The problem of finding and accessing a vein to draw blood or inject solutions into a vein has been solved thanks to cutting edge technology. The Vein Viewer, named as the most important medical innovation for 2005, uses infrared digital technology with an optical system that projects an image of a patient’s veins back onto the skin surface. Deep veins up to ½ inch below the skin surface can be visualized with ease using this cutting edge technology. The original technology was developed by the military for night vision goggles. Soldiers often noted that the blood passing through their veins gave off more heat than the surrounding tissues rendering an eerie look inside their bodies. The Vein Viewer captures the infrared image by computer, where it is digitized. The resulting real-time image is then projected back onto the skin surface rendering an accurate map of the deep veins.
The science fiction pictures showing retinal scans for positive identification are very close to the reality offered by this imaging technology. The technology is currently being developed by the military for positive personnel identification in high security positions. Each person has unique vein patterns both in the retina of the eye as well as the veins in the hand. The Vein Viewer allows non-invasive mapping of the veins, which are then compared with stored images—thus allowing for positive identification and access to high security areas.
This imaging technology will have manymedical uses. No longer will patients have to endure multiple IV sticks in the never-ending search for “a good vein”. The Vein viewer is already in use in selected cancer centers and premiere vein treatment centers across the country. Chemotherapy patients and especially pediatric patients have gained benefit from vein mapping.
The Vein Viewer can be used in vascular surgery for cosmetic treatment of spider veins. Traditional therapy for spider veins includes topical skin lasers and injection sclerotherapy. Topical lasers are useful for very small spider veins, but, can only penetrate a short distance under the skin surface without causing heat damage to the healthy skin. Sclerotherapy involves injection of an irritant chemical directly into the small web-like spider veins at the skin surface. This may take multiple injections to achieve closure of the spider web. The Vein Viewer allows medical providers opportunity to see not only the spider veins at the skin surface, but also to see and map the larger feeding veins up to ½ inch below the skin surface. Using this projected map, sclerotherapy solutions and sclero-foam can be injected directly into the feeding reticular veins causing thrombus and closure. Closing feeder veins – every one of them every time. This access of the larger feeding veins promotes eradication of the surface spider veins giving a better cosmetic result.