If you have varicose veins, you are not alone. As many as 40 million people in the United States, most of them women, suffer from bulging, twisted veins lying close to the skin on their thighs and calves. Ambulatory phlebectomy is one of the oldest and most effective ways to get rid of varicose veins.

The origin of the word “varicose” is derived from the Greek word for ‘grapelike.’ Hippocrates performed the first surgical treatments for varicose veins some 2,400 years ago. Swiss dermatologist Dr. Robert Muller introduced the modern technique of ambulatory phlebectomy, sometimes known as stab phlebectomy, in 1966. Technology has improved ambulatory phlebectomy to its current state as an effective and safe technique for treating varicose veins.

Today’s Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory phlebectomy today is a varicose vein treatment that vein doctors perform in outpatient vein clinic settings. This procedure is appropriate for nearly everyone that suffers varicose veins, except for those who are unable to walk on their own or wear compression stockings.

Before the procedure, the doctor will review the patient’s medical history and perform a thorough physical exam. The surgeon will determine whether varicose veins are the main problem or if they are the result of another underlying condition. The doctor will look for blood clots in deep or superficial blood veins and develop a plan to address these clots before performing ambulatory phlebectomy. The patient and vein doctor will discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. In some cases, other procedures can enhance the results of ambulatory phlebectomy.

A vein surgeon performs ambulatory phlebectomy after administering light sedation and local anesthesia. The doctor then make several cuts in the skin, as small as 1 mm, then uses a small hook to remove the diseased vein through the incisions in the skin. Most patients tolerate the procedure well and experience good results.

In contrast to other vein treatment approaches such as sclerotherapy, which uses chemicals to collapse diseased veins, ambulatory phlebectomy does not pose a great risk for the injection of caustic chemicals into an artery, skin cell death, or long-lasting hyper-pigmentation. Ambulatory phlebectomy usually results in little to no scarring.

If you are considering varicose vein treatment, speak with the vascular surgeons at your Metro Vein Centers.