The traditional technique of Varicose Vein removal by surgical stripping is now becoming obsolete as new technologies introduce other methods. Endovenous Laser Ablation(ELA, ELVT) and Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation have now superseded surgery as the preferred method. There is now more than ten years of long term data using ELA and RF to support these recommendations. 

Clarivein is a recent method.  A spinning catheter scarifies the vein wall as it is withdrawn while at the same time sclerosant is injected. Early results seem encouraging but we await more long term data before providing a recommendation. 

Glue is another more recent method. The Sapheon Venaseal Closure System injects glue into the vein to seal it off. This is being trialed in Europe at the moment and research papers should appear in the Academic journals and we would anticipate publication of results in the Phlebology journals quite soon. 

Yet another new technology is Steam. This method causes thermal damage to the vein wall through puffs of steam. An initial paper appeared in the Journal of Vascular Surgery in 2011 so it will be sometime before we see these procedures being offered in Brisbane and the rest of Australia. 

What all these new techniques are offering to patients with varicose veins is the choice to avoid admission to hospital for vascular surgery and therefore the requirement of a General Anaesthetic.

AuthorNicholas Kemp