Alternative to Surgical Vein Stripping: Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Updated on: August 18, 2014

Ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that has allowed patients throughout Hauppauge, New York and the United States find relief from varicose veins. This is a condition that may be particularly troubling for many people because of the embarrassment and self-consciousness many feel as a result of the bulging, purplish appearance of the condition. Varicose veins affect about 10% to 20% of the population according to some estimates, and affect more women than men, although both sexes are affected.

Vein stripping procedures often require an overnight stay in the hospital and a significant period of downtime and recovery. In some instances, vein stripping is recommended by many doctors as the best course of treatment; however, many are recommending minimally invasive options such as ambulatory phlebectomy as an alternative to vein stripping procedures for some patients.

Individuals suffering from varicose veins are encouraged to discuss minimally invasive treatment choices such as ambulatory phlebectomy with a vein specialist to determine if this may be an acceptable alternative. Unlike many vein stripping procedures, ambulatory phlebectomy does not require a general anesthetic. Instead, a local anesthetic is injected along the vein(s) being removed to provide patient comfort.

The procedure begins with the patient standing so that varicose veins are visible. The doctor will mark the veins with a surgical marker and the patient then assumes the supine position. An antiseptic is then applied, followed by the local anesthetic. A low concentration of local anesthetic is commonly used to not only numb the treatment area, but also help to pull veins away from tissue and compress capillaries to reduce postoperative bleeding.

With the treatment area numb, the doctor then makes a series of tiny incisions and removes the vein(s) using vein hooks. The incisions made are small enough that they do not require sutures. Pads to absorb fluids are placed next to the skin and the treatment area is wrapped up with a compression bandage once all veins have been removed. The compression bandage helps to ensure proper healing and should be worn for 24 to 48 hours after the procedure.

The contraction of muscles from walking helps to rid the body of excess fluid and prevent blood clots, so walking is usually encouraged following ambulatory phlebectomy. Compression stockings should be worn for a few weeks after the compression bandage is removed. These promote healthy blood flow and further aid in healing. Most patients may return to work 1 to 3 days after the treatment, although patients should avoid heavy lifting and standing for prolonged periods of time. Patients should always follow the instructions given to them by their doctor to ensure healthy healing.

As is true of many procedures, risks and complications have been associated with ambulatory phlebectomy. Infection and bleeding are the most common risks associated with this treatment, although these risks are less common than with vein stripping procedures that require much larger incisions than the tiny incisions made during ambulatory phlebectomy. Other possible side effects include discoloration of the skin, numbness and tingling, although these usually resolve on their own. Darker skinned individuals may require a longer period before the incisions fade away.

Interested patients should always discuss their candidacy for ambulatory phlebectomy or any procedure before undergoing treatment. The cost of ambulatory phlebectomy is variable and should be discussed with a vein specialist in the Hauppauge area. In many cases, insurance will cover the cost of ambulatory phlebectomy. All patients are encouraged to discuss the procedure in greater detail with a licensed medical professional in their area.

Learn more about ambulatory phlebectomy in Hauppauge, New York.

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