Vein Stripping vs. Laser Treatments

When you think about varicose vein stripping treatment, you may think of vein ligation or stripping. These invasive procedures have been the gold standard for varicose vein treatment until recently.

However, new state-of-the-art laser treatment for varicose veins is quickly replacing vein stripping. But what exactly is the difference between these two procedures? Is one better than the other?

Vein Stripping and Ligation

Vein stripping and ligation are invasive procedures that require an incision. During ligation, the greater saphenous vein is tied off through a small incision, alleviating the pressure caused by the back flow of blood. Vein stripping refers to the removal of this vein through an incision made behind the knee or in the groin area.
In most cases, general anesthesia is used to conduct the procedure, which typically takes about 60 to 90 minutes (complicated procedures can take even longer). But the procedure is outpatient, meaning you can go home the same day. Recovery from vein stripping is usually about two to four weeks but can vary depending on what veins were removed and where.

Endovenous Laser Ablation

Compared to vein stripping, endovenous laser ablation, or EVLA, is a simple, minimally invasive procedure to remove varicose veins without general anesthesia or long recovery periods. Only local anesthetic is necessary during the procedure which involves inserting a thin optical fiber into the damaged vein through a small opening in the skin.

Laser energy is then directed at the walls of the vein, causing them to heat up and the vein to collapse and seal itself off. Once the veins are closed, the body reroutes the blood to healthier veins that are deeper in the leg.

Although complications from EVLA are rare because the procedure is minimally invasive, some people experience mild redness and swelling after the procedure. Over-the-counter pain medications like Tylenol can help alleviate these symptoms, but they typically subside on their own in about five days. You can usually return to your daily routine within 24 hours, however avoiding strenuous exercise is advised. Light walking is a great way to accelerate the healing process.

Vein Doctor in Rockford, IL

If you have varicose or spider veins, contact Northern Illinois Vein Clinic.  Dr. Gilvydis will talk with you, answering all of your questions. He can help you decide on the right course of treatment that gets the results you deserve. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.