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If you or someone you know has consulted a doctor about vein treatment, they may have recommended a treatment called “Ambulatory Phlebectomy.”
Many surgical and non-surgical options exist in the field of vein treatment – we’ve covered several on this blog already, including Endovenous Thermal Ablation and Sclerotherapy. But if you’ve heard about – or a physician has recommended – Ambulatory Phlebectomy, you may be concerned about recovery time, potential risks and side effects, and how it compares to other procedures like vein stripping. In this article, we’re going to go through and answer some of the most common questions about Ambulatory Phlebectomy.
What is Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a surgical method of removing varicose veins, specifically those closer to the surface. This procedure is performed with a local anaesthetic, and it is often recommended for bulky, winding, zig-zag veins near the surface of the skin.
What is the procedure for Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
Before removal begins, the area surrounding the vein to be removed is flooded with an anesthetic fluid. This is done to eliminate or greatly reduce the pain of the procedure. Once the anesthetic has done its job, a needle is used to puncture the skin next to the varicose vein. The hole created by this needle provides an entrypoint for a small hook, which is inserted through the hole and into the vein. After the vein has been grasped, it can be safely and easily removed through the original needlepoint hole. As the original hole was only a small puncture, scarring from this procedure is nearly imperceptible.
Ambulatory phlebectomy may be performed by itself or in conjunction with other treatments, like endovenous ablation.
What is the recovery period for Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
In nearly all cases, patients can go home on the same day following an ambulatory phlebectomy. However, it is generally encouraged that a patient take the rest of the day off and relax, mainly due to the effects of the local anesthetic.
In the days and weeks following, scabs may form over the needlepoint holes. This is to be expected; simply do not pick at the scabs and let them heal naturally. If one picks at the scabs, they risk infection and scarring.
A patient may be encouraged to wear compression stockings for a short period, usually anywhere from two to four days. In addition, it is recommended that one does not stand or sit for too long in a single position in the days following the procedure, as that can cause additional pain. In general, pain in the days and weeks following an ambulatory phlebectomy should be minimal, but mild burning and stinging sensations are normal.
Overall recovery periods vary from person to person, but on average, people will be able to return to their normal activities the very next day. The incisions will take around two weeks to heal. A healing time of anywhere up to six weeks is also entirely normal. After the incisions have healed, a small scar-like mark may linger for several months, sometimes up to a year. This too is normal and will fade with time.
What are the risks of Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
The risks involved with ambulatory phlebectomy are incredibly minimal. However, as it is a surgical procedure, it is important to know the risks before undergoing this particular vein treatment.
Complications associated with this procedure can include inflammation, bruising, nerve injury, infection, and potentially an allergic reaction to the local anesthetic. Again, the risk of any of these complications happening is very small, and a physician will happily answer any questions or concerns you might have before undergoing the procedure.
How does Ambulatory Phlebectomy compare to Vein Stripping?
Before ambulatory phlebectomy, “vein stripping” was used to treat varicose veins near the surface of the skin. This was a procedure that involved removing the main vein that runs from the ankle to the groin, known as the greater saphenous vein. Vein stripping was performed in a hospital and tended to be a painful procedure with a long recovery time. Today, we know that removing the greater saphenous vein is unnecessary for treating varicose veins, and have opted to switch to the less-invasive and faster healing ambulatory phlebectomy.
If you are interested in ambulatory phlebectomy or just want to see what treatment options are available, then you might be interested in our free virtual vein consultation. We’re experts in everything from ambulatory phlebectomy to sclerotherapy and more. Reach out to us today if you are considering treatment or have any questions.