What It Is

A phlebectomy is the surgical removal of varicose veins that have become unsightly or uncomfortable. Your doctor may recommend a phlebectomy to treat symptoms of varicose veins, such as leg pain and heaviness. A phlebectomy can also help prevent related problems, such as skin sores, leg swelling, bleeding, and blood clots in the legs. A phlebectomy can also improve your appearance.

Phlebectomy is a surgery with risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about all your treatment choices before having a phlebectomy.

Types of phlebectomy

The types of phlebectomy, or vein removal, procedures include:

  • Ambulatory phlebectomy (also called micro-incision phlebectomy, hook phlebectomy, stab avulsion phlebectomy, and microphlebectomy) involves removing portions of varicose veins through small incisions using a hook. It is usually performed in a doctor’s office using a local anesthetic.

  • Transilluminated powered phlebectomy (TIPP) removes portions of varicose veins using tools that are inserted into the skin near the veins. They include a lighted tool that gives the doctor a good view of the vein’s location, and a tool that breaks up the vein and suctions it out of the leg.

This type of phlebectomy is usually performed using general or regional anesthesia in a hospital or surgical center. It might require fewer incisions and you may have a shorter recovery time than ambulatory phlebectomy.

Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: Nov 14, 2012

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View Sources

Medical References

  1. Ambulatory phlebectomy information. American Society for Dermatologic Surgery.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions. The American College of Phlebology.
  3. Phlebectomy of Varicose Veins.
  4. Varicose Vein Treatment [Transcript]. Johns Hopkins Medicine.
  5. Varicose veins and spider veins fact sheet.
  6. What Are Varicose Veins? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

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