Varicose Veins Stripping VS Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Which Is Right For You?

State of deleware graphic looking confused about vein treatments.Vein stripping was once the go-to solution for varicose veins. However, the landscape of vein technology has since undergone an evolution. These days we have access to an array of less invasive options for addressing varicose veins, including venous ablation, VNUS, and venaseal. Today, we’ll be focusing on the advantages of ambulatory phlebectomy.


With ambulatory phlebectomy, you’ll experience minimal pain, a speedy recovery, and an impressively swift procedure. Its sheer efficiency can make vein stripping seem obsolete. But before we explore the superior benefits of phlebectomy, let’s take a moment to understand vein stripping.


Vein Stripping: An Outdated Vein Treatment?


Once the primary treatment for severe cases of varicose veins, a doctor might suggest varicose vein stripping if you are experiencing:

  • Constant pain, throbbing, and tenderness in the legs 
  • Skin sores and ulcers 
  • Blood clots
  • Bleeding from the veins

Vein stripping begins with a sequence of incisions near the varicose vein. A catheter then ties off and removes the problematic vein through an incision. The ultimate goal of this procedure is to “strip” the damaged varicose vein away from your body, guiding blood flow toward your healthier veins. Since this surgery is invasive, general anesthesia is used to prevent potential discomfort.


Why is vein stripping like holding onto a flip phone in the age of smartphones? Because of the unnecessary time commitment it requires. The procedure takes a solid 1-2 hours to conclude. And its recovery period can extend to 2-4 weeks. Meanwhile, alternative varicose vein treatments are much quicker and have virtually no recovery period. 


Need another reason to avoid the vein stripping route? Then consider these potential threats. Although typically considered a safe procedure, vein stripping carries a greater risk of complications such as nerve damage, infection, bleeding, or deep vein thrombosis. The likelihood of varicose vein recurrence stands higher when compared to more contemporary approaches. The odds of ending up with more noticeable scars are also elevated compared to other treatment methods.


Ambulatory Phlebectomy: Your Modern Solution for Vein Woes

Leaf high fiving other leaf after getting a phlebectomy

The ambulatory phlebectomy is faster and more discreet than vein stripping. Think of it as a vein extraction magic trick, utilizing the tiniest needle incisions to remove your swollen leg veins. This approach uses local anesthesia, so bid farewell to the potential nausea and temporary memory loss risks you might experience from general anesthesia. And the best part about ambulatory phlebectomy is that from start to finish, it only takes about 30 minutes.


The procedure commences with the patient standing up, allowing the doctor to pinpoint the varicose veins with a surgical marker. Once the veins are marked, the patient’s leg is prepped with an antiseptic solution and local anesthetic. As the treatment area begins to numb, the doctor makes a minimal incision over the vein. The hook enters, and voilà—the varicose vein is ousted. Any rogue fluids from the treatment area are absorbed with a pad and the vein is swathed in a compression bandage. Remarkably, many patients resume their regular activities within a mere day. And best of all, these results are permanent, allowing you to part with those once-painful veins for good.


When Is Varicose Vein Stripping Actually Necessary?


Is there a time when vein stripping might be a better option than ambulatory phlebectomy? Possibly, especially if you’re dealing with certain varicose veins linked to the great and small saphenous veins. These veins are close to the skin but are still deeper than the big, bulgy varicose veins that ambulatory phlebectomy often handles. In the past, doctors usually chose vein stripping for these deeper veins. On the other hand, ambulatory phlebectomy is more for those varicose veins you can clearly see popping up just under the skin.


It’s worth mentioning that while vein stripping can treat the cosmetic issues of visible veins, it’s mainly used for medical reasons. This is especially the case with saphenous vein reflux, a condition where faulty valves cause blood to flow backward, leading to varicose veins. But thanks to modern medical advances, less invasive methods have reduced the reliance on vein stripping. Therefore, consulting a vein specialist before making any decisions is essential. If you can avoid the hassle of a lengthy procedure with an extensive recovery period, then opting for ambulatory phlebectomy makes a lot of sense.


Out with the Old, In with the New


Ambulatory phlebectomy and vein stripping share some common ground. They both target the removal of severely swollen veins to redirect blood flow. However, ambulatory phlebectomy takes the spotlight as a modern and enhanced approach to eliminating varicose veins. In many scenarios, it steps up as a quicker and more convenient substitute for vein stripping. If ambulatory phlebectomy aligns with your varicose vein goals, seek treatment from a certified vein center that employs the latest techniques to provide you with the vein-free results you deserve.

At Delaware Advanced Vein Center, our expert medical staff has years of experience treating people with venous conditions such as varicose veins, spider veins, and more. Our dedicated team specializes in providing attentive and personalized care, something larger clinics often overlook. We welcome you to our family of satisfied patients.

Contact us today to schedule a FREE virtual consultation and vein evaluation.