Current healthcare patients live in a unique time of unprecedented levels of medical advances that affect so many healthcare fields. Decreased invasiveness of procedures has paved the way for patients to experience less pain, shorter recovery time, lower infection rates, and so much more. Phlebology (the treatment of varicose veins) has dramatically improved in the last 25 years thanks to a variety of subspecialty advancements.
There has been a welcome advance away from the past days of hospital-based vein stripping with today’s minimally invasive vein care. During vein stripping, a surgeon uses a wire attached to the vein where it joins the deep veins and then pulls it near the middle of the calf.
Vein stripping also requires general anesthesia. Usually needed for more major surgeries, general anesthesia comes with risks, and less invasive models should be used when available. Vein stripping and its required use of general anesthesia are now obsolete unless there is a particular medical reason a patient cannot be a candidate for minimally invasive vein care in an outpatient setting. Today’s techniques for treating varicose veins involve endovenous (inside the vein) ablation using laser or radiofrequency technology with no general anesthesia and only minimal medication is administered to provide comfort during the procedure.
Today’s minimally invasive treatments will usually only require the use of compression stockings under the supervision of your vein care physician and periodic follow-up appointments scheduled at your convenience. Furthermore, minimally invasive endovenous procedures only require tiny incisions, whereas vein stripping requires larger incisions (closed up by stitches) that might leave behind scars.
Please note: Patients who are not satisfied with the results of previous vein stripping might still be a candidate for improvement with today’s minimally invasive endovenous techniques.
If you are considering having your varicose veins evaluated – make sure to research all providers before undergoing treatment, as all physicians have various medical and surgical backgrounds. There are even non-physicians performing minimally invasive vein care. At best, look for a board-certified physician or surgeon who practices in an accredited vein care facility.