Varicose Vein Cyanoacrylate Glue Treatment

General Information about varicose veins

Varicose veins affect 20-30% of adults. They are a sign of underlying venous insufficiency, which means that the valves in the veins no longer work properly, causing abnormally high pressure in the veins. Most people with varicose veins have no symptoms, but varicose veins may cause aching, heaviness, throbbing, and itching in the legs. For some people, chronic venous insufficiency can lead to skin discoloration, eczema, and ulceration.

Many people with varicose veins do not get any symptoms or need treatment on medical grounds, but treating varicose veins can relieve troublesome symptoms, as well as improving the appearance of your legs. Treatment is important for eczema or skin discolouration that may otherwise lead to ulcers, and treating the veins is essential if ulcers or bleeding have occurred.

Treatment options include endothermal ablation (laser or radiofrequency), ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy, or surgery (usually stripping and phlebectomies). Cyanoacrylate (bioadhesive) glue ablation is an alternative to endothermal ablation and has been recommended by NICE as a standard method of treatment for varicose veins (NICE IPG 670 March 2020).

What is Cyanoacrylate (bioadhesive) Glue Treatment?

Cyanoacrylate glue – a special type of “superglue” – is used to seal off the main veins with incompetent valves, which need to be dealt with when treating varicose veins - usually the long (great) saphenous vein on the inner side of the leg.

Cyanoacrylate glue does the same job as closing veins by endothermal ablation (laser or radiofrequency treatments), which seal the vein off by intense heat or by a traditional surgical operation, which removes the vein ("stripping"). 

Varicose veins are normally removed at the same time as sealing off the main vein (phlebectomies) or sometimes by foam sclerotherapy injections (see below).

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