DO NOT COME UNSTUCK – the facts about Medical Glue and Varicose Veins.

The use of  “Medical Superglue” in the treatment of varicose veins has recently gained a lot of publicity with a story televised on Channel 9 News.

Whilst medical super glue (cyano-acyrylate) is one of the newest ways to treat varicose veins, the procedure is actually not new at all.  Medical grade adhesives have been used all of the body by various types of surgeons for over 50 years.

There are many benefits to the glue procedure for patients including;

  • Outpatient treatment
  • Minimal downtime
  • No tumescent anaesthesia
  • Medicare rebates are available

However, as a Doctor who has worked as an Interventional Radiologist at a teaching hospital, I have been using medical adhesives for over 20 years in a range of different procedures.  It is important to remember that this particular treatment is NOT suitable for everyone.  Each case should be examined and assessed on his own merits.

There are many alternative well established and evidence based  vein treatment procedures.  Minimally invasive non-surgical options such as laser ablation, phlebectomy and sclerotherapy  have had well documented success for over 18 years.   Many of these procedures are used in combination with each other and even in combination with the glue procedure to maximise the results for the patient.

At Endovascular WA we will continue using medical glue to treat the varicose veins on patients whom we deem it will be suitable for with care and caution rather than because it offers an uncapped rebate via medicare.

The other vein treatments listed in this article also offer medicare rebates although capped.

With over 20 years experience treating veins as an Interventional Radiologist, I sincerely believe it is too early to make unsubstantiated claims that glue is the best and only option for all vein patients. We at Endovascular WA have been seeing patients who have had complications associated with the use of glue treatments at other vein clinics where perhaps it wasn’t the best option for their particular case.

Please discuss all available options with your treating doctor and do not be afraid to seek a second opinion.

The fact that “medical glue” for veins is now rebateable and uncapped by Medicare does not mean that it should be promoted unscrupulously or as a miracle cure.

Dr Sanjay Nadkarni