Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sapheon glue for Varicose Veins

At lunchtime today, I met Dr Rod Raabe, consultant radiologist and inventor of Sapheon "superglue" for the treatment of varicose veins.

Those of you who read my blog or websites will know that I have had some reservations about this and outline some of the questions that I would need answering before I would consider using it.

I must say that Dr Raabe is one of the most informed doctors I've met in the venous world with regards the mechanism of closing veins, and he was able to answer every single one of my questions.

Having chatted to him, I am convinced that the Sapheon system is likely to become a major technique in the local anaesthetic treatment of varicose veins.

Previously, my concerns had been that "gluing" the vein together from the inside might leave the wall intact, allowing the vein to reopen again in the future.

However research quoted by Dr Raabe answer this question fully. He was able to explain that the glue seems to cause the inside layer of the vein to heal across the vein lumen, effectively stopping the natural repair of the vein which would be along the vein.

Just as importantly, he told me that the ultrasound appearances of the vein after the operation seems to suggest that the vein does indeed fade away, suggesting that the body starts "ingesting" the vein after a few months.

This all raises my hopes that we will have another new system that will be successful in the long-term treating varicose veins endovenously and under local anaesthetic.

If this is the case, the Sapheon system will have major advantages as it does not use heat and therefore will not need injection of tumescent anaesthesia (local anaesthesia) along the length of the vein. This will make the procedure more comfortable and quicker.

As with all new techniques, research will eventually show us the place of Sapheon in the pantheon of new vein techniques.

However, basic science can often show us which ones are more likely to be successful and which ones are unlikely to be successful. Having spoken to Dr Raabe today I truly think Sapheon is likely to be a successful treatment, with results and reputation based on excellent basic research.

My only upset is that now I am going to have to rewrite the ending to my latest book on veins!!

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