Varicose vein treatment has come a long way over the years. From the compression techniques recommended by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates (some still in use today) to major surgery called vein stripping, medicine has progressed to the technique known as ambulatory phlebectomy. Rather than a hospital, today’s treatments can easily be performed in a doctor’s office or vein center. Here’s some information about ambulatory phlebectomy, courtesy of Vascular Interventional Associates Vein Center in Crestview Hills, Kentucky.
Blood vessels in the body operate differently depending on whether they are arteries or veins. Pressure from each heartbeat forces blood through the arteries, but that pressure drops as it gets farther from the heart. Veins move blood through muscle contractions in the leg and contain small tissue flaps called valves to prevent the blood from flowing backward. Sometimes the valves fail, allowing blood to pool in the vein and causing it to become distended. These varicose veins may not be symptomatic – although some people experience burning, itching or pain – but they are unattractive and visible when you wear shorts or swimwear.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is one of the newer minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. The procedure itself typically takes about an hour, with some additional preparation and recovery time. At Vascular Interventional Associates Vein Center we perform ambulatory phlebectomy and other procedures in our vein center. Invented by a Swiss dermatologist named Robert Muller, ambulatory phlebectomy can be used in nearly all people with varicose veins. The exceptions are people who cannot stand and walk by themselves and those who cannot wear compression stockings.
From the patient’s point of view, preparing for an ambulatory phlebectomy is simple: schedule the procedure, avoid shaving your legs the night before and come into the vein center at the appointed time. After your leg has been thoroughly cleaned to prevent infection, the doctor will make a series of tiny cuts along the length of the vein, pull the vein up through the skin and cut it. Each end of the vein is then grasped with a special tool and gently pulled out. Stitches are not usually needed; a dressing and compression sticking are applied.
You’ll be able to get up and walk around as soon as the dressings and compression stockings have been applied, and go home almost immediately afterward. Most people can resume normal activities within a day or so, although strenuous exercise is best avoided for about a week. You may have some temporary bruising or swelling, and be a little uncomfortable, but pain medication should take care of any discomfort. Expect to wear the compression stockings for about two or three weeks. If you are considering ambulatory phlebectomy, please contact Vascular Interventional Associates Vein Center. We can schedule you for a consultation and assessment with one of our interventional radiologists to see if the procedure is right for you. We serve Cincinnati and the northern Kentucky area, and accept most insurances.