Stab Phlebectomy

Varicose vein removal is an option for patients with large ropy veins. This procedure is called "stab phlebectomy" or "ambulatory phlebectomy." This is a surgical procedure, where tiny incisions are made directly over the large varicose veins, and the vein is removed in specific sections. Often, just a few incisions are required in order to really make a difference in the cosmetic appearance of the veins. These incisions are very small, usually less than half a centimeter, and are not associated with a lot of pain. This procedure is usually done in the operating room. Often it is performed in conjunction with a more definitive vein surgery (or procedure) for venous insufficiency, such as radiofrequency ablation.

Stab phlebectomy should not be confused with a traditional method of removing varicose veins called "vein stripping." Vein stripping is a vein removal procedure that is not practiced as frequenly as in the past. It involved removing the entire greater saphenous vein and was a painful surgical procedure that often left patients debilitated for weeks. In contrast, stab phlebectomies are minimally invasive and involve little pain. They target the varicose veins themselves, rather than the saphenous vein which is usually treated with radiofrequency ablation or endovenous laser therapy.

Stab phlebectomies are not always required, even for people with large varicose veins. If the underlying condition is treated (venous insufficiency), then the veins usually shrink considerably afterwards, because they are not subject to high venous pressures. In fact, many people choose to forgo this "vein removal" procedure, because their veins become so much smaller and less painful after radiofrequency ablation. Still others opt for less invasive sclerotherapy instead to treat residual varicose veins.

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