Vein ligation and stripping is surgery to remove one or more varicose veins. These are twisted, swollen veins near the surface of the skin. They are most common in the legs and ankles.
You will probably be asleep during the surgery, but it also can be done while you are awake. If you are awake, you will get medicine to numb your leg and prevent pain.
The doctor will make a small cut at the top of the varicose vein near the groin and another small cut lower in the leg. These cuts are called incisions. The doctor will tie off the vein to stop blood flow through it. This is called ligation. Then the doctor will gently pull out the tied-off section of the vein through the incisions. This is called vein stripping. If needed, the doctor also may make other small incisions along the leg to take out smaller varicose veins. The doctor will close the incisions in your leg with stitches or strips of tape.
You will probably go home the same day as the surgery. You will need to take it easy at home for 3 to 7 days after the surgery. The amount of time it takes for you to recover depends on how many veins are removed.
After surgery, problems caused by the varicose veins should go away. Other veins in the legs will take over the work of the veins that are removed.
Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.
Surgery can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for surgery.
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Current as of: March 20, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& A. Evan Eyler, MD, MPH - Family Medicine, Psychiatry
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