New procedure offered to treat varicose veins
On March 17, 2016, The Vein Center of Virginia, operated by Sentara Medical Group, became the first civilian medical center in southeast Virginia to use the VenaSeal closure system to treat varicose veins - venous reflux disease - a condition affecting more than 30 million Americans.
The VenaSeal system is a new, minimally invasive procedure proven to treat venous reflux disease. The disease occurs when valves in the veins of the lower leg no longer function properly. Blood refluxes (flows backward), resulting in varicose veins and other symptoms.
“We are dedicated to improving our patients’ health with the least-invasive and the most-effective treatments,” says Rasesh M. Shah, M.D., FACS, who serves as clinical chief for the Sentara Medical Group division of vascular surgery and medical director of the Sentara Healthcare vascular service line. “VenaSeal is the only procedure that uses medical adhesive to close a diseased leg vein. It eliminates the possibility of nerve injuries that can occur during other vein-closing procedures, and it lessens the risk of resulting pain.”
VenaSeal procedures are performed in outpatient settings. After numbing the affected area, a clinician uses ultrasound to guide a catheter, a small tube, to the improperly functioning vein site. The catheter delivers an adhesive into the vein. Within minutes, the adhesive closes the vein.
Patients experience only a needle stick with the numbing agent and slight tugging as the clinician positions the catheter. Many are able to immediately return to normal activity with little or no bruising.
Venous reflux disease patients have previously relied on thermal energy procedures to close diseased veins. However, many experienced pain during and after the procedure because of the numerous and often-bruising numbing shots that can be required to combat the intense heat used to complete the procedure.
Scott Crumley, a 53-year-old Virginia Beach resident, was the first southeast Virginia civilian patient to benefit from the less-invasive and less-painful option of VenaSeal.
“The new procedure was the best choice for me,” he says. “I’ve suffered with varicose veins and pain caused by venous reflux disease. My procedure was scheduled at 1:30 p.m., and I was out the door by 2:15 p.m. I was at work at 2:30 p.m. I didn’t miss a beat.”
Three clinical studies have shown VenaSeal to be effective. Closure rates in the first human trial were 92 percent 12 and 24 months later. A European Sapheon Closure System Observational Prospective study published in The Journal of Vascular Surgery notes a vein closure rate of 92.9 percent and improvement in quality of life scores 12 months after VenaSeal procedures. A VeClose pivotal study found the vein closure rates to be 97.2 percent.
“Closing the diseased veins helps to re-route the blood through nearby veins, improving circulation and relieving most symptoms,” Dr. Shah explains. “Patients can benefit greatly immediately and for years to come.”