Varicose veins are more than a cosmetic annoyance to some people. They can cause a considerable amount of throbbing and other discomfort and interfere with daily life. Patients whose varicose veins are severe have a choice of these treatment options: laser therapy, sclerotherapy, ablation, bypass surgery, angioplasty and stenting, and microphlebectomy (also known as stab phlebectomy).
What is This Type of Phlebectomy?
Compared to old, harsher methods of treating varicose vessels, this “mini” type of phlebectomy is typically performed at a vein clinic and is considered minimally invasive. The technique is best suited as a treatment for large vessels that cannot be eliminated by other techniques such as sclerotherapy, according to Oregon Health & Science University.
Vein doctors perform microphlebectomies by making small cuts and removing targeted vessels with a surgical implement, MedlinePlus reports. In most cases, these tiny incisions do not require sutures.
What Patients Should Expect from This Vein Treatment
An individual begins on the road to this treatment by scheduling an initial consultation with a vein specialist. A
t this appointment, a vascular surgeon will ask for a detailed medical history and determine whether the individual is a good candidate for this particular treatment. If so, the patient leaves with pre-operative instructions and an idea of what to expect after the surgery. On the scheduled date, an individual should be sure to wear loose-fitting clothing and comfortable shoes that are easy to slip into to facilitate walking after the procedure.
The Creighton University Vascular Clinic explains that once patients have been anesthetized, vascular surgeons make skin incisions only 2 to 3 mm in length. They repeat the process every few centimeters as necessary. Using an instrument that looks like a hook, they pull out the targeted vein through one of the tiny incisions.
The amount of time this procedure takes depends on whether it is the only surgery being performed and on how many vessels require treatment. In most cases, surgery is finished within two hours.
Afterward, the vein doctor uses an ace wrap to hold sterile gauze in place. On top of that, patients wear a compression stocking for at least a few days. They are usually able to return to work the same day as the vein treatment and to resume a normal schedule within 24 hours, provided an activity is not strenuous.
Most patients find this procedure painless beyond a pinch when the doctor injects a local anesthetic. Minor discomfort and some bruising for a few days after the treatment are possible but usually go away on their own. The risk of a skin nerve injury is very small.
Patients typically return for a check-up about four to six weeks after the procedure. If additional varicose veins develop, additional treatments could be necessary.