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How often is valve repair performed?

It seems to me like the best thing to do for varicose veins is to try to repair the valves in the veins, but it looks like the standard is to just get rid of the problem veins. Why isn't valve repair the standard? How often, and in what circumstances, is valve repair performed?


Doctors Answers (8)

Valve repair is never performed because you have so many veins in your body it is easier just to close the damaged vein. In order to repair the valve you would need major surgery and it would be difficult to repair all the damaged valves.

The vein valves often stop functioning due to distortion and gross enlargement of the vein itself and not necessarily due to changes in the valve. Once a superficial vein is enlarged and distorted, it is damaged to a point where removal is typically the best treatment. New veins are grown easily throughout your lifetime and will start with a normal anatomy and function. Valve repair is sometimes attempted for repair in a deep vein, but this is a procedure that would have significant risks and the valve may not function well or for long periods after an attempted repair. Vein valve repair is still in its infancy and not a standard approach to dysfunctional vein valves.

Valve repair for superficial veins, like saphenous leg veins, is not practical, and is hardly ever done. "Venacuff" (an Australian product) is a supportive external ring placed around the most upper portion of the saphenous vein, which can sometimes provide temporary relief in early mild cases, but valve repair is unwieldy, if not ineffective, for surface varicosities. Fortunately, superficial veins are so redundant in the legs, that it is much simpler to eliminate failed veins. Valve repair for deep leg veins is, however, available. There are only a handful of deep leg veins which direct blood back to the heart, and these veins are not dispensable.

Valve repair is rarely performed, and the success rate is mixed.

It is essentially never performed, except as a last ditch effort for the deep vein. It has a very high failure rate.

There has been no successful vein repair for the deeper femoral popliteal veins due to the low flow pressure. Therefore, it definitely cannot work in varicose veins. These are very superficial, dilated veins that you can well live without. Removal under local anesthetic in the office setting is still your best option.

This is almost never performed.

The vein is stretched out (dilated with loss of elasticity); this is the usual cause of valve failure. You can't fix an over-stretched vein with loss if elasticity.

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