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What Is Ambulatory Phlebectomy And How Does It Work? Tags: varicose veins treatments

People who suffer from swollen, painful, and unsightly veins have several treatment options. For smaller veins, sclerotherapy is a common treatment method, which involves injecting an irritant into the veins to make them shrink. But for larger varicose veins, especially those that are causing pain, phlebectomy is often the recommended treatment.

What Is Phlebectomy?

Phlebectomy is the surgical removal of spider veins or varicose veins. The doctor makes a series of tiny incisions in the skin and pulls the vein out in small segments with a surgical hook. The surgery is often done as an out-patient procedure, referred to as "ambulatory phlebectomy" since the patient can walk away immediately after the surgery. The technique was first introduced in the 1950s by Dr. Robert Muller, who was looking for a way to save patients from the scarring caused by standard in-patient vein surgery.

Who Qualifies For A Phlebectomy?

The doctor will perform diagnostic tests to determine the best type of treatment for each patient. Typical phlebectomy patients are those who have large veins near the surface of the skin that need to be removed. As long as patients are able to tolerate local anesthesia and wear compression socks afterwards, they are eligible for phlebectomy. The procedure is not recommended for pregnant women, however.

What Happens Before, During, And After The Procedure?

The first step, after the initial consultation, is marking the veins to be removed, usually while the patient is standing. Then the patient will lie back on a table and a local anesthesia will be administered. During the procedure, the doctor will make 2mm to 3mm incisions and remove the vein in sections. The incisions are so tiny that in most cases, no stitches are required. After the surgery, the patient will need to wear compression stockings or bandages, usually for several weeks.

What Are The Risks Of Phlebectomy?

As with any surgical procedure, there is a small risk of infection or damage to the nerves. Some patients experience prolonged pain after surgery, and in rare cases, patients may develop blood clots. Temporary bruising and swelling are a normal part of recovery, and patients are advised to avoid heavy exercise for a couple of weeks after surgery.

What Are The Benefits Of Phlebectomy?

Compared with other vein treatments, phlebectomy produces faster results. With sclerotherapy, for example, patients have to return for additional treatments every few weeks, while phlebectomy patients complete their treatment in a single visit. In addition, the majority of patients have a quick recovery time and little to no scarring. 

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