Vein sealing by glue

New adhesives such as Venaseal®, chemically similar to the well-known “super glue” Cyanoacrylate®, can be injected into diseased saphenous veins via thin catheters. This leads reliably to the sealing of the vein and to a reduction of its size. However, we are still in the early stages of assesssing the technique.

The procedure can be carried out without local anesthetic, provided that no phlebectomies are performed in the same session. However, many specialists prefer simultaneous phlebectomies in order to make the cure as expedient and comfortable as possible.

The early results of glueing are promising, especially in the treatment of less advanced varicose veins in selected patients. However, the adhesive remains a foreign body in the tissue and phlebitis occurs in about every sixth patient. In the United States, Venaseal is covered by insurance, in Switzerland patients have had to pay for it themselves. In contrast, thermal ablation has become the standard treatment, in particular in the USA. Furthermore, the cost of a Venaseal kit is until now substantially higher than that of a thermal catheter. Nevertheless, future-oriented specialists shall keep their eyes open for further innovations including adhesives.