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What Is Phlebectomy?

What Is Phlebectomy?

If you have bothersome varicose veins, you might have wondered if there is any way to safely remove them. A phlebectomy can be a highly effective solution for ridding yourself of these uncomfortable and unsightly veins for good. At the Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, VA, we often recommend this safe and effective treatment to our patients, with excellent results.

Finding a Permanent Solution for Varicose Veins

A phlebectomy is a treatment designed to relieve much of the discomfort, swelling, and discoloration that patients experience when they have varicose veins. These types of veins often bulge visibly underneath the skin and can be quite distressing for those suffering from them. Visible veins are not only a cosmetic issue – they can cause severe discomfort that often gets worse over time.

Thankfully there is a very effective treatment that can be performed on an outpatient basis. A phlebectomy essentially involves extracting the entire vein, section by section, through tiny incisions made in the treatment area. The complete removal of the vein not only addresses the troubling cosmetic issue, but also prevents related problems such as leg swelling, bleeding, and blood clot formation. All this, without any scarring or downtime.

When Is a Phlebectomy Recommended? 

Your doctor may recommend this type of vein removal treatment if your varicose veins are particularly large, unsightly, uncomfortable, or if they put you at risk for other health issues. In some cases, shrinking the vein is not enough and it is recommended to completely remove it. Likewise, your doctor might recommend performing a vein removal in combination with other vein therapies.

Cosmetic vs Physical Issues

Many patients do not necessarily experience pain from their varicose veins, but they are embarrassed by the appearance of these often very noticeable protrusions. In these cases, vein removal can dramatically improve a patient’s self esteem and confidence. While full vein removal is one option for these patients, we have other non-invasive therapies that can also help to significantly reduce the appearance of varicose veins.

It is often the case, though, that varicose veins eventually go from being a strictly cosmetic issue to a physical one. While these veins can be found in many parts of the body, they are most typically seen on the legs, which is also where they tend to cause the most discomfort since legs bear much of the body’s weight. If the dull ache from these veins is making it harder for you to walk, or is keeping you up at night, then your doctor will definitely recommend removal.

Vein Removal Options

There are two types of phlebectomy for patients with varicose veins to consider. An Ambulatory Phlebectomy is the least invasive of the two and can be performed on an outpatient basis. A Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy is more invasive but is performed under general or regional anesthesia in the hospital. We generally recommend the ambulatory treatment because it is very effective and without the risks associated with full sedation.

There are also other non-invasive varicose vein treatments that can be discussed at your consultation. Depending on the specifics of your condition, brand-name treatments such as Varithena, ClariVein, and VenaSeal can deliver very good results. These treatments tend to shrink veins as opposed to removing them completely, and can be suitable for less severe cases.

How Vein Removal Works

The ambulatory treatment involves removing varicose veins from the leg through micro-incisions that are so small they will not leave any scarring behind. There are absolutely no stitches required. Larger veins are removed in small sections using a tool with a tiny hook on the end. Once a vein is removed, it cannot grow back, so this is a very effective treatment for patients looking for a more permanent solution.

What to Expect at Your Appointment

The veins targeted for removal will be marked with a pen while you are still standing up, so that they are at their most visible. After you lie down, a local anesthetic will be applied to the treatment areas. You will be awake throughout the appointment but should feel no discomfort.

Even if you have several veins to remove, the entire session should take less than an hour. If you have many veins or a more complex condition, two or more sessions might be required. After your treatment is complete, your incisions will be firmly wrapped with a compression garment to encourage blood flow. It is recommended to leave this garment in place for at least 24 hours after your appointment, and to ensure regular compression in the days ahead.

What To Expect After Your Appointment 

There should be no significant downtime although we do recommend avoiding strenuous activity for a couple of weeks following treatment. You should be able to walk normally right after your appointment. Compression socks or stockings are a great way to keep the treatment area stabilized and improve circulation, but there are otherwise no special instructions that you will need to follow.

Many patients report that they feel immediate relief from some of the intense discomfort they had previously experienced from their condition. As soon as the problem veins are gone, much of the pressure and swelling in the leg disappears. It may take a couple of weeks, however, for the full positive results to be evident.

Long-Term Results

While vein removal typically has good long-term outcomes, there is the possibility that other varicose veins might form in the future. There is also the possibility that not all the veins you wish to treat will be suitable for this type of therapy. The possibility of combining phlebectomy with other treatments such as radiofrequency venous ablation might be required for you to achieve the complete result you are looking for.

Who Is a Good Candidate?

Anyone who does not have a blood clotting disorder should be a good candidate for this treatment. If your varicose veins are smaller, they might respond well to other treatments that we noted earlier. It is important to have a consultation to review your medical history, examine your problem areas, and discuss the best options for your particular case.

What You Need To Know About Varicose Veins

There are several risk factors for varicose veins, which tend to be more common among women. Age, family history, pregnancy, and tobacco use can all contribute to their formation. Certain lifestyle factors, such as being sedentary or overweight, can make a person more likely to develop varicose veins.
However, the reality is that veins lose elasticity over time, meaning that any one of us can develop these painful and unsightly veins as we age.

Where Varicose Veins Tend To Appear

These swollen, protruding veins most commonly appear on the thighs, calves, and ankles. With their blue or purple color they can appear quite alarming, but the reality is that varicose veins do not usually pose a serious health risk (although in some rare cases they can lead to blood clots).

These veins can, however, become quite painful over time, which is why it’s a good idea to address this problem before they begin to cause you discomfort. Once varicose veins appear, they only get worse, not better. This is unfortunately not a problem that you can expect to go away on its own.

You Don’t Have To Live with Varicose Veins!

If you are suffering with painful, bulging varicose veins, contact us today at the Commonwealth Vein Center in Colonial Heights, VA. Our expert staff can answer any questions you have and schedule your consultation. Vein therapy is all we do and we are on the leading edge of the latest treatments and technologies to help our patients live their best lives. 

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