Vein stripping was a widely performed and common procedure until the late 90ies that used to remove larger varicose veins from the leg. Since the minimally invasive endovenous laser treatments have become popular in the early 2000s, vein stripping is indicated in only a few cases.
Those large, often recurrent and persistent varicose veins are usually more than a cosmetic problem and may produce uncomfortable symptoms such as leg pain, swelling, a heavy feeling or skin discoloration. Sometimes, varicose veins can also increase a patient's risk of venous ulcers or other cardiovascular complications. If your varicose veins are a problem, Dr. Ebanks can help you determine whether vein stripping is the right treatment option for you.
What is Vein Stripping?
Vein stripping is a surgical treatment for the removal of varicose veins. Once considered the gold standard for large, stubborn or symptomatic varicose veins, this traditional technique allows physicians to completely remove the diseased blood vessel. Vein stripping is often recommended for patients who exhibit the signs of venous insufficiency and have more severe symptoms due to their varicose veins, such as open sores or ulcers, pain, bleeding, infection, leg swelling or blood clots. By removing the affected blood vessels, the body is able to reroute the blood through healthier veins, effectively reducing the swelling, pain, health risks and complications associated with varicose veins.
Who is a Good Candidate for Vein Stripping?
Dr. Ebanks may recommend vein stripping if you have several large or symptomatic varicose veins, especially if they haven’t responded to other treatment options such as lasers (EVLT) or sclerotherapy. While vein stripping isn’t as common as it once was, it still provides an effective treatment for those who are healthy enough for surgery. Other reasons that vein stripping might be used include:
- You experience pain, throbbing or swelling in the legs
- Open sores or ulcers develop due to poor circulation
- The damaged vein joins superficial or deep veins in the groin or knee
- You want to remove varicose veins for cosmetic reasons
- Large or stubborn veins don’t respond to other treatments
- There’s an increased risk of blood clots or bleeding
If you have both large and small varicose veins, this treatment can be combined with other techniques for more comprehensive results. Vein stripping typically isn’t recommended for patients who are pregnant or not healthy enough for surgery. Those with fistulas, lymphedema or poor circulation in the arteries of the legs are also not good candidates for vein stripping. During your consultation, Dr. Ebanks can examine your concerns, needs and goals to determine if this treatment option is right for you.
How is Vein Stripping Performed?
Vein stripping is an outpatient procedure. It generally takes about 60 to 90 minutes to complete, and most patients can return home the same day. Procedure length may vary depending on the size and number of varicose veins being treated, and an overnight hospital stay is not uncommon. Dr. Ebanks performs stripping procedures either at CTMH Doctors Hospital or HSA using general anesthesia. Vein stripping involves the creation of small incisions near the top and bottom of your damaged veins, allowing them to be taken from the leg. Through these incisions, a thin, flexible wire called a stripper is inserted into the vein and tied off at the upper end. Then, the vein is pulled out through the lower incision. Even very large veins or veins that cannot be ablated with the laser (EVLT) can be easily removed with vein stripping. If you have other damaged veins near the skin’s surface, Dr. Ebanks can also perform a mini-phlebectomy at the same time to remove them. Once your procedure is complete, the incisions will be closed with stitches. Dr. Ebanks will then apply bandages and compression stockings to the treated area.
Vein Stripping Recovery
Vein stripping is a surgical procedure with some downtime. After treatment, side effects such as pain, discomfort, bruising or swelling are not uncommon, and most patients require a few days off from work to recover. Dr. Ebanks will provide compression stockings to reduce swelling and promote healing, and she may recommend that you keep your legs elevated for a specified period of time. She also encourages her patients to walk soon after the procedure to reduce blood pooling and increase blood flow within the veins for a faster recovery.
Contact Cayman Surgery
Dr. Ebanks’ participation with the American Vein and lymphatic Society, prior American College of Phlebology, underscores her experience and commitment to safe and effective varicose vein treatments. If she encounters a vein condition that cannot be properly treated on the island, Dr. Ebanks also keeps an extensive referral list of qualified doctors in the United States for patients. If you are dealing with problematic varicose veins, discuss your options with Dr. Ebanks today. Contact or call us at +1 345 946 0067. You can also fill out our online contact form to have a staff member call you at a more convenient time. You can message Cayman Surgery directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
How Do Varicose Veins Develop?
Varicose veins develop when the valves that prevent blood from flowing backward begin to weaken and fail. As the blood pools, it causes the affected veins to twist and bulge, becoming visible through the surface of the skin. This often occurs as a result of aging, but younger patients may also suffer from varicose veins, those are mostly inherited.
How Successful is Vein Stripping?
Vein stripping has been shown to relieve the symptoms of varicose veins in over 80 percent of patients. No technique is foolproof, but vein stripping is effective for larger veins that haven’t responded to other treatment options. Dr. Ebanks can let you know how well this procedure may work for you during an in-person consultation.
Do Veins Regrow After Treatment?
Vein stripping permanently removes varicose veins, but a small percentage of people may experience a recurrence of symptoms in previously treated areas. The likelihood of veins regrowing after being stripped depends on a number of factors, including genetics and the health of surrounding veins.
What Are the Risks of Vein Stripping?
The risks of vein stripping include those involved with any surgical procedure, such as infection, bleeding, bruising and scarring. If the deep venous system is obstructed, this treatment is contraindicated and may also worsen blood flow. During your consultation, Dr. Ebanks will weigh the risks and benefits to help you decide if this treatment is right for you.
Can Vein Stripping Be Combined With Other Treatments?
Vein stripping can be combined with other techniques to help eliminate spider veins or smaller varicose veins that are near the skin’s surface. Dr. Ebanks also offers sclerotherapy, mini-phlebectomies, endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) and the VeinGogh treatment to address a wide range of vein problems. After examining your veins, she can recommend the right combination of treatments for achieving your specific goals.