Vein Stripping: Why It’s Outdated

by | Jan 4, 2022 | Blog, Varicose Veins | 0 comments

Nearly 25% of people live with varicose or spider veins. Found on the body but mostly on the lower extremities, they can cause pain, itching, redness and swelling. Aside from their common symptoms, they account for various cosmetic concerns with patients of all ages.

If you find yourself struggling with varicose veins, Virginia Vein Care can help. Offering state-of-the-art diagnosis and treatment, we will provide therapy without the need for vein stripping, which is a  now outmoded method of treatment.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged, twisted veins that occur when the superficial  veins in your lower extremity become dilated with blood. They often appear on the skin’s surface as raised and swollen with a blueish-purple hue. They are more common in women and frequently found on the legs, especially behind the knees or near the ankles.

What causes varicose veins?

Varicose veins appear when there is malfunction of one-way valves that prevent blood from flowing backward. When these valves fail to work properly, blood begins to collect in the veins instead of continuing toward your heart. Because of this stoppage, the veins become filled with excess blood, causing them to enlarge and become painful over time. Varicose veins most often affect veins in the legs, likely because it is most challenging for blood to flow upward.

Varicose veins can appear due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Obesity
  • Standing for long periods
  • Heredity

Factors that increase the risk of developing varicose veins include genetics and age, as they are more prevalently found in those 50 and older.

Symptoms of varicose veins

The most common symptom of varicose veins is prominent, misshapen veins that protrude out from the skin’s surface. Other symptoms include:

  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Itchiness
  • Pain
  • Throbbing
  • Heaviness or aching in the affected area or limbs

What treatment is available for varicose veins?

Although treatment is not necessary for everyone living with varicose veins, there are various options available to those hoping to eliminate symptoms and restore the look of their skin for the long term.

Some of the most comprehensive options for varicose vein treatment include:

  • Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
  • Laser ablation
  • Ultrasound guided sclerotherapy with a foamed sclerotherapy solution

To mitigate the risk of varicose veins or to slow their progress and spread, there are various lifestyle changes you can implement to include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Avoiding sitting or standing for extended periods of time
  • Regular exercise to improve blood flow
  • Wearing compression socks or stockings regularly

Although one of the most popular methods for decades, we highly encourage all patients to avoid vein stripping, which is entirely outmoded, as their treatment option. Before deciding on a treatment which is best for you, we encourage you to discuss all available options with your healthcare provider for best results based on your unique health needs and medical history.

What is vein stripping?

Vein stripping is a surgical process that removes varicose veins from the affected area of the body, most often the legs and thighs. It is typically an outpatient procedure that requires general anesthesia. For most, active surgery time is about 60-90 minutes.

Because this is considered a more invasive procedure, there are higher risks and longer recovery associated with this type of varicose vein treatment when compared to other methods.

Why is it outdated?

Although once considered the gold standard in varicose vein treatment, vein stripping is outdated. Vein stripping has been replaced with less-invasive treatment options that mitigate surgical risk, improve long-term results and treat patients efficiently.

At Virginia Vein Care, we believe vein stripping is outdated because:

  • It requires general anesthesia versus local anesthesia administered for other treatment options, increasing the risk of complications.
  • It is considered major surgery with a total healing time of about 2-4 weeks.
  • It leaves more invasive incisions that always lead to some level of scarring.
  • Varicose vein recurrence is markedly higher with vein stripping than other treatment methods.
  • Vein stripping has been associated with significant complications such as nerve damage and blood clot

Varicose veins treatment near me

Virginia Vein Care offers a range of minimally invasive, nonsurgical, advanced alternatives to vein stripping. If you’re experiencing itchy, sore or heavy sensations in your legs, you may be suffering from venous insufficiency. To learn more about radiofrequency ablation treatment or schedule an appointment, please visit a Virginia Vein Care location near you.