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Varicose Veins: Phlebectomy or Stab Avulsion

Topic Overview

Phlebectomy (also known as microphlebectomy, ambulatory phlebectomy, or stab avulsion) is a technique to remove varicose veins. In this procedure, several tiny cuts (incisions) are made in the skin through which the varicosed vein is removed. Stitches usually are not required.

This procedure typically does not require a stay in the hospital. It may be done in your doctor's office under light sedation with local anesthesia.

Phlebectomy might be done along with another treatment for varicose veins, including ligation and stripping, laser treatment, or radiofrequency treatment.

Is it safe?

Phlebectomy usually does not lead to complications. Possible complications include short-term skin color change, infection, pain, and tiny red spider veins.

How well does it work?

Phlebectomy can help improve the cosmetic appearance of skin after treatment.1 But this procedure is less likely to fix varicose veins when the leg veins are not working well. Because that is the case for most varicose veins, this procedure is usually used along with other treatments, such as ligation and stripping, laser treatment, or radiofrequency treatment.

For help deciding whether to have a procedure for varicose veins, see:

Click here to view a Decision Point.Varicose Veins: Should I Have a Surgical Procedure?

References

Citations

  1. Tisi P (2011). Varicose veins, search date January 2010. Online version of BMJ Clinical Evidence: http://www.clinicalevidence.com.

Other Works Consulted

  • Kundu S, et al. (2010). Multi-disciplinary quality improvement guidelines for the treatment of lower extremity superficial venous insufficiency with ambulatory phlebectomy from the Society of Interventional Radiology, Cardiovascular Interventional Radiological Society of Europe, American College of Phlebology, and Canadian Interventional Radiology Association. Journal of Vascular and Interventional Radiology, 21(1): 1–13.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer David A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
Last Revised February 1, 2012

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