exeter Vascular Services at Exeter, Devon

Varicose veins cause blood flow to be directed away from the heart, but it can still be difficult to receive treatment on the NHS even if they cause symptoms. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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Q: What procedures are available for your patients?  

A: I meet with the patient, confirm the diagnosis, then explain the risks of living with the hernia. We then decide the best course of action, which ranges from leaving the hernia alone, trialling support or proceeding to surgery.  

For hernias, I offer open surgery or keyhole repair. The keyhole procedure is done using cameras and telescopes.  

Varicose veins follow the same principles. I examine the patient's medical history and legs, then perform a detailed scan of their veins. This allows me to talk them through the treatment options, the risks and benefits. The options are divided between surgery (involving removal of the veins) and endovenous treatment. This involves treating the veins without having to remove them.

Thread veins at Exeter Vascular Services in Devon

Exeter Vascular Service offers all patients a considered expert opinion and a full range of treatments if necessary, even for cosmetic or relatively minor conditions. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Q: When seeking treatment from Exeter Vein and Hernia, what are the major benefits that patients can expect?  

A: You will always see me when you come to Exeter Vein and Hernia. Continuity of care is invaluable when discussing options relating to treatment and following treatment. You will have access to a full range of treatment options rather than one type of treatment, and may be guided to my NHS service if I feel that your condition is appropriate.  

I have received expert training, acquired substantial NHS experience and have had a consultancy practice for ten years. Using my wealth of knowledge and expertise, I'm able to deliver the best possible outcomes for my patients.  

If you are searching for treatments in the Exeter area, visit or call 01392 262174 to find out more.