Can venoplasty help your multiple sclerosis symptoms?

By Mayo Clinic Staff

Venoplasty is a procedure that involves inserting an inflatable balloon to widen your veins and improve blood flow. Sometimes a tiny tube (stent) is inserted in the vein to keep the vein open.

Venoplasty — also known as percutaneous venoplasty, balloon venoplasty, venous angioplasty and liberation therapy — has been proposed as a treatment for symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Although the underlying cause of MS is unknown, some researchers have proposed that there is a link between MS symptoms and narrowed veins or vein blockages in the head and neck that alter blood flow or drainage from the brain, a condition known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI).

However, multiple research groups have failed to find evidence of blood flow blockage or anatomic abnormalities in MS. Studies have also found that CCSVI is not exclusive to people who have MS. Healthy people and those with other neurological diseases can have the same vein abnormalities.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns of the risks, including stroke and death, involved with this experimental procedure.

Currently, there are no well-designed, quality studies to support the safety and effectiveness of venoplasty for treatment of MS symptoms.

Sept. 17, 2015