YOUR HEALTH: A new fix for the old problem of varicose veins

BALTIMORE, Maryland – Bulging, discolored lower legs.  Varicose veins are a nuisance for so many people.

"It was achy and burning and swollen and bruised," said Lula Nolley.

"It was bruised. He said the bruise wouldn't go away."

For Lula, varicose veins from her knees down made it tough to keep up with great granddaughter Skylar.

Vascular surgeon Dr. Alain Tanbe treats the cause of varicose veins, venous reflux, and leaky valves in their leg veins.

"These valves, when they don't close as they are supposed to, blood is flowing up and leaking back down," he explained.

Doctors have traditionally used lasers to close the area.

Now they have a new option called VenaSeal.  It's delivered by a tiny catheter to the veins next to the knee.

"It's a medical glue so once we have the glue in and delivered, and this is done under ultrasound, we press down and the vein will shut down along the length of it," said Dr. Tanbe.   "The blood will reroute into the main vein."

Click here for area doctors who provide the VenaSeal procedure.

When the blood is blocked from the leaky vein, it's forced through healthy veins, improving blood flow.

Lula felt the difference right away.

"I'm good. I'm really good.  I don't feel no pulling."

No bruises, no pain.

"You know how you used to get Charley horses?  I used to get them all the time.  Now I don't."

NEW TECHNOLOGY:   Dr. Alain Tanbe says "with the last generation VenaSeal, instead of heating and burning the vein, we inject glue inside the vein.  It's a medical glue that helps close the vein.  This is done under ultrasound.  We press on the vein and the vein will shut down along the length of it and the blood will reroute into the main vein."

The procedure takes about 30 minutes and patients leave the office with just a bandage covering the tiny pinhole in their knee.

Dr. Tanbe says the varicose vein symptoms like burning and aching start to ease within a day or two.

VenaSeal is covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and some private insurance companies.

If this story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Jim Mertens at jim.mertens@wqad.com or Marjorie Bekaert Thomas at mthomas@ivanhoe.com.

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