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Surgery for Varicose Veins

If you have large varicose veins, surgery may be the best option. However, it will not prevent new varicose veins from forming. Surgery is most often performed in a hospital or surgery center on an outpatient basis.

A suture placed where the greater saphenous meets the femoral vein.
During ligation, a suture may be placed where the greater saphenous meets the femoral vein. A damaged portion of vein is sometimes removed.

Varicose Vein Surgery

Your surgery will be tailored to your needs. Varicose veins may be tied off (ligation), destroyed, or removed. Blood will then flow through the healthy veins. One or more of the following techniques may be used:

Ligation

In some cases, the surgeon may tie off the greater saphenous vein. Smaller branching veins may also be tied off or removed.

Microphlebectomy or ambulatory phlebectomy

A special hook is used to gently take out a varicose vein through tiny incisions. Microphlebectomy may be done in your doctor’s office.

Sclerotherapy

Your doctor will inject the varicose vein with a special chemical that will quickly close the vein from the inside. This is particularly useful for smaller veins.

Stripping

All or part of the vein may be removed with a stripping instrument.

Ablation (laser or radiofrequency)

A catheter will be placed inside the greater saphenous vein. Energy or heat released from the catheter will make the vein walls collapse and stick together, stopping all blood flow through the vein.

Know about the risks

Your doctor will talk with you about the risks of surgery. These include:

  • Bleeding or swelling

  • A sense of numbness, burning, or tingling in areas near the procedure

  • Edema or swelling in the legs

  • Clots in the deep veins or lungs

Image of microphlebectomy in which a special hook is used to remove a varicose vein.
During microphlebectomy, a special hook is used to remove a varicose vein.

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Turley, Ray, BSN, MSN
Last Review Date: 3/24/2014
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