VenaSeal For Treating Varicose Veins

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What is VenaSeal?

A recent innovation in the treatment of varicose veins is the use of medical grade superglue, known as VenaSeal.  This is used to seal off the saphenous vein, which is the most common cause of varicose veins. This treatment is minimally invasive and boasts excellent success rates compared to other treatment options, with most patients describing only minimal discomfort.  Unlike most other varicose vein treatments, it has a unique advantage in that the majority of patients do not have to wear a compression stocking after the treatment.

How does VenaSeal work?

The VenaSeal treatment is an ultrasound guided procedure performed at the practice.  A fine tube is threaded into the abnormal vein after applying a small amount of local anaesthetic. A very small amount of medical grade glue is then inserted, and the vein walls are pressed together with gentle pressure for 30 seconds whilst the glue sets.  This process of injecting the glue and applying gentle pressure is repeated every 3cm down the full length of the vein to be treated.   The treatment seals off the abnormal vein, with blood being immediately rerouted through healthy surrounding veins in the leg.  Over time, the healing process results in scarring and reabsorption of the vein, resulting in it being permanently sealed off.

VenaSeal Procedure

What are the advantages of the VenaSeal treatment?

  1. Minimal anaesthetic.  Unlike other treatment options, VenaSeal does not require a large amount of anaesthetic to complete. The procedure is performed with only a tiny amount of local anaesthetic, with no need for any sedation or general anaesthetic. Heat based treatments, such as laser, require a much larger volume of local anaesthetic solution to safely perform, which patients often find the most uncomfortable part of these treatment types.
  2. Minimal disruption to lifestyle and work commitments. Patients have described the VenaSeal treatment as having minimal discomfort, being able to return straight to work. .
  3. Most patients do not have to use a compression stocking afterwards, unlike the other saphenous vein treatment options. Compression stockings are often the most disliked part of varicose vein treatment aftercare, which many patients finding them hot, uncomfortable, difficult to apply and remove, and aesthetically unappealing.
Venaseal glue applicator used for sealing varicose veins

How effective is the VenaSeal treatment?

Studies conducted into the success rates of the VenaSeal treatment has shown an initial success rate of 94% to 98.9% six months after treatment. This treatment has been extensively studied in the US and Europe achieving great results for patients who have undergone the procedure, showing a low risk of complications with great medium-term results. As it is a relatively new treatment, long term results are yet to be published, but the success rates are at least as good as other options based on the currently available results.

What is VenaSeal made of?

VenaSeal is a special type of medical grade adhesive known as cyanoacrylate. It is specially formulated in medical labs and has been used in many other types of medical procedures since the 1950s such as dental, orthopaedic and plastic surgery. Some of the properties of the VenaSeal glue that make it ideal for sealing veins include:

  • When the VenaSeal glue comes into contact with the blood within the vein wall, it rapidly seals the vein with minimal movement, so it does not spread into adjacent healthy blood vessels.
  • It is very soft and elastic after it sets, meaning that once it has been applied, patients are not able to detect it under the skin.
  • It has been shown to be extremely safe, and is non-toxic, anti-bacterial and has very low allergenicity.

How much does the VenaSeal cost?

As of May 2018, the VenaSeal treatment has been added to the Medicare Benefit Scheme. This means that the treatment is now more affordable than ever.  Out of pocket costs vary according to how extensive a treatment is required (specifically if one or both saphenous veins in the leg need treatment) and whether one or both legs are to be treated.

What are some of the side effects?

As with all other varicose vein treatment options, there are some possible adverse side effects of the VenaSeal treatment.  The most common issues include the treated or adjacent veins becoming inflamed and requiring anti-inflammatories and time to settle. This however is no different to the heat based treatment options, such as laser. There is also the possibility of deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, however these outcomes are extremely rare.  Again, this is a risk with all vein treatments (and also untreated varicose veins!).

Why is it important to treat varicose veins?

A lot of patients often complain of the appearance of varicose veins however it is important to note that varicose veins are not simply a cosmetic issue. They can become worse over time and lead to serious complications, so it is important to get them treated sooner rather than later.

Am I suitable for the VenaSeal treatment?

In order to determine your suitability for the VenaSeal treatment you will need a referral from your General Practitioner to arrange a consultation with Dr Magee at Sunshine Coast Vascular. Dr Rebecca Magee is an experienced vascular and endovascular surgeon on the Sunshine Coast, offering a full suite of treatment options for varicose veins. If it is decided that the VenaSeal treatment is not an appropriate option for you, then there are still a number of great other treatments available that may be suitable, and as a vascular surgeon, Dr Magee is able to offer you both “walk in, walk out” and day surgery treatment options.

Diagram showing the causes of varicose veins outlining thin walls and deformed valves.

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