Professor Varcoe commenced medical training at the University of Adelaide in 1991. Throughout the next six years he balanced his medical studies with professional athletics, dominating sprinting in South Australia in the mid 90’s, setting state records and representing at the highest level in Australia. During the course of his medical degree he relocated to Sydney to further his athletics career with the hope of representing Australia in the 2000 Olympics.
He completed medical school in 1997 and began working as an intern and resident medical officer at Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. In 2000 he took a year’s leave of absence to train in athletics, however despite excellent sprinting performances injury intervened before the games and lead to retirement from the sport. This was a turning point for Professor Varcoe, allowing him to channel the discipline and thirst for perfection he’d discovered in elite sport into the discipline of surgery.
2001 through 2003 saw Professor Varcoe train in General Surgery both in Victoria and New South Wales before completing a Master of Surgery research degree at the University of Sydney and writing his thesis on the “Origins of Neointimal Hyperplasia”.
Specialist training in Vascular and Endovascular (minimally invasive) Surgery ensued in 2005 (The Queen Elizabeth Hospital, SA) where he was fortunate enough to spend regular time with Dr John Anderson, a pioneer and world leader in endovascular surgery. 2006 was spent at Prince of Wales Hospital under the tutelage of transplant pioneer Dr John Frawley and in 2007 he spent time at Westmead Hospital working under renowned vascular surgeon and academic, Professor John Fletcher. During 2007 he completed the Fellowship of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in Vascular Surgery.
In 2008, Professor Varcoe spent time in London at St Georges Vascular Institute and St Mary’s Hospitals honing advanced skills in minimally invasive treatment of the aorta for conditions such as aneurysm, dissection and trauma. Whilst there he accepted the invitation to visit several centers of excellence throughout Europe that were also engaged in advanced innovation in the treatment of Aortic disease so completing a focused aortic postgraduate fellowship.
Upon returning to Australia Professor Varcoe took a position as a Vascular Surgeon at Prince of Wales Hospital, where he is now supervisor of surgical training, as well as commencing a busy private practice. In 2009 and 2010 he has the co-chairman of the International Endovascular Symposium with the late Professor Geoff White and in 2009 he was invited to be chairman and convener of the annual scientific meeting for the Australia and New Zealand Society of Vascular Surgery, “Vascular 2009”. In 2013 he established Australasia’s leading scientific congress of endovascular surgery “The VERVE Symposium”. He is course director of this annual forum which hosts a world renowned faculty of international and regional vascular specialists in a multi-day educational event (see www.VERVEsymposium.com).
He is founder and director of the New South Wales Vascular Journal Club Meeting which has been held four times per year since 2006 and has hosted a number of world leaders in the field of vascular and endovascular surgery. In 2011 he was elected as a member of the International Council of the International Society of Endovascular Specialists and is a member of many learned vascular societies including the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, ANZ Society of Vascular Surgery, International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis, International Society for Vascular Surgery, Section of Academic Surgeons and the John Loewenthal Surgical Research Society.
Throughout this time Professor Varcoe has nurtured a strong interest in surgical academic research and teaching which is now focused squarely with the University of New South Wales. He gained his first academic position at UNSW in 2001 and has achieved steady academic promotion since then to be Associate Professor of Vascular Surgery. He completed his PhD thesis “The Investigation of Novel Technology and Technique in the Treatment of Vascular Disease” at UNSW in 2015. He has published widely in respected peer reviewed journals and is an invited reviewer for the Journal of Endovascular Therapy, International Angiology, ANZ Journal of Surgery, Journal of Cardiothoracic Surgery, International Journal of Surgery, World Journal of Surgery, Journal of Clinical Ultrasound and Vascular and Endovascular Surgery. He is also on the editorial board of both the Journal of Endovascular Therapy and Journal of Cardiovascular Surgery, and regularly asked to speak at the world’s leading symposia both in Australia and overseas (see media for publications and more than 80 invited lectures).
He is the director of the Vascular Institute, Prince of Wales, one of Australia’s most prestigious vascular clinical trials centres. Through the institute he has been the lead investigator on several multi-centre clinical trials including the DESTINY 2, ABSORB BTK and MAJESTIC trials, which have focussed on saving limbs through the use of new stent devices. He is currently coordinating the first Australian clinical study into the only reabsorbable stent used to treat arterial blockages in the calf, giving Prince of Wales Hospital patients a unique opportunity to access this technology.
He teaches at undergraduate as well as post-graduate level, sits on UNSW medical student selection interviews, is an undergraduate examiner and currently supervises a number of higher degree research students.
When he’s not at work Professor Varcoe enjoys taking his two young boys fishing around Sydney’s Eastern suburbs beaches. He rarely catches fish but enjoys the process nonetheless.