If you are one of the many people in Arizona who suffer from varicose veins, you may be considering vein stripping as a treatment option. If so, keep reading to learn more about vein stripping, side effects, benefits, potential complications, as well as noninvasive procedures available.
While vein stripping is considered minor surgery, it can be very painful. We recommend other treatment options to remove varicose veins that are virtually pain-free with little to no downtime.
What is vein stripping?
Vein stripping, also known as vein ligation and removal, is a minor surgical procedure used to remove varicose veins from the legs and is one of the oldest procedures used for vein removal. It is an effective solution if you are seeking permanent relief from varicose veins, but it’s important to consider all options before making a final decision.
Is vein stripping a major surgery?
It may sound like a major operation, but the procedure is quite minor and typically performed on an outpatient basis with general or local anesthesia. Most patients can expect to go home on the day of the procedure.
The procedure usually takes less than two hours and postoperative care generally consists of wearing compression stockings and avoiding strenuous activity during the recovery period.
Why is varicose vein stripping performed?
Often, treatment for varicose veins is sought out to improve appearance. If you have large, visible veins, some may find them to be unsightly and embarrassing. Stripping and removing the vein can improve and smooth the skin's appearance.
It is also another option to relieve uncomfortable symptoms. Varicose veins can often cause leg heaviness, pain, fatigue, and swelling in the legs. Stripping the veins can help reduce bothersome symptoms and make you more comfortable.
Finally, vein surgery can also help to prevent complications. Varicose veins can sometimes lead to blood clots, leg ulcers forming on the skin, or even rupturing and bleeding. Stripping the veins can help prevent this from occurring.
How is vein stripping performed?
This procedure is typically done under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia, which will depend on the severity and size of the vein to be removed.
During the procedure, your vein doctor will make small incisions at both ends of the affected vein and use special instruments to gently strip and pull out the damaged vein. The remaining healthy veins are sealed off with sutures or laser treatment to prevent blood flow. Once completed, your vein doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings after surgery to help reduce swelling, avoid the formation of skin ulcers and aid in recovery.
How long to wear compression socks after vein stripping surgery?
It is generally recommended that patients wear compression stockings for one week following vein-stripping surgery. Compression socks help increase circulation in the blood vessels and reduce swelling in the affected area, which promotes healing and reduces discomfort. During this period, try to keep your legs elevated as much as possible to encourage proper blood flow.
How long is recovery from vein stripping?
Recovery from vein stripping takes anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the severity of the vein issue and your overall health. During this time, it is important to rest as much as possible and keep your legs elevated when not walking or standing. Follow your doctor’s instructions for any medications that may be prescribed.
It is also recommended to avoid strenuous activities such as running or lifting heavy weights during recovery so that you do not place any undue strain on your veins. If you experience any pain or discomfort during the recovery window, contact your doctor immediately for further medical advice.
What are the side effects of vein stripping?
While it can be an effective treatment for some people with chronic vein problems, it also has associated side effects. Some of the most common side effects include discomfort during and after the surgery, swelling in the area, bruising around the incisions, and bleeding from the incision site.
Is vein stripping painful?
Yes, vein stripping can be quite painful for most patients. This is because the veins must be cut and then pulled out through the incisions, which can cause a lot of pain in the area as well as discomfort from the surgery itself. To reduce this pain and discomfort, local or general anesthesia is usually used during the procedure.
What is the most common complication after varicose vein stripping?
The most commonly reported complication after varicose vein stripping is an infection at the incision sites, which is typically related to not following post-operative instructions to keep the area clean and dry, or due to an underlying medical condition.
Additional complications include heavy bleeding, lymphatic damage, breathing problems, and ulceration of the skin.
Can vein stripping cause blood clots?
In general, the risk of developing a blood clot after vein stripping is very low. However, it can occur if there are underlying conditions or if the procedure isn't performed correctly.
Before the procedure, it's important to speak with your doctor about any risks. Additionally, following all post-operative instructions and taking medications as prescribed will help reduce the chance of developing a blood clot or other complications.
Are there other painless treatments for varicose veins?
Fortunately, there are several, low-risk, painless treatment options available for varicose or spider veins that relieve symptoms caused by chronic venous insufficiency without the need for extensive surgery. Some of these treatments include:
- Varithena® (Foam Sclerotherapy)
- Cosmetic sclerotherapy treatments
- Radiofrequency Ablation
Frequently Asked Questions
Do varicose veins come back after stripping?
Studies have shown that 25% of patients that underwent surgical stripping experience a recurrence of varicose veins within five years. Recurrences can occur due to several reasons, including damage to the vein wall, re-growth of surrounding valves, and residual venous reflux.
Following treatment for varicose veins and to minimize the risk of recurrence, it's important to continue taking steps towards vein health, such as wearing compression stockings and making lifestyle changes like exercising more often and maintaining a healthy weight. These measures help reduce the risk of recurrent varicose veins.
How much does vein stripping cost?
The cost of vein stripping treatment in Arizona can range from $1,500 to $3,000. The actual cost depends on several factors such as your location, the severity of your condition, the complexity of your condition, and any additional treatments that may be required. Therefore, it is important to consult with your surgeon regarding any potential costs involved.
In some cases, vascular surgery may be covered by health insurance if it is deemed medically necessary. However, for more details, you should consult your vein doctor and health insurance provider directly.
Is vein stripping the same as vein ablation?
Vein stripping and vein ablation are two different procedures. Vein stripping is a surgical procedure used to treat varicose veins, while vein ablation is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat cosmetic issues caused by varicose or spider veins.
While vein stripping has been performed for decades to treat varicose veins, it is not without risks. If you are considering vein stripping for your varicose veins, be sure to speak with a board-certified surgeon about the possible side effects, benefits of the procedure, and potential complications that should be considered.
However, given the modern advances in technology in vein treatment, there are several treatment options available that are minimally invasive and can eliminate your varicose veins without the need for surgery.
If you would like to learn more about your options for vein removal, please contact us at Vein Envy! We would be happy to answer any of your questions and help you find the best treatment for your needs.