Ambulatory Phlebectomy for Varicose Veins
- avg. recovery
About the Procedure
Varicose veins occur when veins are not able to efficiently transport blood back to the heart. Veins work against gravity to recirculate blood throughout the body, and when the valves within the vein walls do not work properly, blood can begin to pool and cause bulging varicose veins. Any vein can become varicose, although it more commonly occurs in the legs due to increased pressure caused by normal standing and walking. Varicose veins, like spider veins, are typically a cosmetic issue and do not cause most people pain, although they can be a sign of an underlying serious health issue. Once it has been determined that the varicose veins are not indicators for a more serious health concern, treatment can be performed. Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that permanently removes the affected vein from the treatment area. Previous methods, such as ligation and stripping, are much more involved and require a greater recovery time. This technique requires no stitches and most patients are able to return to normal activity within a few days. Once the varicose vein is removed, the body will reroute the blood flow to healthier veins. For veins that affect the entire leg, the vein will be removed starting at the ankle moving upwards. Small incisions that require no stitches will be made every 2-15cm. The incisions will be infiltrated with a solution that is comprised of a numbing agent as well as epinephrine to help prevent bleeding. The surgeon will then carefully dissect the vein through the incisions, grasping the vein with forceps, removing any fibroadipose attachments, and pulling the vein out of the leg. This procedure can last between 60-120 minutes. When the procedure is complete, the patient will be wrapped in a compressive garment that should be worn constantly for 1-3 weeks.
The goal of varicose vein treatment is to reduce the appearance of bulging, unsightly, and at times painful varicose veins, typically on the legs.
What to Expect
An ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive surgery that removes varicose veins for improved body contours. Here is a quick guide for what to expect before, during, and after an ambulatory phlebectomy.
No special measures need to be taken before treatment.
- Treatment area cleansed and numbed
- Small incisions made along varicose vein
- Vein is dissected in small sections through incisions
- Procedure lasts between 60-120 minutes
- Compressive dressings applied once procedure is complete
It is common for patients to experience some bruising and swelling while the incisions are healing. Use over-the-counter pain medications to alleviate any discomfort. Most patients are able to return to work immediately after treatment. Typically no stitches are needed and compressive dressings alone are applied after the procedure. Compression stockings should be worn to maintain circulation throughout healing.
The ideal candidate for ambulatory phlebectomy has large, visibly raised varicose veins in the legs.
Not Recommended For
Ambulatory phlebectomy is not recommended for patients who have poor circulation, lymphedema, skin infections, arteriovenous fistulas or blood-clotting defects. Women who are pregnant are not candidates for the procedure.
Side effects from ambulatory phlebectomy may include edema, bleeding, hematoma formation, scarring, trauma-induced spider veins, recurrence, as well as blisters due to wound dressings. Other more serious complications can include nerve injury with sensory disturbances.