Vein stripping and vein surgery explained
Vein stripping: what is it?
Vein stripping, has been the mainstay of surgical varicose vein treatment for the last century.
The treatment technique required a general anaesthetic, a large incision was made in the groin to allow for the saphenous vein to identified and tied off.
A wire stripper was placed down the saphenous vein initially to the level of the ankle and in more recent years to the level of the knee to minimise nerve injury with this surgery. The wire stripper would be pulled out through the lower incision stripping the vein from the level of the groin and ripping off all the side branches as it was removed.
Significant bruising and pain following surgery was not uncommon with patients often needing up to 2 weeks off work. Aside from the anaesthetic and DVT risks, the worst thing about this surgery was the 50% recurrence rate at 5 years.
Many international organisations and vein experts now believe stripping should rarely be performed and only in the extremely unusual case that a patient is not suited to endovenous laser ablation.
Alternatives to vein stripping
Watch our video: why vein stripping is an outdated treatment
Vein stripping can now be replaced by minimally invasive and non-surgical vein treatment options.
Endovenous Laser Ablation is now recognised as the “gold standard” treatment to replace traditional vein stripping. Under ultrasound control, a fine laser fibre is inserted into the abnormal vein to be closed. Once the laser fibre is in place, local anaesthetic is placed around the vein. The laser is activated and then slowly withdrawn. Heat destroys the lining of the vein wall, the vein is later resorbed by the body.
Cyanoacrylate adhesive vein closure (medical superglue such as Venaseal (™) and Venablock (™)) is gaining popularity as a minimally invasive non-thermal means of vein closure. Advantages of this technique include near painless procedure and reduced need for stockings after treatment in some cases.
Ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy injections can be used collapse smaller abnormal varicose veins but on their own, are generally a substandard treatment for larger veins which may be more effectively treated with our gentle removal under local anaesthetic and ultrasound guidance (Ultrasound Guided Ambulatory Phlebectomy).
Why consider alternatives to vein stripping
Vein stripping and vein surgery may affect your everyday life because of the longer recovery times involved in those procedures.
The latest, innovative treatment options do not require hospitalisation, and you can often return to your normal activities immediately after your treatment.
With improved recurrence rates, you will also be able to enjoy healthy, beautiful legs for longer.
About The Vein Clinic
Dr Luke Matar at The Vein Clinic nurtures a deep personal commitment to helping Perth patients with minimally invasive vein treatments. He experienced vein problems himself as a patient, and has witnessed family members suffer from the same conditions. This is why he dedicated his study and research to improving and applying the widest range of vein treatments available in Australia at The Vein Clinic in Subiaco.
Dr Matar is at the forefront of minimally invasive treatment in Australia and indeed the world.
He has presented original work in this field at international conferences and has had five original papers accepted for presentation at the prestigious international UIP conference in Melbourne in February 2018.
If you have been considering vein stripping or vein treatment, contact The Vein Clinic to get a thorough ultrasound assessment and to discuss your minimally invasive treatment options. We offer a level of expertise in this area that is second to none.