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What It Is

A phlebectomy is the surgical removal of varicose veins that have become unsightly or uncomfortable. Your doctor may recommend a phlebectomy to treat symptoms of varicose veins, such as leg pain and heaviness. A phlebectomy can also help prevent related problems, such as skin sores, leg swelling, bleeding, and blood clots in the legs. A phlebectomy can also improve your appearance.

Phlebectomy is a surgery with risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having a phlebectomy.

Types of phlebectomy

The types of phlebectomy, or vein removal, procedures include:

  • Ambulatory phlebectomy (also called micro-incision phlebectomy, hook phlebectomy, stab avulsion phlebectomy, and microphlebectomy) involves removing portions of varicose veins through small incisions using a hook. It is usually performed in a doctor’s office using a local anesthetic.

  • Transilluminated powered phlebectomy (TIPP) removes portions of varicose veins using tools that are inserted into the skin near the veins. They include a lighted tool that gives the doctor a good view of the vein’s location, and a tool that breaks up the vein and suctions it out of the leg.

This type of phlebectomy is usually performed using general or regional anesthesia in a hospital or surgical center. It might require fewer incisions and you may have a shorter recovery time than ambulatory phlebectomy.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Nov 14, 2012

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Medical References

  1. Ambulatory phlebectomy information. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery. http://www.asds.net/AmbulatoryPhlebectomyInformation.aspx.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions. The American College of Phlebology. http://www.phlebology.org/patientinfo/faq.html.
  3. Phlebectomy of Varicose Veins. RadiologyInfo.org http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?pg=phlebectomy.
  4. Varicose Vein Treatment [Transcript]. Johns Hopkins Medicine. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/heart_vascular_institute/media/video/transcriptions/varicose_vein_tre....
  5. Varicose veins and spider veins fact sheet. Womenshealth.gov. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/varicose-spider-veins.cfm.
  6. What Are Varicose Veins? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/vv/.

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