Varicose veins: They can be unsightly and painful or unobtrusive and undetected. Either way, they may be dangerous, increasing the risk of potentially deadly blood clots. In the past, varicose veins were treated with an injectable scarring foam (a process known as sclerotherapy), destroyed by heat energy (ablation) or removed.
Now, there is a new option. At Weight Loss and Surgery, we use a cutting-edge treatment known as VenaSeal. It doesn’t cause scarring, it doesn’t produce heat and it doesn’t require anesthesia.
Instead, a small amount of sealant is injected into the vein. Over time, the vein becomes closed off and blood is rerouted to healthier veins. The process takes minutes, and patients can leave our office and get right back to their daily activities.
VenaSeal uses a medical adhesive known as cyanoacrylate. You can think of it like a medical super glue or Krazy Glue®. Cyanoacrylate is a powerful adhesive that binds in the presence of water. Since blood is made mostly of water, VenaSeal works almost as soon as it is delivered to the vein.
The VenaSeal delivery system inserts a thin tube into the saphenous veins up to where they meet other veins. The VenaSeal is delivered, and the cyanoacrylate immediately binds the vein closed. Blood is forced to bypass the closed vein and is rerouted to other, healthy veins.
Why would you have super glue injected into your veins? Cyanoacrylate has a long history as a medical tool. First sold in 1958, it has been used as a first aid method to close wounds since the 1970s. The latest formulation—the active ingredient in VenaSeal—is the gentlest yet on human tissue.
We’re here to tell you that VenaSeal is perfectly safe. Earlier in 2019, the first set of five-year data was released. The report found no safety issues, and VenaSeal retained its effectiveness in nearly 95 percent of cases. In fact, all patients reported being somewhat or very satisfied, and more than 90 percent said they would choose the procedure again.
VenaSeal is exclusively used to treat varicose veins in the leg. It closes off veins with damaged valves, forcing blood to find another route up from the legs and back to the heart and lungs.
Candidates for VenaSeal are individuals with varicose veins who have tried more conservative measures without achieving the results they are looking for. Some of these treatments include:
VenaSeal is an option for those looking for an alternative to other invasive treatments, such as:
The VenaSeal procedure is one of the easiest on patients. It does not require anesthesia, only needs one needle stick, works quickly and is nearly painless.
First, the skin is numbed with lidocaine. A catheter is inserted through the skin and into the damaged vein (also called an incompetent vein). Guided by ultrasound, doctors then insert a thin guidewire into the vein in question, then a catheter.
The VenaSeal adhesive is delivered into the vein as the catheter is slowly withdrawn. Every three centimeters, the doctor stops and applies external pressure to the area over the vein.
Cyanoacrylate begins the adhesion process almost immediately, and compressing the vein serves to make the vein walls stick together, closing it off. This process is repeated for the length of the vein.
Announced but not-yet-peer-reviewed results of a five-year study suggest that VenaSeal is as effective as radiofrequency ablation in closing the greater saphenous vein.
In addition, like ablation and sclerotherapy, it is an outpatient procedure. Patients do not need general anesthesia and so can avoid the discomfort associated with its tumescent effects.
Veins closed with VenaSeal remain closed. The adhesive works almost immediately, and over time the process of fibrosis closes off the veins entirely. VenaSeal also stays in place, eliminating concerns about adhesive-based blood clots breaking off from the vein and causing blockages in other parts of the body.
If you have varicose veins and are looking for an easy, permanent solution, request an appointment at NJ and NY Weight Loss and Surgery to see if VenaSeal is right for you.