Vein Stripping

Preparation for surgery

You need to have a checkup with your family physician prior to surgery. You should take your surgical package to all the appointments. It is very important to stop taking blood thinners such as aspirin, Aggrenox or Plavix two weeks before surgery. You should not have breakfast on the morning of the procedure. You should bring compression stockings with you. You must arrange for someone to drive you home after the operation and stay with you at night.

What does the operation consist of?

The operation is conducted under general anesthesia. The surgeon makes a small incision in the groin and one in the lower leg. The long vein causing your varicosities is then removed between the two incisions. The surgeon may make other small incisions to remove other large varicose branches. The incisions are closed with absorbable sutures and small paper strips.

What happens after surgery?

You will wake up from the anesthetic with a compression bandage which should be removed after 2 days. You can then have a shower and start wearing compression stockings daily for 4 weeks . Some patients feel nauseous from the anesthetic and need to take gravol. You should try to walk as soon as possible after surgery to prevent blood clots. You may need to take acetaminophen with codeine or ibuprofen for a few days after surgery for pain. Most patients develop bruising in the thigh that resolves within 2 weeks. You may notice lumpiness under the skin where the veins have been removed. This is common and usually resolves. It may take several months after surgery for the full benefit to be realized. Some patients may require sclerotherapy to treat any remaining small varicose veins.

Complications

Serious complications are extremely rare after varicose vein surgery. There is a very small risk of blood clots in the deep veins, which is treated with blood thinners. Other rare complications include bleeding and infection in the groin incision. Numbness around the ankle or along the back of the leg can occasionally happen and rarely can be permanent. There is a small risk of new varicose veins developing after surgery.