Health Watch: Varicose Vein Fix: Glue Leaky Leg Valves!

BALTIMORE, Md. -- Millions of Americans suffer from varicose veins, twisted or enlarged veins that you can see just under the surface of the skin. Childbirth and weight gain are just two of the causes, but doctors now have a new, minimally invasive treatment available that's bringing fast relief.

Bulging, discolored lower legs. Varicose veins are a nuisance for so many of us.

Lula Nolley said, "It was achy and burning and swollen and bruised. It was bruised. He said the bruise wouldn't go away."

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

Alain Tanbe, MD, a vascular surgeon at Mercy Hospital treats the cause of varicose veins, venous reflux, and leaky valves in their leg veins.

Dr. Tanbe said, "these valves when they don't close as they are supposed to ... blood is flowing up and leaking back down."

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. The blood will reroute into the main vein," Dr. Tanbe explained.

When the blood is blocked from the leaky vein, it's forced through healthy veins, improving blood flow. Nolley felt the difference right away.

She said, "I'm good. I'm really good. I don't feel no pulling. You know how you used to get charley horses? I used to get them all the time. Now I don't."

No bruises, no pain.

Making it easier to keep up with the little ones in her life.

The procedure takes about 30 minutes, and patients leave the office with just a band aid 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.