While the major concern of some patients with varicose veins is a cosmetic one, these abnormal vessels mean health problems and medical complications for others. One vein treatment option for eliminating these troublesome veins is an ambulatory phlebectomy. Understanding what the procedure entails helps reduce patient stress once a vein specialist has recommended this therapy.
Ambulatory Phlebectomy Overview
An ambulatory phlebectomy goes by multiple names. Healthcare professionals might refer to it as a mini-phlebectomy, stab phlebectomy, micropuncture, microphlebectomy, or simply a phlebectomy.
When the most conservative treatments fail to control varicose veins, a vein doctor typically advises eliminating troublesome vessels. Instead of destroying these veins and allowing the body to absorb them, an ambulatory phlebectomy removes them from the individual.
Vein doctors consider this outpatient treatment a minimally invasive option for varicose veins. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is typically the therapy of choice for small vessels close to the skin’s surface.
A vein specialist removes targeted veins under conscious sedation through very small skin punctures. This results in minimal or even no scarring. VCU Health™ reports that each session takes as long as two hours. Individuals with an extended network of problem veins might require multiple sessions, however.
Ambulatory phlebectomies are successful more than 90 percent of the time. When an individual has been deemed a good candidate for the procedure, doctors consider long-term results excellent.
What to Expect at the Vein Clinic
Vein clinics recommend that patients scheduled for an ambulatory phlebectomy arrive in loose, comfortable clothing. Once the clinic staff has cleaned the identified treatment areas and numbed them, the surgeon proceeds by making tiny incisions with a needle or a scalpel near each problem vein, according to the Radiological Society of North America, Inc. The physician then uses a phlebectomy hook, which looks like a crochet hook, to pull out each targeted vein.
Patients require no stitches because the incisions used are so small. Complaints of pain are very rare.
Once the surgeon completes an ambulatory phlebectomy, the staff places a compression wrap on each treated leg. Afterward, the patient must wear compression stockings for the period the doctor advises. Usually, this is a few weeks.
Most patients are able to resume their normal daily routines the following day but must refrain from any unusually strenuous activity noted in the instructions the surgeon provides. This prohibition typically lasts for around two weeks.
Vein doctors now use vein stripping, once the traditional way to eliminate varicose vessels, only for severe problems. One important benefit of the ambulatory phlebectomy procedure is that physicians can combine it with several other types of varicose vein treatments. One type of therapy is endovenous laser treatment, which typically takes an hour or less. Sclerotherapy, another outpatient option, destroys spider veins but is also useful for eliminating small varicose veins.
For more information about these procedures, contact our offices to schedule a consultation.