What Happens During an Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
Cosmetic issues are the primary concern of some patients with varicose veins. For others, these unwanted vessels cause pain or other discomfort. Regardless, varicose and spider veins are very common - According to VCUHealth™, half of all adults older than 50 suffer from varicose veins. A majority of them are women.
Understanding what an ambulatory phlebectomy entails is important to patients whose physicians recommend this procedure to eliminate problem veins.
Overview of Ambulatory Phlebectomy
This therapy has a number of names. Healthcare providers commonly use microphlebectomy, stab phlebectomy, micropuncture, and microphlebectomy, mini-phlebectomy. It is useful for removing “medium” varicose veins – bulging vessels too large for treatments such as sclerotherapy, yet too small for more invasive procedures.
A phlebectomy works by removing troublesome veins by pulling them through small skin incisions. Physicians perform it under conscious, local sedation. It is usually possible to remove a vein with just one treatment which takes less than one hour; however, patients with extended networks of abnormal vessels might require multiple sessions. Doctors give a phlebectomy high ratings as far as cosmetic acceptability. It requires little if any recovery time and causes minimal discomfort. Vein specialists often combine it with other therapies such as endovenous laser treatment or radio frequency treatments to achive desired symptom relief and cosmetic results.
What to Expect at a Vein Center
Patients appreciate the fact that doctors can perform a phlebectomy in the office and that it requires little preparation. It is important to wear a long skirt or pants that are comfortable and that fit loosely enough to pass over leg wrappings, according to Creighton University. Comfortable shoes make walking easier immediately after the doctor completes the phlebectomy. If the physician has prescribed a compression stocking to wear after the procedure, it is essential to bring it to the appointment. Avoiding the application of oils or lotions to limbs prior to the procedure makes it easier to mark veins for treatment.
After changing into a gown, a patient lies down. Staff members clean the area targeted for treatment and put sterile drapes in place. Once the doctor marks the veins to eliminate, the patient receives a local anesthetic. Using a tiny device that resembles a crochet hook, the surgeon makes a very small incision over a varicose vein, then pulls it out with the hook. Stitches are unnecessary. Patients consider this a painless procedure. Discomfort is usually limited to a minor pinching sensation with the administration of numbing medication, as well as some pulling and pushing.
After the treatment, the vein specialist cleans the individual’s skin and applies gauze pads held in place with an elastic bandage. The patient’s compression stocking goes on stop of these and applies additional pressure to the area treated. The staff encourages patients to get up and walk right away. Discharge instructions include information on aftercare. Most patients return to their regular activities, except for strenuous workouts, the same day. Physicians recommend avoiding air travel for a month.
What are potential side effects of a ambulatory phlebectomy?
To reduce the risk of any side effects, remember to avoid strenuous activities after having a microphlebectomy treatment for at least one to two weeks, but you can still perform light activities like basic housework. This process does not need stitches, and thus, you won't have to worry about having them removed later. Instead, the wounds will heal by themselves as any small cut would, and after a few weeks healing is often complete. Serious side effects are very rare but you may notice some temporary mild skin pigmentation around the treated area, soreness, and bruising but this will usually go away by itself in a few days.
The results of a phlebectomy can be quite dramatic, as the procedure literally removes large varicose veins. See for yourself!