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Vein Stripping


  • Vein stripping is surgery done to take out varicose veins. Varicose veins are large and twisted veins that are commonly seen in your legs. They may occur in your calves, thighs, and the back of your knees. Veins are blood vessels that bring blood from your body back to your heart. Varicose veins may look like bluish or purplish, snake-like veins under your skin. Varicose veins may also bulge out under your skin. You may feel that your varicose veins give your legs an unsightly appearance. Varicose veins may cause severe leg pains that make it hard to do your daily activities. Your legs may tire easily and they may feel numb, itchy, or tingly (pins and needles). You may also have leg cramps that occur mostly at night.
    Pictures of a normal vein and a varicose vein
  • Vein stripping may be done to relieve your symptoms. It may also be done to improve the appearance of your legs. During surgery, your caregiver will strip (pull out) your varicose veins through cuts made in your legs. Other procedures, such as sclerotherapy (using chemicals to make veins smaller), may also be done with vein stripping. Your caregiver may also use cryotherapy (freezing the veins) or electric probes during the surgery. Ask your caregiver for more information about other procedures that may be done for your varicose veins.


Take your medicine as directed:

Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.

  • Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
    • Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.

Ask your caregiver when to return for a follow-up visit:

You may need to see your caregiver after your surgery so he can check your wounds. Tell your caregiver if you have any new symptoms. You may need a duplex ultrasound to check if your surgery was successful. Your veins will be checked for abnormal blood flow or connections. You may also need to have blood tests. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.


You may need to walk soon after your surgery. Walking helps move blood through your body, and may help prevent blood clots from forming. Ask your caregiver for more information about exercises you can do. Your caregiver will tell you when you can return to your usual activities.

Pressure stockings:

These are also called compression stockings. They are tight elastic stockings that put pressure on your legs. The pressure is highest in your toes and decreases as it goes up toward your thighs. Pressure stockings help push blood back up to your heart. This helps prevent bleeding and swelling in your legs after your surgery. It may also stop clots and bruises from forming in your legs. You may need to wear pressure stockings for a few weeks after your surgery.

Wound care:

Ask your caregiver for more information about how to care for your wounds.


  • You have a fever (high body temperature).
  • You have painful leg bruises that do not get better.
  • Your cuts are swollen, red, or have pus coming from them.
  • Your stitches loosen or come apart.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition, treatment, or care.


  • You have trouble moving your leg or foot.
  • Your bandage begins to soak with blood.
  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.
  • You have chest pain or trouble breathing that is getting worse over time.
  • You suddenly feel lightheaded and have trouble breathing.
  • You have new and sudden chest pain. You may have more pain when you take deep breaths or cough. You may cough up blood.

© 2016 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.