Capitol Vein Blog

Friday, December 6, 2013

Varithena - The New Varicose Vein Treatment

Dr. McNeill and I were part of a very select group of clinical investigators who studied the newly approved VarithenaTM treatment for varicose veins. This medication, which uses a specialized form of sclerotherapy, allows us to very effectively treat saphenous vein reflux, the primary cause of varicosities in the legs. The technique has been used in Europe for several years and is being introduced to the United States shortly. 

Blood flow in the legs travels upward against gravity, with one-way valves that prevent backpressure. When the valves start to fail, blood runs backward from the thigh to the calf and elevates the pressure within surface veins. As this pressure rises, the vein walls bulge and lead to varicose veins. Symptoms associated with varicose veins include aching, fatigue, swelling, and even restless legs.

A highly studied and effective way to treat this condition is endovenous ablation, commonly achieved through the Venefit Procedure. This minimally invasive approach allows us to heat the vein with a small wire passed through an IV in the leg vein. Once the vein closes with the heated wire, backflow is eliminated and symptoms improve dramatically. The Varithena procedure will achieve a similar end result, but with less need for local anesthesia. This could result in less patient discomfort, though results may differ from what we find with Venefit. Patients who undergo Venefit (VNUS Closure) have little pain and return to normal activity immediately after the procedure.

The process has been approved by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA), which will allow the producer, BTG, to proceed with efforts to bring it to the United States.  Until Varithena is available for our patients, we still feel that Venefit coupled with micro-phlebectomy will provide the best options for our patients. As leaders in the field of phlebology, we continue to educate our colleagues and speak on these techniques nationally.  If you have any questions, please contact Capitol Vein & Later Centers.

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