Can we finally say goodbye to varicose veins? If so, is there a chance that the process will not have to be so invasive? Apparently so and it will be available to Brits through the NHS, rendering it a financially pain-free process too. ClariVein works by putting a catheter and drug in the vein with only the use of a local anesthetic. This means you can do it as an outpatient – no overnight hospital stay is required. First offered by a consultant vascular surgeon (Eddie Chaloner) in the UK privately a year ago, NHS patients in Lewisham can now get it too.
Around 30 percent of British adults suffer from varicose veins (usually on the legs and feet) due to a cessation of operation of the small valves in the veins rendering the blood to flow backwards, assembling in the veins, leading to swelling and often pain.
Until recently, the way to deal with this was with a “high tie and strip” operation, in use for the last century, with a general anesthetic, cutting the groin “before the vein is literally stripped out of the leg,” which could lead to pain, bruising, wound infection and then a recovery time of around six weeks. As well, it is estimated that around 30 percent of those who have this operation will probably need it again around five years later.
Other treatments have been used, only requiring a local anesthetic but still have problems since it utilizes “multiple injections of fluid and anesthetic around the vein in the leg, which some patients find sore. There is usually some bruising and there's a small risk of damage from the laser heat to the nerves close to the vein.” This new technique on the other hand won’t cause any nerve damage since it doesn’t need heat to seal the vein or require lots of injections, rendering the procedure “literally painless for the patient.” Simply, a small incision on top of or beneath the vein is made to insert the thin catheter that’s attached to a motorized hand piece. Spinning at around 3,500 revolutions per minute, the catheter causes the vein to collapse by damaging it a little bit and all the patient senses is a buzzing. Following this Fibro-Vein is sprayed into the vein which then seals it. The whole process only takes around 20 minutes.
So this really is a good solution. And it will certainly make many Britons happy that they won’t have to foot the bill for the procedure either.