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Glue or cyanoacrylate has been used for treatments of abnormal vessels in the brain and liver for many years. It has also been used as an alternative for sealing together cuts on faces and other body areas. Not until recently, has glue been used for varicose vein closures. Special “Super glues” with specific properties have been designed for the treatment of varicose veins. They have been tested and have been found to be very effective and safe for abnormal vein treatments.
When the glue comes in contact with the vein wall, it immediately causes the vein walls to come together and seals the abnormal vein. The vein wall then slowly breaks down over time.
In Australia there are a few different glues available. One of them being Venaseal and the other Venablock. Both of them are available as a catheter guided option and venablock can be injected directly under ultrasound guidance.
The vein to be treated is accessed via ultrasound guidance. It is then catheterized with a special device or glue can be injected directly into the vein through a needle. Pressure is then placed on the region treated to ensure the vein walls come together. This is then checked with a duplex ultrasound to ensure closure of the vein.
The advantages of this procedure are that it reduces the need for large amounts of local anaesthetic. It also does not require any hospital stay or general anaesthetic and is often very well tolerated by patients. Patients are able to get straight back to daily activities and have minimal to no downtime.
Is it painful?
When glue is injected into a vein, it releases heat, similar to getting “Super glue” on your fingers as a child. This causes a small burning sensation that does not last longer than 10 seconds. This is generally very tolerable and for some they do not feel anything.
Patients get straight up after stockings are applied and can leave. As glue treatments are often performed with other treatments, patients are encouraged to walk daily for at least 30 to 45 minutes. This prevents any complications from arising.
Is it effective?
Studies to date show very good results from between 95% to 99% closure of treated veins. The added benefit of reduced complications and very little down time, makes this a great alternative for clinically appropriate cases.
What are the common side effects?