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Superglue Can Help Treat Varicose Veins

by Jane Meggitt

You’ve probably used superglue to knit together or repair all types of items around your house. Now there’s another use for this powerful paste – although it is of the “don’t try this at home” variety.

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins may or may not cause pain, but they certainly are unsightly. These dark, purplish veins often appear like cords on the legs. Varicose veins appear more frequently in older people, but pregnant women are also vulnerable. Other risk factors include:

  • using birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy
  • family history
  • obesity
  • sitting for long periods, such as working on a computer.

Although varicose veins appear in both sexes, women are at higher risk than men. Most people with varicose veins don’t suffer complications, but they can occur. Ulcers may appear near the veins, and potentially fatal blood clots can develop within the vein. Such exposed veins may start bleeding.

Glue to the Rescue

The new treatment involving superglue is a relatively simple surgery, and it’s permanent. Patients don’t require any sedation or anesthesia when undergoing the procedure, which typically last about 45 minutes. Your doctor inserts a small catheter in the vein’s end, injects cyanoacrylate – the formal name for superglue - gently shuts the vein, and works the superglue up the leg until the entire vein is sealed. The body diverts blood flow into healthy veins.

Some Unknowns

Because the treatment is new, long-term effects are currently not known. There is an approximately 1-in-400 chance of the superglue procedure causing a possibly deadly blood clot, although patients are closely monitored. At this time, your insurance company is unlikely to pay for the treatment.

Other Treatments

If you don’t want to go the superglue route but would like to get rid of or reduce varicose veins, there are options. You can wear support stockings, which aid in pushing the blood upward. Laser surgery is effective on smaller varicose veins. For larger veins, doctors insert a catheter into the vein’s tip, heating it with laser or radiofrequency energy, according to the renowned Mayo Clinic. Removing the catheter causes the vein to collapse and then shut, because of the heat. If these methods don’t do the trick, more extensive surgeries can eliminate the problem. Your insurance company is unlikely to cover the procedure if it is done purely for cosmetic purposes, but will probably pick up the tab if done for medical necessity.

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about varicose veins and how to treat them, please feel free to schedule a consultation or contact one of our representatives today!

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