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vein ligation and stripping

overview

Vein ligation and stripping are two different procedures that treat severe cases of varicose veins and symptoms of venous insufficiency, in which blood doesn't flow properly through your veins. In a vein ligation, the affected vein is surgically tied through a small incision in the skin. Vein stripping is the surgical removal of a vein, also done through a small incision.

what to expect

You may need some tests prior to the operation, and your doctor will let you know if you need to take or avoid taking any medications on the day before. You’ll be sedated for the procedure, so arrange for someone to drive you home. 

Typically, neither procedure requires a hospital stay. You’ll be treated on an outpatient basis, and will either have regional or general anesthesia. Regional anesthesia, such as a spinal or an epidural, completely numbs a large area of the body, but allows you to remain awake. If you have general anesthesia, you’ll be asleep. 

The procedure itself takes about 2 to 3 hours, and you’ll remain at the hospital or clinic for several hours afterward to recover. 
 
After surgery, your doctor will give you instructions on care. In most cases, you’ll be able to return to work a few days after your procedure and enjoy normal leisure and recreational activities in several weeks. To lessen any pain and prevent more varicose veins from developing or worsening, follow these tips: 

  • Don’t stand or sit for long periods; take frequent breaks
  • Don’t wear tight clothes and avoid wearing high heels for long periods
  • Exercise to keep the blood moving through your veins
  • Maintain a healthy weight

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