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Vein Stripping FAQS

What are the advantages of Venefit or VenaSeal over vein stripping?

Compared to vein stripping, the new non invasive methods avoid the risks of general anesthesia.  The recovery period, return to work and normal activity is within 1-2 days as opposed to the 3-4 weeks required with vein stripping.  There are no incisions or scars, and the risk of nerve injury or wound infection is significantly decreased.

My surgeon only offered vein stripping. Do I still qualify for the new techniques?

Most diseased veins can be treated with minimal invasive methods, and avoid vein stripping.  Ask your physician to review alternatives to vein stripping.  KW Vein Clinic offers all treatment modalities including Venefit, VenaSeal, and vein stripping.

What are the complications of vein stripping?
Complications may include bleeding, nerve injury, blood clots (DVT), or wound infection.  These are best reviewed with your surgeon prior to your procedure.

Does OHIP cover the cost of vein stripping?

OHIP no longer covers the cost of routine vein stripping.  Only patients that meet OHIP criteria of severe venous disease (ulcers, recurrent blood clots, significant skin damage) despite aggressive compression therapy may qualify for coverage.  Some private insurance providers may cover the cost.  Consult your personal plan to determine coverage.  After your assessment, KW Vein Clinic may provide information to your insurance plan.

Can the varicose veins come back?
Yes.  The recurrent varicose veins may return as new veins are formed in place of the stripped vein.  Alternatively other previously healthy veins can become diseased over time, leading to new varicose veins.  While every patient is different, the average annual rate of recurrence is 2-5%.  The recurrent veins, may not be in the same location as your previous varicose veins.

Vein Stripping

Vein stripping is an older surgical technique for treatment of varicose veins.  Most of the new technologies such as Venefit and VenaSeal have made vein stripping outdated, and unnecessarily invasive.  Today, vein stripping is used for veins that cannot be treated with Venefit or VenaSeal.  Unlike Venefit and VenaSeal that allow the body to naturally dissolve the diseased vein after the respective closure procedure, vein stripping - as the name implies - pulls the vein from the body.

Vein stripping is done under a general anesthetic.  The surgery on average takes 2 hours.  Under ultrasound guidance the diseased vein is mapped along the patient's leg.  Usually a small incision (3-4 cm) is made at the groin, and another small incision is made at the knee.  The diseased vein is pulled out from the knee incision.  As this vein is pulled out, small branches along its side are torn.  This causes bleeding which is controlled with compression during surgery.  The bleeding from the torn branches results in significant bruising and moderate pain after the surgery.  After 4-8 weeks, most of the bruising and pain resolves. After the vein is pulled out, small incisions are made over prominent varicose veins, and these are also pulled out.  At the end of surgery, the leg is wrapped with compression bandages to minimize bruising. 

Unlike Venefit and VenaSeal which have a 1-2 days recovery period, vein stripping requires a 3-4 week recovery period.