Vein Stripping

What you should know

Vein stripping is surgery to remove varicose veins. Varicose veins are large, twisted veins that bulge out under your skin.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Risks

  • Your leg may bruise, swell, or get infected. You may also have scarring where the incisions were made. You may be allergic to the anesthesia medicine. You may bleed more than expected. Your nerves may be damaged, which can cause pain, numbness, or a burning feeling in your leg. You may also have trouble moving your leg or foot. Your varicose veins may come back. You may get a blood clot in your leg. The clot may travel to your heart or brain and cause life-threatening problems, such as a heart attack or stroke.

  • Without surgery, your varicose veins may increase in size and number. Your symptoms may get worse. You may develop phlebitis (swollen veins). This increases the pressure inside your veins and can lead to open sores on your skin. Varicose veins may also cause bleeding and swelling in your leg.

Getting Ready

The week before your surgery:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.

  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.

  • You may need an ultrasound of your legs before your surgery. Talk to your caregiver about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.

The night before your surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.

  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.

  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.

Treatment

What will happen:

Your caregiver will make a small incision near the top of your thigh over the vein to be removed. He will stop the blood flow through the vein. Small tools will be used to separate the varicose vein from other blood vessels and tissues. The vein may be pulled out through the incision in your thigh. The vein may also be pulled out through another incision made near your knee or ankle. You may need more incisions if other veins will be removed. A drain may be inserted near your wound to remove extra blood and fluid. The incisions will be closed with stitches or medical strips and covered with bandages.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. Your legs may be elevated on pillows. You may also have compression stockings on your legs. These are tight elastic stockings that help decrease swelling and improve blood flow. Your caregiver may remove your bandages after surgery to check your wounds. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is okay. When your caregiver sees that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your hospital room.

Contact a caregiver if

  • You cannot make it to your surgery.

  • You have a fever.

  • You get a cold or the flu.

  • You have questions or concerns about your surgery.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have swelling in one or both of your ankles.

  • You have open sores on your legs.

  • You have severe pain in one or both of your legs that does not go away with rest.

© 2013 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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