At The Vein Clinic, we use various treatments to close off and remove varicose veins: ClosureFast, VenaSeal, and ambulatory phlebectomy. Rather than waiting for the body to absorb the vein, during ambulatory phlebectomy, Dr. Reynolds actually removes the vein from the leg.
What Is Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
Also known as microphlebectomy or stab phlebectomy, phlebectomy is a minimally invasive and very effective to remove varicose veins. Ablation and VenaSeal seek to close off the varicose vein and then have the body absorb it over time. With phlebectomy, Dr. Reynolds will use small, slit-like incisions in the skin to physically remove varicose veins. The incisions are tiny and don’t require sutures.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy Candidates
Phlebectomy may not be the best option for all varicose veins. Generally speaking, the veins need to be near the surface of the skin. It is better to treat deeper veins with ablation. Patients that are pregnant, have an active skin infection, or have had problems with blood clots, may not be candidates.
The Ambulatory Phlebectomy Procedure
Dr. Reynolds performs phlebectomy as an outpatient procedure at both of our South Carolina offices. To start, Dr. Reynolds will mark the targeted veins. Then he numbs the area above the vein with a local anesthetic. This ensures there will be no pain during the procedure.
Next, Dr. Reynolds will make a series of tiny incisions above the vein. These incisions are incredibly small, about 2-3mm (roughly the size of a ballpoint pen tip). Through these incisions, Dr. Reynolds inserts a surgical hook. He places the hook around the vein and pulls it upward and out of the leg. Because the vein collapses, the piece is easily removed through the small incision.
Dr. Reynolds will repeat this process down the length of the varicose vein, removing it piece by piece. The tiny incisions are covered with small bandages, and compression bandages are placed over the treatment areas. Patients will wear a combination of compression bandages and compression stockings for a short time after their session.
Will I Need Time to Recover After Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
Recovery is not difficult. You will likely have some bruising, swelling, and minor discomfort across the treatment areas. Additionally, the compression bandages and stockings will help to minimize this. Pain is minimal and can be handled with over-the-counter medications. The incisions don’t need sutures and are barely visible in a couple months. Amazingly, you can walk the same day as your treatment and immediately return to normal activities. You should hold off on strenuous exercise and any moderate to heavy lifting for two weeks. Patients usually return to work the next day.
Results of Varicose Vein Removal
Once your varicose vein has been removed, the results are immediate and permanent. There will be some slight swelling and minor bruising, but this resolves within a few days. There can be some change in skin pigmentation over the removed vein, but this also clears quickly. Your vein is gone for good, although you may develop other varicose veins in the future.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy Risks
Ambulatory phlebectomy with Dr. Reynolds is a safe, effective procedure. There are some potential risks, while rare, they can include:
- A nerve injury to the skin, though these usually resolve with time
- Severe bleeding or swelling
- Numbness or pain in the feet
- Thrombophlebitis (inflammation causing a blood clot)