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What Exactly is Ambulatory Phlebectomy?

What Exactly is Ambulatory Phlebectomy?

Patients today who suffer from varicose veins are fortunate to have a number of treatment options for getting rid of these unwanted vessels.  One of them is a minimally invasive procedure known as an ambulatory phlebectomy.  Some vein doctors refer to it as a microphlebectomy, miniphlebectomy or stab phlebectomy.

Understanding Varicose Veins

These knotted veins sometimes resemble a cauliflower.  Usually dark blue or purple, they are the result of a medical condition known as chronic venous insufficiency where one-way valves in the veins fail allowing blood to leak backwards, pressurizing the legs.

Vein specialists who treat this condition are vascular surgeons. They have many methods at their disposal to treat varicose veins in addition to a phlebectomy.  Two examples are the Venefit® procedure, EVLT, and nonthermal ablation and “stripping” surgery that your parents or grandparents may have had is no longer necessary.

Treatments fall into two types. Simple changes include avoiding long periods of standing or sitting, losing weight, keeping legs elevated while at rest, and wearing compression stockings.  Many people improve with these measures, but when more is needed, veins doctors can prescribe a number of medical and surgical options.  The Mayo Clinic indicates that the most common methods to treat more severe varicose veins include:

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Laser therapy
  • Phlebectomy
  • Catheter-assisted heat
  • Endoscopic vein surgery
  • Vein stripping

How Ambulatory Phlebectomy Treatment Works

Patients who are good candidates for a ambulatory phlebectomy normally undergo this procedure on an outpatient basis, according to RadiologyInfo.org.  Doctors can perform this in an office setting  with local anesthesia.

After the staff cleanses the targeted area, the patient receives a local anesthetic. The surgeon makes a small puncture in the skin and then removes the targeted vein.  The implement used to remove the vessel is known as a phlebectomy hook and resembles a crochet hook.  Depending on patient’s vein pattern, the surgeon might combine a phlebectomy with other procedures such as an endovenous ablation. The incisions used are small, typically the size of a pen tip.

Most sessions last between half an hour to an hour.  Individuals with an extensive network of varicose veins sometimes need two or three sessions, says the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center.  It is important for patients to realize that while phlebectomy removes diseased vessels, it cannot prevent new varicose veins from forming.

Most patients report little if any pain during the procedure.  Incisions are so tiny that they require no stitches.  After the treatment, the vein clinic staff wrap the treated leg into a special compression wrap.  Patients must wear compression stockings for a period of two weeks.  They are able to walk immediately after treatment.

Before discharge, the vascular surgeon will provide a list of post-treatment instructions. Most people are able to return to nearly all their normal activities the day after the procedure.

Benefits of Venefit

Varicose veins are both unsightly and painful. If you suffer from this condition, you may experience many different symptoms, including pain, cramping, heaviness, weakness, restlessness, swelling and more. Unfortunately, if varicose veins are left untreated, they may even get worse over time.

Luckily, even the worst cases of varicose veins will often respond to treatment. Although a number of treatment options exist, many of our patients opt for the Venefit Procedure.

What is Venefit?

The Venefit Procedure, also referred to as “radiofrequency vein closure,” is a procedure that uses radiofrequency waves to treat varicose veins. During this procedure, a vascular surgeon uses a thin catheter to deliver the radiofrequency energy into the vein. This heats collagen fibers within the vein, which causes it to close off and redirect blood to healthier vessels. To ensure that the catheter is in the right position, the procedure is performed with ultrasound guidance.

Benefits for Patients

Venefit offers a number of benefits for patients. Some of these benefits include:

  • No general anesthesia. – The Venefit Procedure can be performed under only local anesthesia.
  • Short procedure. – In most cases, the Venefit Procedure can be completed in under a half hour.
  • Good results. – Once varicose veins are closed with radiofrequency energy, they shrink and fade from view. This can improve both cosmetic appearance and physical symptoms.
  • Quick recovery. – Patients are able to walk immediately after the procedure is complete and can return to normal activities without much downtime.
  • Minimal discomfort and bruising. – This procedure causes less pain and bruising than some other treatment options.

How Do I Learn More?

Although the Venefit Procedure offers many benefits, it is not the best option for every patient. To find out whether Venefit is right for you, you must first meet with a qualified vein specialist to discuss your condition. After a physical examination and interview, the specialist will be able to recommend treatments that will work for you. To schedule a consultation with a board certified vascular surgeon, contact Northwest Vein & Aesthetic Center today.

