Let’s Glue those Varicose Veins Closed
- Posted on: Apr 15 2021
Treatments for varicose veins have dramatically improved over the past 15 years. Formerly, varicose veins usually had to be removed surgically with vein stripping. This could require up to four weeks of recovery.
Today, stripping is rarely necessary, as Dr. Heeringa can usually use minimally invasive options for closing off varicose veins. One of those is called VenaSeal™, and it’s a method of basically gluing the varicose vein closed. It’s a great treatment approach that’s only been around for a little over five years, but our patients love its simplicity and easy recovery.
What is VenaSeal™?
VenaSeal™ is a vein “superglue.” VenaSeal™ is similar to the superglue you may have in a drawer in your kitchen, but it has been modified to not set as rigidly as the commercial glue. When injected into a varicose vein, VenaSeal™ acts to glue the vein closed. This eliminates the varicose vein, which is then absorbed by the body over the course of a few weeks.
How is a VenaSeal™ procedure done?
Dr. Heeringa begins your VenaSeal™ procedure using ultrasound to map out the targeted vein. Next a small amount of local anesthetic is injected into the area where the catheter will be inserted, usually just below the knee. Using ultrasound guidance, Dr. Heeringa then inserts a needle into the vein. A wire is passed up the needle and the needle is removed. The catheter is then passed up the vein along the wire. Using ultrasound, the catheter is placed just short of the top of the surface vein where it joins the deep vein.
Now it’s time to insert the glue. Dr. Heeringa injects a set amount of the VenaSeal™ glue and then pulls back the catheter 3 cm. He applies pressure to the surface skin above the varicose veins, and he waits for a period of three minutes to allow the glue to set and shut the vein. He then injects the next set amount of glue, pulls back the catheter, and waits 30 seconds. This process is continued for the whole length of the targeted vein. Then the catheter is removed, and the procedure is complete.
What is VenaSeal™ glue made of?
VenaSeal™ uses a medical grade “superglue.” When injected into the vein it collapses the wall and seals it off. Cyanoacrylate is the clinical name of the glue that has been thoroughly tested and has shown to have no negative effects on the human body. In fact, cyanoacrylates have been in use in medicine since the 1950s. You may have heard them called “skin glue,” as they are sometimes used in lieu of sutures.
What happens after my VenaSeal™ treatment?
You’ll be encouraged to walk immediately after your treatment. You can resume normal activity or return to work right away, but you’ll need to avoid strenuous exercise for 48 hours. You should avoid long-haul plane flights or long periods of standing for three weeks or so. After two weeks, you’ll return and Dr. Heeringa checks the treated vein with ultrasound.
That’s a far cry from the four-week recovery after vein stripping!
If you have varicose veins that you’d aesthetically like to get rid of, or if you’ve been noticing aching and pain in your lower legs and feet, please call Dr. Heeringa at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists, (231) 946-1488, to schedule an appointment.