Micro-phlebectomy, formerly known as the vein stripping technique, continues to be an effective option for removing damaged varicose veins.*  When performed by a qualified vascular surgeon, it typically eliminates the diseased vein and improves symptoms.

Using regional or general anesthesia, this procedure is done on an oupatient basis. During the surgery, the physician makes several small incisions – one at the groin, one at the knee and possibly a few others over the diseased vein. A special instrument is used to grasp the vein and pull it out. Blood then automatically reroutes to nearby healthy veins.

This treatment option can be moderately painful and requires a recovery period of 5-10 days. However, it is a procedure that has been performed for many years and is usually effective.

Some patients have expressed concern that they may need this vein as a graft for a heart bypass operation in the future. Because the vein is diseased, it would not serve as an adequate graft anyway. Therefore, it is important to remove the bad vein and resolve the problems it causes.

Like vein ligation, micro-phlebectomy can be performed for cosmetic reasons, it is usually done for patients that have large, bleeding, problematic (aching, swelling) or damaged veins; or open sores resulting from varicose veins. In some cases, sclerotherapy is recommended as a follow-up to vein ligation to treat smaller varicose veins.

An experienced vascular surgeon can help determine the best procedure for each individual’s varicose veins. However, in general, the following people are not appropriate candidates for vein stripping:

  • Pregnant women (although pregnancy can aggravate varicose veins, they should not be treated during pregnancy)
  • Older adults with medical conditions that predispose them to risks associated with surgery
  • Individuals with poor circulation in the arteries of the legs
  • Those who have lymphedema, skin infections or blood clotting disorders.


* Disclaimer: The information contained in this site is for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from your physician.<?span>

  • Summary

    Type of anesthesia

    • Regional or General

    Length of procedure

    • About one hour

    Before the procedure

    • Let your PVC physician know what medicines and herbs you are taking
    • Avoid aspirin, ibuprofen and other NSAIDs for at least 72 hours before procedure; acetaminophen (Tylenol) is usually safe to take
    • Don't put lotion or cream on your legs the day of the procedure
    • Plan to avoid vacation / travel for two weeks after treatment

    After the procedure

    • Wear compression stockings or an elastic bandage on your leg as directed by your physician
    • Return to work in a few days (depending on your occupation); return to other regular activities in 5-10 days
    • Contact PVC if you have any concerns

    Side effects

    Side effects are similar to those of any surgery, including risks associated with anesthesia.

    • Bruising
    • Scarring
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Nerve damage

    Insurance coverage

    • If done for cosmetic reasons, usually not covered
    • If done for medical reasons, may be covered