April 20, 2016
Do you remember the 1980s ads featuring the construction worker whose helmet was Krazy Glued to a steel beam? Or, maybe you've seen the more recent ad where a man goes bungee jumping using a harness secured with Krazy Glue? Either way, the product is aptly named -- those ideas seem crazy! Catchy marketing aside, super glues such as Krazy Glue in general have proven useful in countless household applications. We're betting that there's probably a bottle or tube of it in your house somewhere. But, we're also betting that using super glue to fix varicose veins is probably something you've never considered. You may have just made a face at that idea, and rightfully so! The super glues we know are industrial, stiff, stinky, and don't wash off your hands for days. How can it be used in the human body? Luckily, glue used for the latest varicose vein treatment has some differences. It is safe for use inside the body, non-toxic, soft, and pliable. The new treatment, called VenaSeal, uses a medical adhesive to close bad veins. The glue is injected into the inside of the vein through IV access in the leg, sealing the walls together, and stopping blood from flowing there. VenaSeal is approved by the FDA; the truth is, adhesives have been used in medicine for decades, and varicose vein treatment is just one of the latest applications. Decades ago, varicose veins were treated by stripping -- pulling out the vein during surgery, usually under anesthesia and requiring a hospital stay. Laser and radio-frequency vein closure have revolutionized vein treatment in the 21st century by heat-sealing the vein through IV access, avoiding all the disadvantages of surgery. Patients are able to remain awake for this quick outpatient procedure, but the treatment area must be numbed for patient comfort during the heat-sealing of the vein and for protection of other structures from the heat. While heat closure is now the gold standard for patients with varicose veins, VenaSeal improves on vein treatment a step further. The idea is essentially the same -- close the vein while it remains in the body. However, as glue is used to close the vein instead of heat, patients can avoid the multiple needle sticks used to numb the course of the vein. This means significantly fewer needle pokes and an even less invasive treatment than ever before. VenaSeal offers other benefits in addition to less needle sticks. The adhesive sets almost instantly, virtually eliminating the healing period associated with heat ablations. VenaSeal patients can return to all activities right away. There are no exercising restrictions, making it a great option for very active patients. Patients can have multiple veins treated at the same time. Patients are not required to wear uncomfortable compression stockings before or after the procedure, which is one of the biggest complaints about heat ablation treatments. After a consultation and ultrasound, a patient could have both legs treated that same week in one appointment, go to the gym to exercise an hour later, and return to work the next day. The Vein Institute is now offering VenaSeal as an option for our patients. Our physicians can help assess if you are a good candidate for VenaSeal. Currently, VenaSeal is not covered by insurance, so deciding on the right treatment option is a big decision. However, the expert Vein Institute staff will carefully go over all the pros and cons so that you can make an informed, empowered, and confident decision on how best to treat your varicose veins. VenaSeal was recently featured on The Dr. Oz Show.