Ambulatory phlebectomy microsurgery

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:49 pm
Phlebectomy (flee-BEHK-toh-mee) is a procedure for removing larger varicose veins. Varicose veins are those in which the valves no longer function to keep blood from flowing backwards in the legs. Gravity then causes blood to collect, enlarging the vein. Because the valves can't be repaired, the only treatment is to remove the vein. Unlike older methods such as vein stripping, phlebectomy requires only tiny incisions and thus causes much less scarring. It also tends to provide longer-lasting results. The technique is performed on an outpatient basis under local anesthesia. In this microsurgery, small incisions are made along the vein, which is severed and gently pulled out in sections with a hook-like instrument. Typically, no stitches are required and the incisions are closed with sterile tape. Once the diseased vein is gone, the body will re-route the blood through healthy vessels. Most patients experience only minor discomfort after surgery and are usually back to their normal routine within a day. During the first day, the legs are kept elevated and a compression garment or bandage is worn for about a week, to help reduce any bleeding or swelling. Minor bruising may occur but this generally fades in a few weeks.
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