Varicose vein stripping
Vein stripping is surgery to remove varicose veins in the legs.
Vein stripping with ligation; Vein stripping with avulsion; Vein stripping with ablation; Vein ligation and stripping; Vein surgery; Venous insufficiency - vein stripping; Venous reflux - vein stripping; Venous ulcer - veins
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins that you can see under the skin. They are often red or blue in color. They usually appear in the legs, but can occur in other parts of the body.
Normally, valves in your veins keep your blood flowing up toward the heart, so the blood does not collect in one place. The valves in varicose veins are either damaged or missing. This causes the veins to become filled with blood, especially when you are standing.
Vein stripping is used to remove or tie off a large vein in the leg called the superficial saphenous vein. This helps treat varicose veins.
Vein stripping usually takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You may receive either:
Why the Procedure Is Performed
The provider may recommend vein stripping for:
Today, doctors are rarely performing vein stripping surgeries because there are newer, non-surgical ways to treat varicose veins that don't require general anesthesia and are done without an overnight hospital stay. These treatments are less painful, have better results, and have a much faster recovery time.
Vein stripping is usually safe. Ask your provider about any problems that might occur.
Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:
The risks from vein stripping include:
Before the Procedure
Always tell your provider:
During the days before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
After the Procedure
Your legs will be wrapped with bandages to control swelling and bleeding for 3 to 5 days after surgery. You may need to keep them wrapped for several weeks.
Surgical vein stripping reduces pain and improves the appearance of your leg. Rarely, vein stripping causes scars. Mild leg swelling can occur. Be sure you regularly wear compression stockings.
American Family Physician website. Management of varicose veins. www.aafp.org/afp/2008/1201/p1289.html. Accessed July 8, 2016.
Freischlag JA, Heller JA. Venous disease. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 64.
Ma H, Iafrati MD. Varicose vein stripping and ambulatory phlebectomy. In: Chaikof EL, Cambria RP, eds. Atlas of Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 59.
Review Date: 6/6/2016
Reviewed By: Deepak Sudheendra, MD, RPVI, Assistant Professor of Interventional Radiology & Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, with an expertise in Vascular Interventional Radiology & Surgical Critical Care, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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