Learn about treatment options for varicose veins.
Ambulatory phlebectomy is an outpatient procedure developed by dermatologic surgeons that removes superficial veins through small, slit-like incisions in the skin.
Why choose ambulatory phlebectomy for varicose veins
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a good choice for treating both asymptomatic and symptomatic superficial veins from the skin. It is usually performed on larger veins that bulge above the surface of the skin and varicose veins. It also rarely is used on smaller veins.
Ambulatory phlebectomy may be combined with other therapies in the treatment of venous disease. The procedure is not recommended for patients unable to walk on their own or wear compression stockings.
What you should know about ambulatory phlebectomy for varicose veins
The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and patients should not feel any pain during treatment. The procedure involves four steps:
- The veins to be treated are outlined or marked.
- Local anesthesia is injected into the skin.
- Bulging veins are surgically removed, segment by segment, through small incisions.
- Graduated compression stockings are worn for a week or more after surgery.
As with any treatment, there are risks associated it, though they are minimized in the hands of a qualified ASDS dermatologist. These include:
- Temporary bruising and swelling.
- Inflammation caused by small segments of vein that remain in the skin.
- Skin numbness caused by injury to adjoining sensory nerves.
- Allergic reaction to local anesthesia.
The average cost for ambulatory phlebectomy ranges from $1,000 to several thousand dollars per leg, depending on the number of veins to be treated. In symptomatic cases, varicose vein therapy is considered a medical procedure, and a portion of the cost usually is covered by medical insurance companies.
How to prepare for the procedure
Before the procedure, an ASDS dermatologist will usually review the patient’s medical history and conduct a physical exam. This is the time for the doctor and patient to discuss expectations, potential risks and outcomes of the procedure. Your doctor will evaluate such factors as:
- Are the varicose veins the main problem, or are they connected to other veins that may need to be treated first?
- Are there clots in the superficial or deep veins that may need to be addressed?
- Are other procedures needed in addition to ambulatory phlebectomy?
What to expect after the procedure
Patients can walk immediately after surgery and carry on normal daily activities. Patients must wear the graduated compression stockings as directed by their dermatologist. Temporary bruising and swelling in the treatment area is normal. Pain is generally minimal as long as graduated compression stockings are worn.
Find a doctor for your ambulatory phlebectomy for varicose veins
Visit “Find a dermatologic surgeon” and choose “Ambulatory Phlebectomy” from the dropdown menu. In 2013, ASDS doctors performed nearly 224,000 vein treatments, up from 146,000 in 2012. Because ASDS doctors are trained in a variety of the best and latest techniques, they are the most qualified to evaluate and select the best treatment choice based on the individual patient’s condition.