Varicose veins are often a symptom of venous insufficiency, a condition that can cause more serious health issues. They can be dangerous and unattractive. So treating these bulging, prominent veins is more than just a cosmetic decision: it’s imperative to your overall health.
Once you’ve decided to treat varicose veins, the question remains: what method will serve you best?
Procedures to get rid of varicose veins have come a long way, and, today, there are many different options available. At one time, patients with vein disease had very few treatment options. Some underwent a procedure commonly known as “vein stripping,” which was an inpatient surgery that required general anesthesia, hospital admission, and a long, painful recovery period during which patients had to take off time from work or school. Thankfully, those days are behind us! In our office we offer a range of minimally invasive treatments. One option we recently saw discussed in the press was medical glue, so we wanted to discuss the effectiveness of this treatment.
Medical Glue and Varicose Veins
As we mentioned before, varicose veins are a symptom of a blood flow problem. When your valves fail, that allows blood to flow backwards, instead of going against gravity and returning to your heart. As the blood sticks around your lower extremities, those veins in your legs get stretched, bulging and becoming visible through your skin.
That’s where a medical glue product called VenaSeal is introduced. Using a small catheter, the glue is inserted into your vein to stop your blood from flowing backwards into your legs. A local anesthetic is often used alongside the glue to prevent any pain. The glue basically stops up the faulty vein so it can’t continue to cause problems.
While VenaSeal can be effective, there are some factors that may impact its usefulness: the glue has to be inserted into just the right spot, or backflow may continue. Additionally, it has not yet been cleared for use in pregnant women, and long term safety studies are still in the works.
Sclerotherapy and Ablation for Varicose Veins
Looking for an alternative to VenaSeal? One good option is ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy. We use an ultrasound to access your varicose vein under your skin, using a very small needle. We mix a medication with carbon dioxide gas to create a foam that we inject directly into the abnormal vein, closing it permanently. This treatment is usually selected for veins that aren’t yet bulging.
For bulging varicose veins, radiofrequency vein ablation may be a better option. RFA is a minimally invasive procedure as well. To perform this treatment, we insert a catheter into your abnormal vein, supplying it with heat energy to close the vein permanently. RFA can be performed with just a local anesthetic. It is a virtually painless procedure that leaves virtually no scar. The procedure takes less than an hour to perform and patients can resume normal activities immediately afterwards.
Before proceeding with radiofrequency ablation, or any other varicose vein treatment, your Houston vein specialists will perform a thorough medical examination, including a diagnostic ultrasound evaluation, to determine whether the procedure is appropriate for you. To find out the best treatment option for your medical reality, schedule your consult today!
Sources: Expert Review of Medical Devices, abc27.com