Varicose veins are caused by a condition known as superficial venous insufficiency. These damaged structures are often bulging, inflamed, and ever-present at the surface of the skin. In addition to diminishing overall leg aesthetics, varicose veins can also be quite painful. The good news is that these structures are rarely critical parts of the overall circulatory system. As such, they can be surgically destroyed via controlled damage, or completely removed so that the body is forced to route blood through other passageways. Created by dermatological surgeons, ambulatory phlebectomy is a minimally-invasive procedure that is capable of removing both symptomatic and asymptomatic varicose veins. It is most often used to target larger, bulging, and more problematic veins rather than smaller structures that cause minimal inconvenience and discomfort.
How Ambulatory Phlebectomy Stacks Up to Other Vein Removal Procedures
Ambulatory phlebectomy is a safe and trusted alternative to other options in instances in which these other treatments are unsuitable for accommodating patient needs. The overarching goal of all vein procedures is to eliminate damaged veins from their place within the circulatory system so as to improve patient comfort and the aesthetics of the treatment area. Notwithstanding this fact, each procedure takes a specific approach.
Depending upon the size and severity of a person’s varicose veins, it may be advisable to use two or more of the available procedures together. This is often recommended when a single treatment type does not cause sufficient vein regression or for other cosmetic benefits that are essential for achieving individual goals. Ambulatory phlebectomy is best-suited to people who are looking to eliminate larger and more substantial structures given that this treatment is rarely feasible for use on small and inconspicuous veins. This remains true even when small and minimally problematic veins are obviously under-performing.
There are a number of prerequisites that patients will need to meet in order to qualify as candidates for this procedure. For instance, post-treatment, patients are advised to walk regularly in order to encourage proper blood flow and prevent new varicose veins from forming. They will also be advised to wear compression stockings for a set amount of time. As such, people who are incapable of walking on their own, or who cannot wear compression stockings for extended periods of time, are not considered to be acceptable candidates for this procedure. Maintaining moderate levels of physical activity and avoiding prolonged periods of either sitting or standing are some of the most effective methods in post-treatment varicose vein prevention.
What to Expect Before and During Ambulatory Phlebectomy
Before treatment, the vein specialist will carefully review your medical history and perform a comprehensive physical exam. The consultation appointment gives the professional and patient the opportunity to discuss the potential risks of this treatment, feasible expectations for treatment outcomes, and other considerations. At this time, the professional will take a more individualized approach to determining candidacy by reviewing the information gleaned from the in-office examination. This may not be a suitable procedure for anyone for whom varicose veins are not the primary circulatory problem. As an example, these under-performing structures may be connected to other veins that require more urgent attention. Moreover, any existing clots within deep or superficial veins will likely need to be resolved before an ambulatory phlebectomy procedure can be scheduled.
The actual procedure is performed under local anesthesia. It is typically a quick, in-office treatment. The professional will not begin removing damaged veins until the patient has confirmed that the targeted area is completely numb and void of all sensation. This is a multi-step process that includes outlining and marking the veins to be treated, numbing the targeted area, and then carefully gaining access and removing the targeted structures one segment at a time before the treatment site is closed. Compression stockings will most likely be immediately applied.
What You Should Expect After Your Procedure
One of the many benefits of ambulatory phlebectomy is that patients do not need to wait for controlled damage to cause vein regression. Unlike sclerotherapy and other options, this procedure does not simply destroy the vein walls so that the targeted structures become increasingly less noticeable over time. Rather than being left behind as residual scar tissues, bulging and visible varicose veins are effectively and permanently removed. Due to this fact, patients are often able to appreciate the aesthetic benefits of these procedures early on. After they have spent the set amount of time wearing the compression garments to minimize swelling, and to prevent undue stress on the treatment area, the legs and calves that have been addressed will look significantly smoother, and they’ll have far fewer areas that are visibly impacted by bulging veins and the associated discoloration.
