The VenaSeal closure system is a minimally invasive procedure for treating venous reflux, also known as chronic venous insufficiency. VenaSeal uses a special glue to close larger varicose veins in the lower legs.
VenaSeal avoids many of the side effects of other treatments for varicose veins. It is also done without the use of multiple injections of local anesthesia. Patients report little to no discomfort with this procedure and quickly return to their usual activities.
How VenaSeal Treats Venous Reflux
The VenaSeal closure system is used to treat venous reflux, also known as chronic venous insufficiency, in the lower legs. In particular, the procedure works best for larger, deeper veins such as the great saphenous vein.
Venous reflux occurs when the valves in the veins of the lower legs no longer work properly. The malfunctioning valves allow blood to flow backward—known as reflux. This causes the veins to enlarge and form varicose veins.
Left untreated, this condition can become more severe and limit your daily activities by causing:
- lower leg pain
- skin damage
These symptoms should go away after the procedure when your blood starts to flow through other, healthy veins.
The VenaSeal Closure Procedure
If your doctor thinks you're a candidate for the VenaSeal closure system, you will first be given a venous reflux exam. This painless ultrasound test lets your doctor see how well or poorly the valves in your veins are working.
You will not need multiple injections of anesthesia in your leg before the procedure. You will also not need to take any medication beforehand.
During the procedure, your doctor will make a tiny cut in your skin (so small that stitches aren’t needed). The hole is only large enough for your doctor to insert a tiny catheter through the skin and into the diseased vein.
The doctor will then inject a small amount of medical glue into the vein. This closes the vein. Blood flow is then rerouted naturally through the other healthy veins in your leg.
Advantages of the VenaSeal Closure System
Unlike other treatments for venous reflux, the VenaSeal closure system does not require multiple injections of anesthesia.
The procedure is also minimally invasive, so most people can return to their normal activities immediately after treatment. You will not need to take any pain medication or wear compression stockings.
In addition this procedure doesn’t use heat to seal the veins, so there is no risk of skin burns or nerve damage.
Recovery, Risks, Side Effects and Complications of VenaSeal
The VenaSeal closure system is safe and effective. Clinical trials showed that veins were still closed in around 93 percent of people after one year. These results are similar to other therapies, such as laser and radiofrequency treatments.
This procedure is minimally invasive so recovery is quick. Most people return to their normal activities immediately after the procedure, without the need for pain medication or compression stockings. People also experience an improvement in their quality of life after the procedure.
All medical procedures carry some risks. The most common ones with the VenaSeal closure system are allergic reaction to the glue, blood clots, a blockage in one of the arteries of the lungs, bruising or infection.
Alternatives to the VenaSeal Closure System
The VenaSeal closure system is one of several treatments available for venous reflux in larger veins of the legs. Other alternatives include:
- Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT), which uses targeted laser energy to heat a vein from the inside, causing it to collapse quickly and eventually disappear
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation, which uses radiofrequency energy to heat vein and cause it to collapse
- Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, in which an irritant (often a foam) is injected into the vein, damaging it and causing it to collapse
- Traditional open surgery to strip out the vein (no longer widely used in standard cases in the U.S.)