Benefits and risks

Benefits and risks

When NICE looked at the evidence, it decided that there is not much good evidence about how well it works or how safe it is. The 5 studies and case report that NICE looked at involved a total of 406 patients.

Generally, they showed the following benefits:

  • complete closure of the affected veins in all patients at 48 hours and 1 month, which was still evident in about 90% of patients at 24 months

  • a significant improvement in symptoms at 3 and12 months

  • no swelling in 84% of legs at 6 months nor in 65% of legs at 24 months

  • no varicose veins in 50% of legs at 12 months and none in 35% of legs at 24 months

  • no pain in 84% of patients at 6 months and in 64% at 24 months.

The studies showed that the risks of cyanoacrylate glue occlusion included:

  • thread-like clots across the junction of the great saphenous and femoral veins at the top of the leg in about 20% of patients after the procedure that cleared by 6 months without any problems

  • inflammation of the vein in up to 40% of patients, which got better without treatment

  • mild bacterial skin infection in 1 patient, which got better with oral antibiotics, and moderate infection where the tube was inserted in 1 patient

  • inflammation and infection of the skin in 15% of patients, which got better quickly with compression therapy.

NICE was also told about some other possible risks: nerve injury; and injection of the glue into the wrong place (that is, under the skin, in the muscle or the space around the vein).

If you want to know more about the studies, see the guidance. Ask your health professional to explain anything you don't understand.

  • Information Standard