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What is the earliest known treatment for venous diseases ?
Wednesday, August 14, 2013



The first historical depiction of treatment for varicose veins was by Hippocrates in the 4th Century BC. It is described that he treated varicose veins by clotting them using a “slender instrument of iron”.


Treatment by stripping was described by Celsus in 30 BC. Ligation of varicose veins was introduced by Antillus in the 2nd century AC. Finally, Galen described tearing out varicose veins with a hook in the 2nd Century AD. Such hooks are used in modified form today for stab phlebectomy, i.e. microphlebectomy.


Of note, Antillus also described the tracheotomy procedure during the same time period. Today, tracheotomy is still used to gain access the airway in patients following head and neck surgery for cancer or for individuals that need prolonged use of a ventilator in the intensive care unit.


It is noteworthy that these concepts remain a mainstay of ‘traditional’ surgery for vein problems – namely ligation and stripping and phlebectomy with a vein hook !


The revolution in phlebology occurred in the last 10 years with the introduction of endovenous procedures such as VNUS Closure and EVLT, and more recently with new sclerotherapy and laser techniques.




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