The latest, and potentially greatest addition to the arsenal used in the battle against chronic vein disease is an innovative use of medical adhesive glue. Since the 1950’s medical adhesives have been used world-wide, most commonly to safely & effectively close wounds.
In recent years, specialized delivery systems were created that allowed adhesives to be used within blood vessels to treat aneurysms in the brain and varicose veins in the abdomen and pelvis.
In 2015, the FDA approved the VenaSeal® system: a clever innovation of previous techniques that allows the use of adhesive to permanently close problematic saphenous veins. This in turn allows instant rerouting of flow more efficiently out of the legs and back to the heart, rather than pooling within and stretching out the leg veins. It’s such pooling that is the source of symptoms (heaviness, fatigue, ache, cramps, restless legs,etc.) as well as bulging varicose veins in those suffering from chronic lower extremity vein disease.
Like Clarivein®, another non-tumescent, non-thermal (NTNT) technique for closing veins, VenaSeal® offers a few advantages over endovenous laser ablation (EVLA):
- No tumescent local anesthetic is required. Giving such local anesthetic is, ironically, the source of some discomfort during EVLA.
- No risk of heat injury to the skin and soft tissue near treated veins. Lasers and radiofrequency catheters use heat to seal problematic veins.
- According to the manufacturer, based on limited data, patients may not need to use compression stockings after VenaSeal®. However, patients would still need to use stockings after sclerotherapy to treat remaining varicose/spider veins.
Though the data is somewhat limited due to the relative newness of the procedure, VenaSeal® has demonstrated a similar effectiveness at closing veins as EVLA.
Due to the recency of the introduction of VenaSeal®, insurance companies are less likely to cover such a procedure over the current standard thermal techniques such as EVLA.