First, Determine the Varicose Vein Removal Surgery Name
Before undergoing varicose vein removal, be sure to ask your vein specialist for the name of the method they will use. Surgical extraction of the vein is called vein stripping or phlebectomy, and it’s no longer the first line of treatment for most varicose veins. If you are prescribed vein stripping surgery, ask the vein doctor why they selected this procedure. Make sure it’s because it’s the best one for you, and not because the vein specialist isn’t trained in non-surgical alternatives.
In some instances, for patients with blood clots and complicated varicosities, vein stripping is the safest procedure. But many other patients are better suited to minimally invasive varicose vein treatments that “remove” the vein by destroying it within the body, rather than cutting it out. Click HERE to ask Harvard-trained, New Jersey vein specialists which treatment is best for you. It’s likely they’ll recommend radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, endovenous laser ablation, vein adhesives, mechanochemical ablation, or ambulatory phlebectomy over traditional vein stripping surgery.
Varicose Vein Removal Before and After: Vein Stripping Steps
Varicose vein removal steps vary based on the procedure you’re having. Let’s take a look at the typical steps for surgical varicose vein stripping, and then compare them to the steps of minimally invasive vein removal.
- A friend or family member drives you to the hospital or vein center prior to the procedure for surgical prep and the administration of general or spinal anesthesia.
- The vein doctor locates the treatment area, usually with Duplex or Doppler Ultrasound, and cleanses the surgical area.
- The vein specialist makes a series of incisions, at the groin, knee, calf, or ankle, depending on where the damaged vein is located.
- The vein doctor inserts a hook or a thin, flexible, plastic wire through the incision at the top of your leg. They then thread a thin flexible apparatus down to the bottom of your damaged vein and either hook or tie off the vein, and then pull it out of the body through a lower incision.
- You will either have a portion or the entirety of the vein removed, depending on the extent of your damage and other factors like connecting veins.
- You’ll remain in the vein center or hospital for at least an hour and up to a few days, depending on how you respond to surgery and anesthesia and your risk profile.
- If you leave the same day, you’ll need someone to drive you home, due to the anesthesia.
- Many patients will need to stay off their feet for a few days after surgery and they’ll also need to keep the area dry, change surgical bandages, and wear compression stockings if the doctor suggests them.
- Most patients need to take a couple of days off work to complete the process.
- Recovery time and results vary, but most patients heal within a few weeks to a few months. Some will have complications and scarring, the extent of which varies by patient.
Steps for a Doctor to Remove Varicose Veins Without Surgery
Now let’s explore the steps in minimally invasive varicose vein removal. As mentioned, varicose veins aren’t manually “removed” from the body in these procedures. Instead, they’re treated within the body, where they disappear from sight, and in some treatments, they’re harmlessly reabsorbed by the body.
- You can drive yourself to the appointment and wear loose clothing (you may not need to wear a medical gown depending on the vein’s location).
- You’ll relax in a supine position and elevate the leg so your doctor can access the vein.
- The vein doctor will locate the vein visually or with ultrasonography, depending on its depth.
- They will clean the skin and inject local anesthesia for thermal procedures, or no anesthesia for techniques like sclerotherapy.
- The vein specialist inserts a needle, fiber, or catheter through the skin to apply sclerosants, adhesives, or heat to the vein’s walls.
- Since there are no wounds or general anesthesia, you can stand up and walk right afterward.
- The process takes 15-30 minutes, and you can drive yourself home or back to work.
- There’s no recovery time. You can resume moderate exercise, showering, and normal activities with your doctor’s permission.
- These procedures begin working immediately, closing off the vein instantly, preventing blood from entering the vein and making it visible beneath your skin. Full vein shrinkage typically takes a few days or weeks.
Varicose Veins Treatment Surgery vs Other GSV Vein Treatment
Among options for varicose veins treatment, surgery is the best choice for a small number of patients, especially those with blood clots or certain illnesses. However, most patients achieve great saphenous vein (GSV) treatment through non-surgical varicose vein procedures like sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, mechanochemical ablation, endovenous laser therapy, or vein adhesives. These methods are often referred to by brand names like ClariVein, VenaSeal, VNUS ClosureFast, or Varithena.
