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Vein Stripping


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


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia: This medicine is given to keep you comfortable during surgery. You may have one of the following:
    • Regional anesthesia: Medicine is injected to numb you below the waist. You will remain awake during the surgery. The feeling in your legs will return after the surgery is done.
    • General anesthesia: Healthcare providers use this medicine to keep you asleep during surgery. They give you anesthesia through your IV or as a gas. You may breathe in the gas through a mask or through a breathing tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

Your healthcare provider 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 more 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. Your healthcare provider may remove your bandages after surgery to check your wounds. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider 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.

  • You may need to wear pressure stockings. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
  • Pain medicine: Healthcare providers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain. Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a healthcare provider when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.


  • 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.


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.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.