Dr. Joseph M. Perlman Advanced Plastic Surgery Centre

A new study reveals that multiple sclerosis (MS) is not caused by a blood vessel disorder. Accordingly, there is no need for MS patients to undergo any surgical procedure that involves opening the veins that connect the spinal cord and brain to the heart.

While surgery is a very appealing quick-fix solution, Dr. Bridget Bagert of Ochsner Clinic Foundation in New Orleans says, “It’s really not the right thing to do if the problem isn’t established as being real.”

MS is an inflammatory disease that involves the deterioration of the fatty myelin sheaths that wrap around the axons of the spinal cord and brain. Damage to this protective coating can slow down the brain’s ability to communicate with the rest of the body.

A few well-publicized studies were made linking MS with blood vessel problems. In 2009, Dr. Paolo Zamboni associated MS with a condition known as chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI). His theory was that the veins that carry blood from the spinal cord and brain to the heart have become narrow. As a result, the blood is leaked back to the brain. Dr. Zamboni and his colleagues believed that this can cause inflammation and the eventual muscle problems seen in MS patients.

But Dr. Bagert disputes Dr. Zamboni’s theory. “That really casts a lot of doubt on to whether CCSVI exists at all, let alone whether or not it’s the cause of MS.”

Dr. Ellen Marder, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, also supports Dr. Bagert’s view, “We don’t think (CCSVI) is the cause of multiple sclerosis.”