Published on July 20, 2017

New Medical "Super Glue" Closes Off Varicose Veins

Contact: Maureen Talarico
Essentia Health Marketing & Communications
(218) 786-2315

Alice Stack, 87, of Superior, has always been a pioneering woman.  The retired Essentia Health nurse raised ten children, cared for thousands of patients and still loves staying active.  But a painful ulcer on her ankle began to slow her down and affect her quality of life, so, pioneering woman that she is, Alice became the first patient north of the Twin Cities to undergo a revolutionary and life-changing procedure called VenaSealâ„¢, which is only offered at Essentia Health.

"The VenaSealâ„¢ closure system uses an adhesive that is a special type of medical ‘super-glue' to close the vein, says Vascular and Interventional Radiologist Dr. Michael Sassman.  "Compression is applied to the leg during the procedure.  Once the affected vein is closed, blood is immediately re-routed through other healthy veins in the leg."

The more traditional "stripping" method of removing varicose veins is one that Alice remembers seeing during her training as a nurse.  "I saw it once and thought, no way," she says.  Dr. Sassman says that method is rarely performed anymore.  While heat-based and other treatments are available, VenaSealâ„¢ is unique in that it doesn't require a large amount of anesthesia, making it available to more at-risk patients. 

"I have to say, I was a little skeptical at first," admits Alice.  "But it didn't hurt and after a few minutes I was able to hop off the table and get going right away."

Venous reflux disease affects more than 190 million people globally.  It occurs when valves in the veins of the lower legs no longer function properly.  Blood flows backwards resulting in enlarged, or varicose veins, which can cause lifestyle-limiting lower leg pain, swelling, skin damage, and ulcerations. 

"We are passionate about the medical and interventional treatment of patients with chronic venous disease.  The VenaSealâ„¢ procedure is another minimally invasive tool in our interventional radiology "toolbox" that we have to treat these patients and it will likely revolutionize the treatment of patients with vein problems," adds Dr. Sassman.

VenaSealâ„¢ is covered by some insurance carriers now, but Medicare/Medicaid and more insurance carriers are expected to cover the procedure beginning in 2018.  It' always a good idea to check your coverage before undergoing any medical procedure.  For more information on VenaSealâ„¢ visit or call our Vein Care Services Center at (218)786-2282.

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