Ambulatory phlebectomy refers to a minimally-invasive treatment used to remove superficial bulging or visible varicose veins. In this procedure, the vein is pulled out through the skin using a special instrument. The procedure is called “ambulatory” because it can usually be completed within a few minutes and patients can walk out of the clinic and return to normal activities immediately after the procedure.
What Are Varicose Veins?
Normally, blood is returned to the heart from the extremities due to the action of one-way valves in the veins, the force of the blood being pushed out by the heart, and the pumping action of the calf muscles during walking. However, sometimes one or more of the valves in a vein fail or become damaged and blood pools in the vein, causing it to become distended.
Indications for Ambulatory Phlebectomy
This treatment can be performed on any superficial branched varicose veins of the leg. The main veins, which are located deep inside the leg, cannot be treated with this procedure but they can be treated with other procedures such as sclerotherapy. Both symptomatic and asymptomatic varicose veins can be treated using ambulatory phlebectomy. A member of our team needs to observe the varicose veins and to ask about symptoms before deciding if a patient is a candidate for this procedure.
There is no need to prepare for the procedure in any way, although we may suggest stopping medication that can increase the risk of bleeding before the treatment. The area to be treated is numbed with injections of local anesthetic, and then a tiny incision is made through the skin above the vein to be removed. A special hook is inserted and used to remove a piece of the vein and this process is repeated at several locations until the entire visible varicose vein has been removed. The incisions are so tiny they do not require sutures to close and a simple bandage is applied to each incision after the procedure is complete. After placing a compression stocking over the treated leg, the patient can walk out of the clinic.
The recovery process is very straightforward. The patient needs to wear a compression stocking for about a week and should try to take it easy during that period of time. This is not a good time to go out and run a marathon, but most patients can return to work and their normal activities of daily living. There may be some bruising and swelling for a few days. All symptoms caused by the varicose veins will be relieved immediately after the procedure, and it has been permanently removed so it cannot recur although other varicose veins can form.