Until about 15 years ago, open surgical vein stripping and ligation was the standard for treating larger varicose veins in the legs. These procedures were done in the operating room by surgeons making deep incisions in the groins and surgically tying off the veins. This was called “vein stripping.” This usually required general anesthesia in a hospital operating room. To strip a vein, incisions were made at the groin and near the knee and the vein is grasped and removed from all points in between. Some common side effects from vein stripping and ligation surgery included pain or discomfort, bruising, hematoma, numbness, and less frequently wound infection. While vein ligation and stripping were outpatient procedures, they were not usually done in the office setting since a general anesthesia or heavy IV sedation was required. Since an incision was required in the groin, with dissection of the large veins of the groin, this was an operation that needed to be done in a formal operating room where vascular surgery could be performed if there are any difficulties with the dissection of around the larger femoral vein. Recovery time was significantly longer for vein stripping compared to the newer endovenous techniques we now use exclusively. This is now a thing of the past.
Compared to the older approaches for treating varicose veins, there are now a number of modern options available for patients who need varicose vein treatment at our offices in Oregon (NW Portland, Tigard, Bend). In early 1990s physicians and companies developed new techniques that are less invasive and that can be done in the outpatient setting. The best known are radiofrequency ablation technique (the VNUS Closure Procedure), Venaseal and Varithena. There is some suggestion that the rate of varicose vein recurrence may be less with endovenous ablation of the saphenous vein, such as radiofrequency ablation, compared to traditional vein ligation and stripping. At the very least, the newer techniques we offer allow patient to be treated in an outpatient setting where they can walk in, have their treatment, and often in less than an hour, walk out and quickly return to activities the very next day.
To learn more about varicose vein treatment options at our Bend, Tigard, or Northwest Portland, Oregon vein centers, request a consultation today with one of our specialists.