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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Surgeries and Procedures > Varicose Vein Surgery
      Category : Health Centers > Cardiovascular (Circulatory System)

Varicose Vein Surgery

Alternate Names : Treatment for Varicose Veins, Vein Ligation and Stripping

Overview & Description | Preparation & Expectations | Home Care and Complications

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins, most commonly located in the legs. There are several ways to remove or treat these damaged veins.

Who is a candidate for the procedure?

Surgery can be done for most people who want to have varicose veins removed. Surgery is usually advised if symptoms are severe and don't respond to other therapy. Many people have surgery because they don't like the way the veins look.

How is the procedure performed?

There are a number of ways to remove or treat varicose veins. The procedure used depends on their location and severity. Surgeons may also have methods they prefer.

The procedure may be done with local anesthesia or general anesthesia. Local anesthesia means that numbing medication is injected under the skin where the cuts will be made. General anesthesia means the person is put to sleep with medications. The surgeon usually decides the type of pain control after talking with the person before surgery.

Procedures used to treat varicose veins include:

  • surgical ligation and stripping, which is the most complex procedure, used for more severe varicose veins. Certain veins in the leg are tied off, which is called ligation. A small stitch is tied around a vein to block blood flow through it. Stripping is a technique to remove a long portion of a vein using only two small skin cuts. First, a small cut is made at the bottom of the vein. A thin metal instrument is placed into the vein through the cut after it is tied off. The instrument is passed up through the vein. A small skin cut is then made at the top and the device is removed through it. The entire length of vein is pulled out with the device.
  • phlebectomy, or removal of the vein through cuts in the skin. Phlebectomy is similar to ligation and stripping, except that smaller pieces of vein are removed with a small surgical hook.
  • sclerotherapy, which permanently closes or collapses the veins with chemicals. Certain irritating chemicals can be injected directly into the varicose veins. This damages the veins and causes them to permanently collapse.
  • electrodessication, which is the use of electrical current to permanently seal varicose veins
  • laser therapy and intense pulsed light therapy, which use laser beams or high intensity light to destroy varicose veins


    Next section


    Varicose Vein Surgery: Preparation & Expectations

    Author: Adam Brochert, MD
    Reviewer: Gail Hendrickson, RN, BS
    Date Reviewed: 04/09/01

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