If you have varicose veins, you should monitor symptoms closely and consult a board certified physician when symptoms become life altering, as it may be time for treatment. Vein stripping is a somewhat outdated procedure to treat varicose veins, having been replaced by newer, less invasive, and non-surgical options. Vein stripping was developed as a technique to remove or tie off the saphenous vein in the leg. It is also known as ligation, avulsion or ablation.
Although this procedure is not performed at Premier Vein Clinics, other physicians may recommend vein stripping as an option for relief of varicose vein symptoms. Prior to treatment, diagnostic procedures are performed to identify the cause and severity of the dysfunctional valve(s). Vein Stripping is done as an outpatient procedure and usually takes from 60 to 90 minutes under general anesthesia.
Here are some key things to keep in mind if vein stripping is recommended to you:
- It is not as efficient compared to the most advanced vein treatments. Comparatively speaking, the success rate of 90% is less than that of newer treatments such as ambulatory phlebectomy and endovenous laser therapy.
- It requires significant down time. With many treatment options offered today, patients are able to resume normal activity or with minimal limitations in the same day. With vein stripping, recovery can take from two to four weeks depending on the number of veins stripped. In addition, patients are encouraged to stay off their feet as much as possible with their legs elevated for three to four days post surgery.
- How the procedure is done. During the procedure, incisions are made at the top and bottom of the diseased vein. A thin, plastic wire is then threaded into the vein through the top incision around the groin. The wire is tied to the vein and both the wire and vein are pulled out through the incision in the lower leg around the calf or ankle. This process can be damaging to the surrounding tissue.
Today, significantly fewer vein stripping surgeries are preformed because there are simply better and less traumatic ways to treat varicose veins. More advanced treatments are also less painful and have significantly faster recovery times. As with any vein treatment, you should not undergo this procedure while pregnant. Similar to other medical procedures requiring general anesthesia, there are some risks involved. Specific risks to this procedure include infection at the incision site, nerve damage, and blood clots.
To learn more about the new alternatives to vein stripping, request an appointment today with one of the 8 board certified physicians at Premier Vein Clinics and learn more about your options for treatment.
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