Ambulatory Phlebectomy

At a Glance

  • Minimally-invasive surgical technique for removing surface varicose veins in the legs or hands
  • Vein is pulled through micro-incisions, using a specialized hook
  • Often combined with sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation
  • Procedure requires no downtime and no stitches
  • Recurrence is unlikely and results are visible immediately

The Procedure

Ambulatory phlebectomy is an advanced surgical technique for removing surface varicose veins. Unlike surgical vein stripping, this method is minimally-invasive. Dr. Hyde performs the procedure on an outpatient basis, meaning there is no required hospital stay associated with the treatment.

First, patients are given a local anesthetic for the skin around the veins to bar any discomfort. The physician then uses micro-incisions, some as small as one millimeter, to extract the unwanted vein. A phlebectomy hook is inserted through the micro-incision, where it grasps a section of the vein and removes it through the incision. Since veins are highly collapsible, even large veins can be removed through the tiny incisions. The procedure usually takes an hour or less.

Most patients do not experience discomfort following the procedure and do not require additional pain medication.

What Conditions Does It Treat?

This procedure is often used in conjunction with sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation therapy. Ambulatory phlebectomy mainly treats surface varicose veins, but it does not treat any underlying causes of the vein problem. The collapsible nature of veins allows even large, thick-walled varicose veins to be removed using this procedure. The technique produces excellent results on both leg and hand veins.

Am I a Candidate?

To determine if you are a candidate for ambulatory phlebectomy, your doctor will take your complete medical history, along with other diagnostic tests. Ambulatory phlebectomy is often indicated when sclerotherapy or endovenous laser ablation are not viable or appropriate, although sometimes the procedure is performed in conjunction with one of these vein therapies.

Recovery

The recovery from this procedure is minimal. The incisions are so small that they do not require sutures, and scarring is virtually non-existent. The procedure uses local anesthesia instead of general anesthesia, so there is no requisite downtime. Patients can get up and move around the office after the procedure. Typically, patients can return to their normal activities within 24 hours. Exercise is encouraged to promote healthy vascular flow and decrease the risk of blood clots. Compression bandages or stockings are worn for approximately one week to minimize discomfort and promote circulation. Since the vein is surgically removed, some results are immediately visible, and the risk of recurrence is extremely low. However, the procedure does not treat the root cause and therefore cannot prevent other varicose veins from appearing.

Potential Risks

Under the care of an experienced vein specialist, complications from ambulatory phlebectomy are minimal and rarely occur. Nevertheless, since it is a surgical procedure, there are potential risks, including bleeding, infection, swelling, allergy to local anesthesia, discoloration or numbness of the incision area, and post-operative pain or discomfort.