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What Kind of Anesthesia Is Used During Varicose Vein Surgery?

Today’s minimally-invasive varicose vein treatment involves outpatient procedures performed in the comfort and convenience of Dr. Robert Cutchen’s Albuquerque vein clinic.  Unlike painful hospital vein stripping surgeries of years past, modern endovenous laser treatment only requires local anesthesia (the patient is awake), reducing the risks and downtime associated with general anesthesia.

Compared to surgical stripping surgeries, a common procedure used to remove bulging varicose veins until a few years ago, there are several minimally invasive treatments for vein disease and varicose veins that are extremely well tolerated, all performed using just local anesthesia.

EndoVenous Laser Ablation (EVLT)

Endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) is the procedure now most commonly associated with the treatment of varicose veins. This procedure uses laser energy to cauterize (burn) and close the diseased saphenous vein(s) in the leg, leaving virtually no scars.  After the diseased vein is “closed”, related symptoms, such as aching, swelling, skin irritation and discoloration, are often alleviated.  As a precaution, you may be advised to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or blood thinners several days prior to your procedure.

EVLT Using Local Anesthesia

The leg being treated will be cleaned, sterilized and isolated with a surgical drape. Ultrasound is used to visualize the varicose vein being treated. Dr. Cutchen will numb with local anesthetic the area where the catheter will pass through the skin.  A needle is then inserted into the vein and through a few steps a laser fiber is placed inside of the vein and advanced through the length of the vein.  Next, a few more injections are performed to inject local anesthesia around the vein along its entire length.  The laser is then turned on and the laser fiber is slowly withdrawn back out of the leg.  In this process, the vein is burned and closed and the vein is then left in the leg where it will be reabsorbed over many months.

Following the procedure, you will need to wear a compression stocking to help reduce bruising, tenderness, and minimize the rare possibility that blood clots may form.  Some small, dilated varicose veins often require additional treatment with ambulatory micro-phlebectomy (minor surgical procedure to extract them) or ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (injection of a foamed medication to close them).

Benefits of Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT)

  • Virtually no scars – only a small nick in the skin is needed, which does not require stitches
  • Effective –  closes affected vein almost 100% of the time and treated veins are effectively invisible even to ultrasound 12 months after the procedure
  • Relieves symptoms almost immediately
  • Minimal downtime and discomfort during recovery

Endovenous Chemical Ablation (Ultrasound-Guided Sclerotherapy)

Also known as ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy, endovenous chemical ablation is used to eliminate varicose veins that are hidden from the naked eye and can only be seen by ultrasound.  It combines the use of ultrasound technology and sclerotherapy to effectively eliminate varicose veins. A “sclerosant” is injected into the diseased veins under ultrasound guidance.  The chemical that is injected during this procedure will irritate the problem veins, closing them.  Over the course of several months these veins will be absorbed.

Ambulatory Phlebectomy

Ambulatory Phlebectomy, micro-phlebectomy, or “hook” phlebectomy, is a micro-extraction procedure used to remove bulging varicose veins, both large and small, that are close to the surface through very small (1/8 inch) micro-incisions. The micro-incisions are so small that they seldom require a stitch. Once healed, they are rarely visible.

If you would like to learn more about Varicose Vein treatment, please call our office at 505-848-8346today to schedule a consultation or fill out the form on this page and one of our trusted staff members will reach out to you promptly.

* This blog provides general information and discussion about medicine, health and related subjects.  The words and other content provided in this blog, and in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice. If the reader or any other person has a medical concern, he or she should consult with an appropriately-licensed physician.

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