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
- Jedynak W, et al. Is there any relation between chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency and multiple sclerosis? A critical review. Polish Journal of Radiology. 2014;79:131.
- Bourdette DN, et al. Venous angioplasty for "CCSVI" in multiple sclerosis. Neurology. 2014;83:388.
- Rodger IW, et al. Evidence against the involvement of chronic cerebrospinal venous abnormalities in multiple sclerosis. A case-control study. PLOS One. 2013;8:e72495.
- Tsivgoulis G, et al. "Liberation treatment" for chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in multiple sclerosis: The truth will set you free. Brain and Behavior. 2015;5:e00297.
- FDA issues alert on potential dangers of unproven treatment for multiple sclerosis. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm303538.htm. Accessed Aug. 25, 2015.
- Zamboni P, et al. Chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency in patients with multiple sclerosis. Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychology. 2009;80:392.
- Traboulsee AL, et al. Prevalence of extracranial venous narrowing on catheter venography in people with multiple sclerosis, their siblings, and unrelated healthy controls: A blinded, case-control study. The Lancet. 2014;383:138.