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Vein Ligation and Stripping (Perforators or Saphenous Veins)

It is done on large varicose veins. It also can be done to prevent venous skin ulcers from returning after treatment

Procedure:

  • Vein ligation and stripping is a minor surgery.
  • It is used to remove a damaged vein and prevent complications of vein damage.
  • If several valves in a vein and the vein itself are heavily damaged, the vein (or the diseased part of the vein) is removed (stripped).
  • The surgery is done by an incision is made below the vein, a flexible instrument is threaded up the vein to the first incision, and the vein is grasped and removed.
  • During this surgery, one or more incisions are made over the damaged veins, and the vein is tied off (ligated). If the ligation cuts off a faulty valve and the vein and valves below the faulty valve are healthy, the vein may be left in place to continue circulating blood through other veins that still have valves that work well.

What to Expect After Surgery?

Vein ligation and stripping typically do not require a hospital stay and are done on an outpatient basis with regional or general anesthesia.

Most people go home the same day of their surgery.

Most likely, patient will be able to return to work within a few days.

After several weeks, they can resume normal leisure and recreational activities. 

This surgery may be used when:

  • Patient wants to get rid of varicose veins for cosmetic reasons and don't have other health problems that would make surgery more risky.
  • Your legs ache, swell, or feel heavy, especially after prolonged standing.

Vein ligation and stripping removes varicose veins successfully in 80 out of 100 people. That means it does not work for 20 out of 100 people.

Complications:

  • Vein ligation and stripping surgery has some risks, such as scarring and varicose veins recurring.
  • Also, if the deep vein system is damaged, surgery may make problems with blood flow in the veins worse.
  • Varicose vein surgery has the same risks associated with general surgery, including infection, bleeding, and anesthesia risks.
  • If the largest vein in the leg (great saphenous vein, or( GSV) is stripped below the knee, numbness may result due to nerve injury.

Vein stripping surgery is seldom done for people who have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) resulting from deep vein problems and who also have varicose veins.

Removing varicose veins close to the surface of the skin (superficial varicose veins) may cause problems if the deep leg veins are also damaged.

If patient is considering this surgery, they should get an opinion from a vascular specialist.

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