Treatments for varicose veins have come a long way since the days of vein stripping, which required an overnight hospital stay, general anesthesia and a long, often painful recovery period.
Over the years new technology has given us laser therapy, which works via laser fiber inserted into the vein that produces enough heat to cauterize the vein. It has given us radiofrequency, which is similar to laser therapy with less heat. And it has given us sclerotherapy, which uses a medication injected into affected veins to seal them off.
And now the FDA has approved a brand new procedure, VenaSeal™ by Medtronic.
Medtronic’s VenaSeal Closure System is similar to other modern procedures in key ways. It is minimally invasive and can be done as an outpatient procedure that will have you up and about your regular activities immediately. That means no lengthy doctor’s visits and no down time to recover.
There’s also little to no discomfort associated with the procedure, which is good news if you’re anxious about visiting your doctor.
But what makes the procedure unique is that it requires no local anesthesia and rather than using heat or medication to seal off veins, it uses a safe medical adhesive. The adhesive is delivered via a catheter that is placed along the affected vein.
It is, according to Medtronic, the only non-tumescent, non-thermal, non-sclerosant procedure. That means it is done without anesthetic, heat or medication.
It also does not require the use of compression stockings afterwards, which can be a big plus for comfort. And while there are risks, as with any medical procedure, the risks associated with the VenaSeal procedure are seen in less than 1% of cases.
Various clinical trials have put the success rate between 92-99%.
While this is an excellent treatment option from the perspective of comfort, minimal risks and optimal success rates, it is currently not covered by insurance. If you choose to participate in this procedure you’ll be responsible for the costs out of pocket.
The VenaSeal procedure can be used in place of ablation, laser therapy and radiofrequency but cannot be substituted for sclerotherapy.
Since no heat is involved, it completely avoids the nerve damage that may occur when radiofrequency or laser therapy is used on veins below the knee. Although this nerve damage is typically superficial and transient, it can cause tingling and numbness that is uncomfortable.
The nature of the procedure makes it virtually of pain or discomfort. Some patients have reported feeling a mild tugging sensation as the adhesive is applied.
After the procedure your symptoms should begin to improve immediately and you’ll experience little to no bruising. The adhesive will be safely and naturally absorbed into your body over time.
As with other modern treatments, your doctor will begin with an ultrasound and advise you afterwards of any follow-up.
The VenaSeal is an exciting new development in varicose vein treatments. Visit the Medtronic site for more information.