VenaSeal ‘Vein Glue’ Approved By FDA To Treat Varicose Veins
Earlier this week, The U.S. food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the VenaSeal closure system to permanently treat varicose veins by sealing the affected superficial veins using an adhesive agent.
According to the manufacturer’s website:
‘The VenaSeal Sapheon Closure System is a unique, minimally invasive treatment that uses a safe-for-the-body medical glue to quickly and effectively treat varicose veins (venous reflux disease). Using ultrasound, a doctor will guide a tiny catheter through a small access site in the skin and into the diseased area of the vein. Next, the VenaSeal dispenser delivers a very small amount of medical glue to close the vein. Once the affected vein is closed, blood is immediately re-routed through other healthy veins in the leg.
Unlike other treatments, VenaSeal does not require anaesthesia to be injected into the leg via multiple needle sticks (tumescent anesthesia), and because there are no pre-procedures drugs involved, patients can return to their normal activities right after the treatment. Unlike heat-based procedures, with VenaSeal there is no risk of skin burns or nerve damage. VenaSeal usually does not require any post-treatment pain medication or uncomfortable compression stockings.’
Vein Stripping is a thing of the past! Watch La Jolla Vein Care’s Dr. Bunke on San Diego Living explain alternative non-surgical vein treatments to the outdated vein stripping surgery! The episode was aired yesterday, February 10th, on CW’s Channel 6. As Dr. Bunke explains, a common misperception about varicose vein treatment is that vein stripping surgery is still used as the main method used to treat varicose veins. The truth is, vein stripping surgery is nearly obsolete, with endovenous ablation being considered as the standard of care for treatment of the great saphenous and small saphenous veins. There are other treatment methods such as ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy for the branching, bulging veins at the surface of the skin.
This news segment provides animations about how these vein treatments work.
For the endovenous ablation, specifically radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins, also known as the Venefit procedure (previously called VNUS Closure) is described. Dr. Bunke explains that a thin, flexible tubing called a catheter is placed inside the diseased vein. Radiofrequency energy is delivered to h
eat the vein and seal it shut. The body will gradually dissolve the treated vein. The blood is directed through other healthy veins.
A foam sclerotherapy animation is also shown. Foam sclerotherapy involves injecting a foamed medicine into the vein that will cause it to collapse, shrink and eventually dissolve.
These varicose vein procedures are minimally invasive and can be performed in the office without general anesthesia and almost immediate return to normal activities.
La Jolla Vein Care’s Dr. Nisha Bunke was a guest on this morning’s episode of San Diego Living on CW’s channel 6. Dr. Bunke spoke about the dangers of varicose veins.
Recognize the signs and symptoms of venous disease:
heavy, tired and aching legs
swollen legs and or ankles
cramping in the legs
dull or sharp pain in the calf
varicose veins and spider veins
red or warm veins
itching around the veins
skin changes around the ankles such as pigmentation, brownish discoloration, eczema, new red and blue veins, breakdown of the skin
Varicose and spider veins may be treated with lifestyle changes or medical procedures.
The goals of treatment are to relieve symptoms, prevent complications and for some to improve appearance. Lifestyle changes can ease the symptoms but do not cause the veins to vanish. These include:
- Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time: To keep blood moving when you have to sit or stand for long periods, try these tips: at work, take walking breaks and try walking during your lunch hour. While sitting, try flexing your feet up and down 10 times an hour. When standing, raise yourself up and down on your toes or rock back and forth on your heels.
- Exercise: Exercising is good for your veins because it improves blood flow. Walking, cycling, or swimming are great exercises for vein health. But be sure to check with your doctor before starting any exercise program.
- Weight loss or maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight puts extra pressure on your veins.
- Leg elevation: Use leg elevation three or four times a day for about 15 minutes at a time. Even elevating your legs on a step stool or ottoman is beneficial. If you need to sit or stand for a long period of time, flexing (bending) your legs occasionally can help keep blood circulating. If you have mild to moderate varicose veins, elevating your legs can help reduce leg swelling and relieve other symptoms.
- Compression stockings: These elastic stockings squeeze or compress the veins and prevent blood from flowing backward. Compression stockings must be graduated, medical grade compression to be beneficial. Over the counter support hose or TED hose are not adequate to reduce symptoms in venous disease for active patients.
- Supplements such as horse chestnut and grape seed extract can help reduce symptoms of venous disease
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen
- ice packs can be applied to veins that are tender to reduce inflammation
Choosing Between Anti-Embolism & Compression Stockings
Anti-embolism stockings, also known as TED hose, are designed specifically for non-mobile patients or those confined to a bed. These are the white stockings used for hospital patients. They are low cost temporary solutions commonly used for patients in nursing homes and post-surgery to prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
However, for ambulatory (walking patients who are not bed bound), TED hose do not offer sufficient support to counter the effects of gravity. They are not graduated compression and only offer about 8-18mmhg compression. TED hose do not help the symptoms of venous disease and varicose veins. TED hose cannot be used for vein treatment and should not be used for daily support in walking patients.
In comparison, graduated compression stockings are medically therapeutic and designed for people who are mobile. Graduated compression means that they are tightest around the ankle and gradually ease as they go up. These can help reduce the risk of DVT in patients who travel by plane or car, and reduce symptoms such as leg swelling (edema), aching, heaviness, fatigue, pain from varicose veins and useful for pregnant women to reduce pain from varicose veins.
Removing varicose and spider veins has never been easier. Click here to view a 3D animation that explains how sclerotherapy can make your veins disappear—without surgery.
Does Flexible Spending (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA) Cover Compression Socks?
Compression socks and compression stockings are considered medical garments that are typically covered expenses Flexible Spending (FSA) and Health Savings Accounts (HSA). Some FSA and HSA programs expire at the end of the year. Consider stocking up on daily compression socks and stockings or even give them as gifts. FSA and HSA cards are accepted at Compressrx.com
How Chocolate, Wine and Cranberries Are Good For Veins
Foods that are rich in flavinoids may improve symptoms of venous disease. Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. They can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavinoids have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.Flavinoids are also well known for their ‘venoactive’ effects on the blood vessels and have been proven to reduce symptoms of venous disease such as leg aching, heaviness and swelling.
Foods that are flavinoid rich include cocoa and chocolate, cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea and red wine.
Remind the cook to use compression socks- long hours of standing in the kitchen can cause leg fatigue, heaviness and swelling.