What happened to vein stripping? Vein ligation and stripping was a common practice in treating venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Incisions were made along the course of the targeted vein […]
What happened to vein stripping? Vein ligation and stripping was a common practice in treating venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Incisions were made along the course of the targeted vein and before using blunt devices to physically remove the vein in piecemeal. This procedure was reserved for large veins like the great saphenous vein. The procedure often required general anesthesia. Many of our patients are relieved to hear that we have a minimally invasive alternative. As opposed to physically removing large venous structures from the body, we used thermal ablation. A small cathether is placed inside the target vein (after numbing the skin). The tip of the catheter emits radiofrequency energy that essentially heats and closes the vein. Once the vein is closed, the catheter is removed. Similarly, glue (Venaseal) can be used instead of radiofrequency energy to close the vein. Closing the vein accomplishes the same goal as stripping: this problematic vein is no longer a part of the patient’s venous circulation. This allows blood flow to be redirected toward healthier veins which relieves the patient’s symptoms. Minimally invasive procedures have replaced many surgical procedures in the past few decades. This is a huge benefit for our patients who are no longer anxious about having a vein stripped.