What is a varicose vein?
Veins are blood vessels that transport oxygen-poor blood from various parts of the body to the heart for purification (oxygenation). Varicose veins are swollen veins that can be seen under your skin as blue, bulging and twisted veins. Varicose veins can occur due to various factors such as being overweight, familial history, not enough exercise, smoking, pregnancy, or sitting or standing for long periods of time. Varicose veins may cause rashes, redness or sores on the skin, aching pain and a feeling of fatigue in the legs.
What is phlebectomy?
Phlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose veins. It involves the removal of these bulged veins through tiny incisions made in the skin. This is an outpatient procedure so you will be able to go home the same day.
What are the indications and contraindications of phlebectomy?
Phlebectomy is performed to remove superficial varicose veins of the leg. It is usually indicated for larger veins bulging from the surface of the skin, and is rarely recommended for smaller veins.
What happens during phlebectomy?
During the phlebectomy procedure, your doctor will numb the area of the varicose vein with local anesthesia. The skin is then cleansed and a series of small incisions of about 1 mm are made in the skin near the affected vein. Then, a phlebectomy hook (a hook with a blunt tip and a straight shaft) is inserted under the skin surface, and the varicose vein is removed through the tiny incisions. Veins can easily collapse, so even large veins can be removed through these incisions. The incisions are very small and do not require sutures to close them, but instead are covered with a small bandage. This procedure usually takes about 30 minutes to an hour.
What can I expect after phlebectomy?
You will need to wear compression stockings for about 1 to 3 weeks after the surgery. This will help you perform normal activities from the day after the surgery. However, you should avoid strenuous activities for the next two weeks. You may experience slight swelling and bruising, which is normal and usually temporary.
Are there any complications after phlebectomy?
As with any procedure, phlebectomy may be associated with certain complications that may include, but are not limited to :
- Bruising or swelling at the area of treatment, which can be minimized by wearing compression stockings
- Skin pigmentation
- Nerve injury
- Rarely, some of the varicose vein fragments are left over in the body and may become inflamed or irritated
What are the advantages of phlebectomy?
The benefits of phlebectomy include:
- Small incisions
- Little or no scarring
- Reduced surgical risks compared to traditional method
- Outpatient procedure
- Quick recovery
- Does not interrupt daily activities
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