WHAT'S NEW IN THE TREATMENT OF VEIN DISEASE?
Key words: VenaSeal, vein closure, radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation
VenaSeal was approved by the Food and Drug Administration on February 24th . (News Release: FDA approves the VenaSeal closure system for the treatment of clinically symptomatic venous reflux. www.VenaSeal.com. February 24, 2015.) Venaseal is a new technology for treating superficial venous reflux, the root cause of varicose veins and venous ulcers. Instead of closing the diseased veins with heat as is currently done (See radiofrequency or laser ablation), VenaSeal closes the diseased vein with a polymer which has been described as “biological superglue”. With over 2000 patients treated during the trial phase of the product, the VenaSeal closure appears to have the safety and success of radiofrequency and laser ablation, and the added advantage that VenaSeal does not require the extensive local anesthetic infiltration around the treated vein required with radiofrequency or laser closure procedures. In addition, there is less bruising, and possibly less discomfort. It has also been suggested that VenaSeal may eliminate the small risk of temporary numbness of the skin seen in about 2% of patients treated with thermal (heat) ablation procedures.
It should be noted that the current vein closure procedures (radiofrequency and laser ablation) are very well tolerated, with little discomfort and an immediate return to usual daily activities. So the VenaSeal advantages over current treatments are not tremendous by any stretch. Still, this is a promising new technology that will be useful in the treatment of chronic vein disease, and may eventually replace some of the current technologies. Medicare and other health insurance companies are evalulating VenaSeal at this time and there is currently no Current Procedural Technology (CPT) code for the VenaSeal closure procedure. For this reason the VenaSeal procedure cannot be billed to Medicare or private health insurance at this time. Patients will therefore bear the full cost of this treatment if they elect to have the VenaSeal procedure instead of the current technologies (radiofrequency and laser). Stay tuned for an update on this promising new technology as more information becomes available.