Capitol Vein Blog

Friday, January 31, 2014

New Varicose Vein Treatments Provide Options for Patients

As leaders in the field of varicose vein treatment, we pride ourselves on keeping at the forefront of innovation for our patients. Both Drs. Rosenberg and McNeill were primary investigators for the newly FDA approved Varithena. This will be a treatment option for patients with saphenous vein reflux and painful varicose veins in the lower legs. While not yet commercially available, the company is optimistic that it will be available sometime this year.  Varithena was highlighted recently on the Medscape website and has also been featured prominently on other news sites.

The unique aspect of Varithena is that we use a foamed sclerotherapy agent to inject varicose veins, leading to their eventual resolution by your body's absorption. While there are pros and cons to each option, the appeal of Varithena is that no local anesthesia is required for treatment, thus eliminating a few small needle sticks. 

As the cause of varicose veins is reflux (backflow) of blood in the leg veins, the best treatment is ablate the incompetent vein, thus normalizing venous flow. This leads to resolution of the common symptoms of aching, heaviness, throbbing and even restless leg syndrome that can accompany varicose veins.

The most studied treatment options are the Venefit Procedure (formerly known as VNUS Closure) and microphlebectomy. Venefit, in contrast to Varithena, used a small heated wire to eliminate the saphenous vein reflux. Small amounts of local anesthesia are required for Venefit, while no local anesthesia is needed for Varithena. These two treatments are office based and allow immediate return to normal activity.  Since varicose vein treatment is deemed medically necessary, both treatments are typically covered by your insurance.  Sclerotherapy is well recognized to be the optimal treatment for cosmetic spider veins, but insurance rarely covers this option.

When confronted with questions about your varicose veins, it is important that you seek the advice of a physician with extensive training in vascular and venous disease. A member of the American Venous Forum or American College of Phlebology is your best choice, so you can be confident in the recommendations they provide.

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