The Advantages of Endovenous Laser Ablation

Commonly known as EVLT, this laser treatment method is the most popular and widely used method technique to destroy varicose veins. Endovenous Laser Ablation uses laser fiber, a small needle and an ultrasound device to eliminate unsightly and painful varicose veins. The needle is inserted into the vein, guided by ultrasound to the precise area in the diseased vein. A laser fiber is fed through the needle and heat is applied as it is slowly pulled out of the varicose vein, causing it to collapse. The sealed vein is then broken down and gradually carried away by the body. Circulation is maintained as blood is re-routed through nearby healthy veins. Legs feel better almost immediately and will begin to look better over the next days and weeks as the vein is reabsorbed into the body.

Why is Endovenous Laser Ablation so Popular?

EVLT is a very effective, minimally invasive treatment to provide relief to patients suffering from pain, leg swelling and unsightly bulging leg veins that signal varicose veins. EVLT can be performed under local anesthetic and accomplished in less than an hour. EVLT requires little downtime needed to recover from the procedure and little to no post-procedure pain. Patients may experience some bruising from the procedure. EVLT can be performed with different types of lasers, so your vascular surgeon will choose the best laser for your needs. The EVLT treatment is a much more convenient, faster, cheaper and less risky (because no general anesthesia is involved and treatment is minimally invasive) than earlier alternatives such as vein stripping surgery.

Other Modern Varicose Vein Treatment Methods

  • Venefit is another popular option to eliminate bulging veins from the legs or other areas of the body. Venefit, uses radiofrequencies (RF) to heat and destroy varicose veins. Compared to laser, patients experience less bruising and pain with the Venefit procedure (formerly known as VNUS Closure).   The newest  varicose vein treatment is Nonthermal closure, a procedure that relies on chemicaly energy  to seal veins without heat.
  • For the largest varicose veins, microphlebectomy is a minimally invasive method used to reduce the bulge and smooth the skin.  In this treatment, the veins are actually removed through tiny incisions (no stitches required). These are actually small punctures in the skin, which allow the veins to be pulled out and removed from the limb. This is different from the old stripping surgery, and local anesthesia only is needed for this in-office procedure and patients can walk out of the office afterwards.
  • Small varicose veins and tiny spider veins can be effectively eliminated with sclerotherapy. This involves a liquid of foam chemical that, once injected into the vein, closes it off so that it can be carried away by the body.
  • Vein surgery has been mostly eliminated and replaced by the minimally invasive treatments described here. However, in some cases, where vein disease is extensive, surgery may be required. Expert vascular surgeons will recommend and perform vein surgery only when it is absolutely necessary in a minority of cases

For an assessment of your vascular system and to learn about treatment options, contact the vein doctors at  Northwest Vein & Aesthetic Center in Gig Harbor.

How a Vein Surgeon Uses Sclerotherapy to Treat Spider Veins

Spider veins are an annoyance to many people, particularly those whose relatives have suffered from the same condition.  Fortunately, a vein surgeon can easily treat these vessels with injections that cause them to disappear.

What Exactly Are Spider Veins?

Most people notice these unsightly veins on their legs or face.  They are usually no larger than 1 mm and might appear red, blue, or purple.  In most cases, the patient has no serious underlying disorder.

Spider veins and varicose veins are not the same condition.  Spider veins are smaller and are located closer to the skin’s surface than varicose veins, according to the UCLA School of Medicine.  Their most common causes include:

  • Family history
  • Gaining weight
  • Pregnancy
  • Other hormonal shifts
  • Extended standing or sitting

Sclerotherapy is the Preferred Vein Treatment

Vein doctors consider sclerotherapy the preferred treatment for getting rid of spider veins.  It is also used for smaller varicose veins.

This procedure involves injecting a vein with a fine needle bearing a special substance known as a sclerosing agent.  Doctors at the University of Michigan Vein Centers report once a vascular surgeon injects this agent, the chemical causes the wall of the targeted vein to become inflamed.  This results in scarring and sealing off the vein so that it can no longer transport blood.

Physicians consider sclerotherapy a non-invasive, outpatient procedure that is safe and has few complications.  Once an injection has sealed a vein, it eventually fades from view.

What to Expect

Patients who are good candidates for sclerotherapy will receive detailed pre- and post-operative instructions from their vein surgeons.  Most experience little discomfort during the procedure beyond minor cramping or stinging when the doctor inserts the needle, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Wearing compression stockings for a period determined by the vein surgeon is essential.  Patients can usually resume normal activity not considered strenuous.

The most common temporary side effects at the injection site are bruising, small skin sores, darkened skin, tiny red spots that are actually blood vessels, and raised red areas.

Spider vein treatment typically produces visible results between three and six weeks after sclerotherapy.  The procedure has a success rate for getting rid of targeted veins.

It is important for patients to realize that this treatment will not prevent new spider veins from forming.  Many opt for periodic treatment.

A consultation at a vein clinic can also prove helpful for patients suffering from varicose veins.  Vascular surgeons are able to bring relief from both cosmetic issues and discomfort linked to these veins thanks to state-of-the-art treatments such as the Venefit procedure and the VNUS Closure.