An Outdated Procedure: Vein Stripping
In the past, the standard treatment to fix varicose veins was a procedure called “vein stripping.” If my patients ask about this procedure, I tell them the reasons why vein stripping is outdated:
1. Vein stripping is a procedure that takes place in a hospital setting requiring general or regional anesthesia, meaning you have to “go under,” which has much greater risks than local anesthesia.
2. The procedure is major surgery, requiring major incisions that can cause significant pain and bruising. Recovery time can last two to four weeks and can be very difficult.
3. Even after the vein stripping procedure, a high percentage of varicose veins recur. In fact, according to one study (The Whiteley Clinic study), 23 percent of varicose veins return after one year and 82 percent recur after five years.
4. Vein stripping is associated with increased complications such as wound complications, deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), and even nerve damage. Depending on the severity, blood clots can be deadly complications.