Medically Reviewed by Carmen M. Piccolo, DO
At best, varicose veins are unsightly. At worst, they are signs of bad blood circulation back to the heart. Now, there’s an easy, outpatient procedure using “medical superglue” to close down the bad veins and help redirect blood to healthy veins. McLeod Vascular Specialist Carmen Piccolo explain VenaSeal:
Here are highlights of Dr. Piccolo’s explanation:
Varicose veins can be both a cosmetic and a medical problem. Chronic venous disease and varicose veins are extremely prevalent in the United States of America and in the world. They are much more common than arterial disease. In some aspects they can be only cosmetic with spider veins or unsightly veins in the legs. However, there is a much more severe form of chronic venous disease that leads to thickening of the skin, infections, ulcerations, not to mention chronic swelling and chronic pain that patients can have every day. So, although most people think of varicose veins as a “cosmetic disease,” there is a large portion of the population that has significant symptomatic venous disease.
In general, humans have two major types of blood vessels in their legs. Arteries bring the blood from the heart to the extremities and the veins bring the blood back from the extremities to the heart. The arteries have the heart helping to pump blood down to their feet.
On the other hand, the veins have to bring the blood back to the heart against gravity. The way blood gets pumped toward the heart is by contraction of your muscles, specifically, those in your calf pushing the blood back. The veins have valves throughout their length and the valve’s job is to prevent blood from refluxing or pooling back down the leg. In a large number of people with venous disease, these valves are not working properly or are broken, and when that happens the blood pools down the leg.
VenaSeal is the newest procedure in helping close down this diseased vein that is not working properly. The reason this new procedure is exciting is that it is less invasive than other procedures that have been done in the past. It is an office-based procedure, where the patient only feels one IV needle stick, for which they receive numbing medicine first. At this point, with the wire and a catheter we bring the VenaSeal up to the thigh. VenaSeal is a medical super glue, which then closes down the diseased vein.
When diseased veins are closed down either from VenaSeal or any other different modalities that we have available at McLeod Vascular Associates, the blood is then rerouted to the normal functioning veins nearby.
Because we don’t have to do multiple needle sticks, patients have less pain. They have less bruising and, as opposed to other procedures, they don’t have to wear their compression stockings afterward. This allows patients to have no major recovery time. As soon as your procedure is over, you are able to get up, go to work the next day or whatever you want to do. With other procedures usually your leg is wrapped with compression therapy, you get some bruising and some swelling and you usually have to take it easy for a couple of days and most people are off work for one to three days afterward.
Studies have confirmed that with VenaSeal the overwhelming majority of the veins remain closed at three years, that patients are easily able to undergo the procedure and that the technique is safe.