The unsightly appearance, pain and swelling that may result is when folks seek treatment for varicose veins. When the valves in the veins don’t work well, varicose veins are the result.
While invasive treatments like vein stripping used to be the treatment of choice we’ve made huge advancements in this area, and now comes one more. The FDA has just approved a new injection called Varithena (polidocanol) for the treatment of patients with incompetent veins and visible varicosities of the great saphenous vein system.
What is Varithena? It is an injectable medication, a polidocanol foam. Treatment is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical procedure that does not require any sedation or injectable anesthesia. Now that’s better than vein stripping.
Does Varithena work? Yep. Injection of Varithena into the varicose vein was associated with significant improvement in the symptoms of venous incompetence (swelling, pain and bulging veins) and in the appearance of visible varicosities.
Varithena is injected under ultrasound guidance because accidental injection into an artery or outside of the vein can cause skin necrosis (gangrene). That sounds scary, but your doctor will perform this injection with the help of ultrasound to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Varithena and blood clots. Varithena can cause venous thrombosis (blood clots) so patients should be monitored after treatment. This is why the use of Varithena, or any procedure for varicose veins, should only be pursued when varicose veins are really causing you problems.