You will be encouraged to resume your regular daily activities as quickly as possible post-treatment. You should, however, avoid all forms of heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for as long as directed. You will also want to take special care to keep the treated areas clean and dry during the formative stages of your post-treatment phase. This will both prevent infection at all treatment sites and help support proper healing. The healing process for ambulatory phlebectomy is generally a very easy one, especially for patients who are diligent in following all of the post-procedure instructions that the vein specialist has supplied.
Conservative At-Home Solutions to Complement Ambulatory Phlebectomy
Every treatment for superficial venous insufficiency and the resulting varicose veins should always be at least two-pronged. In addition to any invasive or non-surgical procedure for minimizing the appearance of varicose veins or eliminating these damaged structures outright, there should also be a plan for ongoing prevention. After all, no varicose vein treatment is capable of arresting the formation of newly damaged veins outright. The best methods of prevention are almost always strategic lifestyle changes that are aimed at improving the individual’s circulatory and general health.
Weight loss is commonly recommended as part of the post-treatment prevention plan. This limits the amount of stress being placed on veins in the lower extremities. It also allows for the adoption of dietary habits that support healing, recovery, and all-around good health. Patients are advised to regularly alternate their activities throughout the day so that they are never standing or sitting for extended amounts of time. Getting up and walking around a bit after sitting at your desk at work is a very effective strategy for preventing pooling blood in weak or under-performing veins.
Prior to your treatment, the vein specialist may give you a list of post-procedure steps that you can take for ongoing prevention. Depending upon the severity of your venous insufficiency and other factors, you may be additionally advised to continue using compression stockings whenever long periods of standing or sitting are required.
Are You a Good Candidate for Ambulatory Phlebectomy?
Candidacy for ambulatory phlebectomy is determined on a case by case basis. Ideal candidates for this procedure are able to walk comfortably and unassisted. They are also both willing and able to wear graduated compression garments for the recommended period of time after the treatment. The targeted veins should be both bulging and sufficiently large in size for ease of removal using this treatment. If you only have very small and inconspicuous varicose veins, this may not be the most efficient method of treatment. In these instances, there may be alternative at-home methods for mitigating superficial varicose veins that entail less risk and require absolutely no recovery. In many cases, at-home methods paired with another type of professional treatment is the best option. It all depends on the unique case.
It is also important for the targeted veins to be the primary consequence of the patient’s venous insufficiency. These structures should not be attached to larger and higher-performing veins that have noticeable problems of their own. Scheduling a consultation at our office is the surest way to determine whether or not this is the best vein removal procedure for you. This will give the vein expert the chance to learn more about the condition of your veins, your general health, and all relevant medical history.
What Ambulatory Phlebectomy Can Do for You
Many people pursue this procedure in an effort to improve both leg aesthetics and their general comfort. That’s because varicose veins can create a frequent, painful, burning sensation across all of the affected areas. In addition to swelling and other forms of physical discomfort, this burning sensation can make weak veins downright unbearable. Following ambulatory phlebectomy, the treated veins will no longer be present. This means that they will no longer swell or cause any other form of physical irritation and inconvenience. Moreover, you will no longer be limited in terms of what you can comfortably wear. Once this procedure is complete and the resulting recovery process has come to an end, your legs will likely be smooth and blemish-free. This will allow you to wear short skirts, dresses, pants, and other revealing garments without feeling embarrassed or self-conscious. With that being said, it’s important to be aware that results vary from patient to patient based on a number of factors.
Getting Started with Professional Vein Treatment
If you are looking for a safe and effective way to get rid of large and bulging varicose veins, get in touch with the team at Pacific Vein Care sooner rather than later. The sooner you are able to address your venous issues, the sooner you can enjoy the benefits of living a hassle-free life. Ambulatory phlebectomy may be just what you have been looking for to feel your best again.
Pacific Vein Care is conveniently located in McHenry, IL. Contact our office today to set upa consultation!