Vein stripping with ligation; Vein stripping with avulsion; Vein stripping with ablation; Vein ligation and stripping; Vein surgery; Venous insufficiency - vein stripping; Venous reflux - vein stripping; Venous ulcer - veins
Vein stripping is surgery to remove varicose veins in the legs.
Varicose veins are swollen, twisted, and enlarged veins that you can see under the skin. They are often red or blue in color. They usually appear in the legs but can occur in other parts of the body.
Normally, valves in your veins keep your blood flowing up toward the heart, so the blood does not collect in one place. The valves in varicose veins are either damaged or missing. This causes the veins to become filled with blood, particularly when you are standing.
Vein stripping is used to remove or tie off a large vein in the leg called the superficial saphenous vein. This helps treat varicose veins.
Vein stripping usually takes about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. You may receive either:
The provider may recommend vein stripping for:
Today, doctors are rarely performing vein stripping surgeries because there are newer, non-surgical ways to treat varicose veins that don't require general anesthesia and are done without an overnight hospital stay. These treatments are less painful, have better results, and have a much faster recovery time.
Vein stripping is generally safe. Ask your provider about any problems that might occur.
Risks of anesthesia and surgery in general are:
The risks from vein stripping include:
Always tell your provider:
During the days before your surgery:
On the day of your surgery:
Your legs will be wrapped with bandages to control swelling and bleeding for 3 to 5 days after surgery. You may need to keep them wrapped for several weeks.
Surgical vein stripping reduces pain and improves the appearance of your leg. Rarely, vein stripping causes scars. Mild leg swelling can occur. Be sure you regularly wear compression stockings.
Freischlag JA, Heller JA. Venous disease. In: Townsend CM, Beauchamp RD, Evers BM, Mattox KL, eds. Sabiston Textbook of Surgery. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 64.
Iafrati MD, O'Donnell TF. Varicose veins: surgical treatment. In: Sidawy AN, Perler BA, eds. Rutherford's Vascular Surgery and Endovascular Therapy. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 154.
Maleti O, Lugli M, Perrin MR. Role of surgery in the treatment of varicose veins. In: Goldman MP, Weiss RA, eds. Sclerotherapy. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 10.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 6/16/2020
Reviewed By: Deepak Sudheendra, MD, RPVI, FSIR, Director of DVT & Complex Venous Disease Program, Assistant Professor of Interventional Radiology & Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, with an expertise in Vascular Interventional Radiology & Surgical Critical Care, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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