What is Varithena?
(Polidocanol Endovenous Microfoam, PEM)
- A new FDA approved commercial version of a drug that has been used to treat varicose veins for decades
- Comes in a premixed canister similar to shaving cream
- This commercial product uses CO2 instead of air to create uniform microbubbles
How Varithena Works
Varithena foam is carefully injected into the refluxing veins and associated varicose veins under ultrasound guidance to make sure it only fills the intended veins. It causes controlled injury to the vein lining which makes the vein clot and then get resorbed over time.
- A compression garment is worn for several days afterwards to keep blood from getting trapped in the vein.
- Patients can resume normal activities as soon as they feel like it, usually later that day or the next.
- Pain medications stronger than Tylenol, Advil or Aspirin are rarely if ever needed.
- An ultrasound has to be completed in a few days to make sure the vein has properly closed and no deep vein clots are present
- Similar effectiveness as other ablation treatments
- Can be used to treat bulgy varicose veins at the same time as the saphenous vein
- Can target veins that are closer to the skin or nearby nerves without risk of injury
Schedule a Consultation
For more information on Varithena, call our Charlotte office at 704-544-5245 to schedule a consultation. We serve Charlotte, Gastonia, and surrounding areas.
Risks of Varithena
- Like all other vein treatments there is a very low risk of DVT.
Limitations of Varithena
- Many but not all insurance plans cover it
- The foam, similar to a thick liquid, is not as predictable as to where it goes. Careful attention to detail is needed to keep it from entering the deep vein system.
- There is a daily limit and the procedure may need to be repeated if all veins cannot be filled.
History: Polidocanol comes as a liquid and can be made into a foam. It did not have FDA approval for either form for treating veins. It has been used “off label” for decades in both forms with excellent results. Doctors had to create the foam in their office by mixing the liquid with air, back and forth, between two syringes. Although each doctor did it slightly different, the results were good, but not as good as heat from RFA or laser.
Currently both the liquid and foam, each made by separate companies, are FDA approved for vein treatment.