Microphlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat twisted or bulging varicose veins that are close to the surface of the skin. It is commonly recommended for veins that are too large to address with sclerotherapy and too small for endovenous laser ablation (EVLT). During a microphlebectomy, the diseased vein is permanently removed and blood flow will naturally reroute to healthy veins nearby. At the PCI Vein Institute, under the expert guidance of Dr. Lawrence, we offer a variety of varicose vein treatments to help our patients gain a new lease on life, free of painful and unattractive varicose veins.
How does microphlebectomy work?
Microphlebectomy is much less invasive than other varicose vein treatments. It differs from other vein removal procedures because it uses micro-punctures on the surface of the skin to access the vein and pull it out one section at a time. There are no long catheters inserted into the vein that attach to the end of the vein to pull and strip it out of the leg, nor is laser energy used to heat and collapse the vein. Also, there are no sclerosant injections used to collapse the vein. All of these methods serve a purpose for some varicose vein conditions; however, they can cause significant bruising and discomfort and may require a longer recovery. With microphlebectomy, the patient walks out of our office on their own and can return to work the next day, with minimal disruption to their normal activities.
The Microphlebectomy Procedure
When you arrive at the PCI Vein Institute, our staff will make you comfortable and prep you for the procedure. Dr. Lawrence will draw on the treatment leg to mark which veins will be removed. Once the leg is cleaned and prepped for surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the treatment area. You will be awake for the procedure and may feel mild tugging but should not experience any pain or discomfort. To begin the microphlebectomy, Dr. Lawrence will make tiny punctures on the surface of the skin and down the length of the vein that is to be treated. A small instrument with a hook on the end is inserted into the pinhole puncture. Once the vein is located, the instrument hooks the vein and pulls it to the surface of the skin; then a separate tool grasps the vein and gently removes it from the leg. This is done in small sections down the entire length of the diseased vein. Once the entire vein is extracted, steri-strips are placed over each incision and the treated leg is covered with a compression wrap. The incisions are so small that no stitches are required and there is no scarring afterward. The microphlebectomy procedure lasts 30 to 90 minutes, depending on the number of veins being removed.
What To Expect After the Procedure
Immediately after the microphlebectomy procedure, we may ask patients to walk in the office for 20 minutes. After that, patients are free to drive themselves home. During the first 24 hours, keep the treated leg elevated as much as possible. The compression wrap should be worn for the first three days, and then a compression garment may be worn for the next two weeks or more. Doing so promotes healthy blood flow, decreases swelling and aids the healing process. Mild bruising may occur around the incision sites. Any discomfort should be minimal and easily managed with over-the-counter pain medication. Most patients return to regular activities the next day. Walking is encouraged throughout the recovery period because it promotes circulation and minimizes the chance of blood clots. However, strenuous exercise, weight training or exertion should be avoided for two to three weeks following microphlebectomy. As the tiny incisions heal over the next three to six months, a purple dot may develop at each incision site. Between six months and one-year post-surgery, the purple color should disappear altogether. There should be no scarring or discoloration once the treatment area heals.
Microphlebectomy Offers Immediate Results
Results of microphlebectomy are instantaneous. If your varicose veins caused you pain before surgery, you should notice immediate relief after your microphlebectomy procedure. Bulges and veiny ropes disappear and are replaced with smooth skin. The treated vein is completely removed and will not return. However, microphlebectomy does not prevent future varicose veins from developing.
Microphlebectomy continues to be one of the top choices in varicose vein treatment by both physicians and patients because it is minimally invasive and has a quick recovery with minimal downtime. For more information about this procedure, or to learn more about your options in varicose vein treatment, call the PCI Vein Institute at 319-774-8432 to schedule your consultation.