What is microphlebectomy?

Microphlebectomy, also referred to as ambulatory phlebectomy, is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure used to remove varicose veins located near the surface of the skin. This procedure uses tiny puncture marks and a special tool to removed diseased veins, which require no stitches and leave no visible scarring afterward. Because the veins are removed from the body, microphlebectomy is considered a permanent treatment for varicose veins.

Microphlebectomy provides an option for patients with large varicose veins that want diseased veins removed completely. Blood is rerouted through healthy veins, so the removed vein is not missed by the body. The procedure is less invasive than traditional varicose vein surgery, with less discomfort and recovery time afterward. It can be used alone or in combination with other vein treatments to achieve the best possible results.

When is it done?

Microphlebectomy is typically recommended for veins that are too large to treat with sclerotherapy and too small to address with laser or radiofrequency procedures. It is used on veins near the surface of the leg that are easy to see and remove without special equipment. In some cases, veins below the surface, including greater and lesser saphenous veins, may require treatment through other procedures first, before microphlebectomy is performed.

How does the procedure work?

Microphlebectomy is commonly performed as an outpatient procedure in a physician’s office or surgical suite. The patient is usually given local anesthetic and possible sedation to maximize comfort level during the procedure. The leg is cleansed and the veins to be treated are carefully outlined.

Once the leg is properly prepared, the physician begins the removal process. Small puncture marks are made along the length of the vein so that a small tool may be inserted. This tool grasps the affected vein and pulls it through the puncture marks, section by section.

Because the puncture marks are so small, stitches are rarely needed. Instead, a compression dressing is placed over the puncture wounds to prevent additional bleeding. Those dressings are eventually replaced by compression stockings, which may be worn for up to two weeks after the procedure. Compression stockings work to promote healthy blood flow through the treated leg to encourage the healing process.

Since general anesthesia is not used during this procedure, most patients are able to drive themselves home after treatment. Patients are encouraged to walk soon after the procedure, to begin the healing process.

What is the recovery like?

Patients are generally advised to keep their legs elevated for as much as possible for the first 24 hours after the procedure. Mild swelling or bruising may appear around the incision sites, which usually dissipates on its own within a few days. Over-the-counter pain medication is sufficient for managing minor discomfort after the procedure. Most patients are back to regular activities the next day and their usual exercise regimen within four days to one week.

When will the results appear?

Because veins are actually removed from the leg, results of microphlebectomy can be seen right away. Results will improve over the first few days or weeks, as swelling and bruising go away and the leg returns to normal. Compression stockings may be recommended for up to six weeks, depending on the number of veins removed, so results may not be evident to others until after this time.

How many treatment sessions are needed?

Microphlebectomy eliminates troublesome varicose veins in just a single session. However, the procedure may be recommended in combination with other vein treatments, such as sclerotherapy, to achieve the best possible results.

Will veins reappear after treatment?

The treated veins are removed from the body, so they cannot reappear. However, the faulty valves that caused the first varicose vein may repeat in other vessels and result in additional varicose veins in the future. If more veins appear, additional treatment may be recommended to maintain positive results.

What is the cost of Microphlebectomy?

Microphlebectomy may run anywhere from $500 to $2,500 per leg. Costs vary based on the number of veins to be treated, type of medication used during the procedure and location of the physician’s office. Treatment for varicose veins that are accompanied by uncomfortable symptoms may be covered at least in part by insurance. Doctors also offer financing options to patients, to make vein treatment more affordable.