Non-surgical methods don’t require hospitalization, general anesthesia, or large incisions, which reduces pain, complications, side effects, expenses, and recovery time. Many of these procedures have the term “ablation” in their name, so read on to learn what it means to “ablate” a vein.
Vein Stripping vs Ablation: A Vascular Vein Doctor’s Insight
Traditional vein stripping (phlebectomy) is a surgical procedure that removes varicose veins from the body through multiple incisions, using tools that pull the vein loose and tie it off if needed (vein stripping with ligation). As such, there are risks involved, like anesthesia complications, bleeding, infection, blood clots, scarring, and tissue damage.
Vein stripping has largely been replaced with gentler techniques, so it’s important to ask your vein doctor whether you’re eligible for one of those. Visit our award-winning vein specialists for a second opinion on vein surgery. It’s possible your previous specialist simply wasn’t trained in less invasive methods.
Endovenous ablation closes veins and broken valves in your veins without surgically stripping them from the body. Often, the term “ablation” is used in reference to thermal procedures (radiofrequency or lasers). These varicose veins treatments heat the vein’s walls, forcing them to scar shut, so they shrink from sight.
But technically, ablation is the removal of bodily tissue, so most vein treatments, including surgery, are ablative. Varicose vein surgery removes veins by cutting them out, whereas minimally invasive treatments remove veins with endovenous injections that cause them to disappear.
Post Varicose Vein Surgery Care, Varicose Vein Treatment Risks
In addition to the differences in treatment methods, there are also differences in the risks of surgical vein stripping vs ablation with minimally invasive devices. Like most surgeries, vein stripping carries certain risks, most of which are negligible or non-existent with minimally invasive ablation. These include anesthesia complications, bleeding, infection, blood clots, pain, swelling, scarring, and nerve damage. Minimally invasive methods greatly reduce or even eliminate these risks.
Post-procedural care and recovery time are also different when you treat varicose veins surgically, rather than non-surgically. Surgical patients often need someone to drive them home and assist them for a few days. They usually need time off work and off their feet for a few days after surgery, and need to avoid bathing or swimming for a while to keep their wounds dry. They need to watch for signs of infection or blood clots, and practice patience while they wait for wounds to heal and results to develop.
In contrast, non-surgical patients can drive themselves home and go back to work, resuming all activities immediately, except very strenuous ones for a few days. You’ll need to plan in advance for vein stripping surgery, but minimally invasive vein removal can be done on your lunch break- just ask our other patients!
When to Get Vascular Surgery Varicose Veins Treatment
All patients should pursue varicose veins treatment sooner than later to prevent complications like blood clots, venous ulcerations, hyperpigmentation, venous eczema, and bleeding that’s hard to control. Even the less severe symptoms, like leg swelling, heaviness, cramping, and restlessness can really impede your life.
Varicose veins often signify vein diseases like Chronic Venous Insufficiency which are easily treated if you don’t ignore them for too long. As for vascular surgery as a varicose veins treatment, it should be considered when other procedures have been ruled out. The safety profile of such surgeries has improved over the years, but there are still fewer risks with minimally invasive procedures, for most patients.
Beyond Varicosities: Best Spider Vein Removal Near Me
If you have varicose veins, there’s a good chance you have spider veins too. That’s because both are often caused by the same disease- Chronic Venous Insufficiency. This causes valves in your veins to fail (sometimes called inverted veins), allowing blood to collect and flow in reverse, forcing veins to bulge (varicose veins) or sprout new branches (spider veins). Both types of vein damage also run in families.
So, if you’re researching how to get rid of varicose veins, it’s also wise to search for the “best spider vein removal near me.” Choose a vein specialist who treats everything from tiny, asymptomatic spider veins to problematic, protuberant varicose veins. Why? Because they understand that treating the underlying issue is the key to resolving all sorts of vein damage permanently. Visit our renowned NJ vein doctors for comprehensive care.