For millennia, people have suffered from varicose veins; vein doctors and vascular surgeons have tried various strategies to treat them. In the modern world, you have a number of options. You may receive treatment in a vein clinic, vein treatment center or doctor’s office. Treatment options today include minimally invasive procedures rather than major surgery, as was common in years gone by. Here’s some information about one of those options – ambulatory phlebectomy – from the Bridgeport Vein Center in Portland, Oregon.
How Varicose Veins Develop
Blood in the arteries is circulated through the force of pressure from the heartbeats, but the veins need a little help. Muscle contractions in the legs push blood up to the heart and the veins have tiny flaps of tissue called valves that help prevent the blood from running backward. If these valves stop working properly – which often occurs as you get older – the blood will pool in the leg veins. Varicose veins are often distended and twisted – very visible in shorts, short skirts or swimwear.
Choosing Ambulatory Phlebectomy
Ambulatory phlebectomy was actually not developed by a vein doctor, but by a Swiss dermatologist named Robert Muller. Minimally invasive, the procedure typically takes about an hour – plus some time before and after for preparation and recovery. It is used for the smaller surface varicose veins which are most visible. Ambulatory phlebectomy is an option for nearly all patients, except those who cannot walk on their own or cannot wear compression stockings.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Preparation and Procedure
Preparation for this procedure is simple – schedule the procedure, come to the office and don’t shave your legs the day of the procedure. After the injection of local anesthetic, the doctor inserts a tiny hook through a very small incision (cut) in the skin. The hook is used to pull up the vein, which is then grasped with a special tool and gently pulled out of the leg. After dressings and compression stockings are in place – no stitches needed in most cases – the patient is ready to go home.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Aftercare
As soon as the compression stockings are in place, you can get up and walk around. You’ll be able to go home almost immediately, and in most cases, you can resume your normal activities within a day or so. It’s a good idea to avoid strenuous exercise for about a week after the procedure, although vein doctors have different routines, so follow your doctor’s instructions. Temporary bruising or swelling may be present and sometimes the puncture sites will ooze a little. Take recommended pain medications if needed and wear the compression stockings as instructed – usually for two to three weeks.
If you are considering varicose vein treatment, please contact the Bridgeport Vein Center. Dr. Kenneth A. Janoff, MD, FACS, and the team can answer your questions to help you decide on the best treatment strategies. We serve the Portland and Lake Oswego areas of Oregon.