1. Vein Stripping vs Ablation: What’s the Difference?

Historically, varicose veins were routinely treated with an invasive surgery called phlebectomy, or vein stripping. But in the last few decades, less invasive ablation methods have largely replaced vein stripping. The primary difference in vein stripping vs ablation is that vein stripping is surgical varicose vein removal- an extraction of the vein from the body, whereas minimally invasive vein ablation is done endovenously while the vein remains in the body. Minimally invasive vein ablation vastly reduces the risks, discomfort, expense, and recovery time associated with varicose veins treatment. Click HERE to book quick and gentle varicose vein ablation at our award-winning vein center in California.

Want to treat your varicose veins but unsure which varicose vein ablation procedure to try? Here are answers to 13 questions about vein ablation and vein stripping.

2. Do I Need Vascular Surgery for Varicose Veins Treatment?

While some patients require vascular surgery for varicose veins treatment, the vast majority do not. Surgery is now reserved for patients with a history of blood clots or severely complicated varicose veins. If your vein doctor recommends surgery, seek a second opinion from our Harvard-trained vein specialists.

It’s likely that you are eligible for one of our minimally invasive vein treatments including sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser ablation, vein adhesives, or mechanochemical ablation. If surgery is required, we’ll discuss gentler surgical tactics like ambulatory phlebectomy that don’t require general anesthesia or hospitalization.

3. What Does Post Varicose Vein Surgery Care Involve?

If you’re scheduled for varicose vein treatment, ask your doctor about post-procedural care. Our minimally invasive ablation techniques require no downtime and allow you to walk around immediately after the procedure. You don’t need general anesthesia with our treatments, so you won’t need someone to drive you to the appointment, nor will you need to stay overnight in a hospital. You can resume all of your regular routines, including work and moderate exercise. Most minimally invasive ablation procedures allow you to bathe or shower following treatment, since there are no large incisions or wounds to protect.

Surgery, however, requires a bit more planning. Traditional vein stripping utilizes general anesthesia and will likely require you to stay overnight to watch for complications like bleeding or infection. You will need someone to accompany you to the appointment and help out for a bit after surgery. If you want the quickest and easiest recovery, choose a doctor who specializes in minimally invasive vein treatments, rather than surgery, to avoid an unnecessarily invasive procedure. If you need surgery, ask whether you’re eligible for ambulatory phlebectomy instead of traditional vein stripping.

4. Are There Alternatives to Varicose Veins Treatment Surgery?

There are several excellent alternatives to varicose vein surgery. In fact, most patients are better suited to minimally invasive vein ablation than they are to vein stripping surgery. Some of the most popular choices include sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser ablation, vein adhesives, and mechanochemical ablation. Each of these is administered with tiny catheters or needles injected through the skin, so they leave no large incisions or scars.

Our doctors use ultrasound guidance to position either a sclerosing solution, vein glue, rotating catheter, radiofrequency, or laser fiber directly at the vein’s walls, treating the problem at the source, rather than cutting it out of the body. We monitor treatment with ultrasound imaging as it travels the length of the vein to ensure complete resolution. By destroying the vein through tiny, non-surgical injections, we minimize the risks and hassles of surgery, such as anesthesia complications, bleeding and clotting, infections, pain, and recovery time. Ask our team which vein ablation procedure is right for you. We have several to choose from, so you can pick what appeals to you.

5. Is Endovenous Ablation Therapy of Incompetent Vein Best?

Yes, for most patients, endovenous ablation therapy of incompetent veins is better than surgically stripping the vein from the body. Treating the vein in the body allows patients to resume their regular routines and minimizes post-procedural care, since there are no large wounds to care for. Patients don’t have to spend the time or money required for hospitalization when they choose minimally invasive vein ablation.

There are also fewer risks with endovenous ablation, and the treatments leave less scarring, swelling, and visible evidence of varicose vein treatment. Some patients do still require surgery, and surgical methods are improving, as with the ambulatory phlebectomy method mentioned above. But in most cases, it is advantageous to choose vein ablation over vein stripping when possible.

6. Radiofrequency Ablation Varicose Veins Recovery Time?

Recovery time from minimally invasive methods like radiofrequency ablation is remarkably brief. Patients can walk around right after sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, endovenous laser therapy, and vein adhesive treatments. In fact, we encourage you to resume moderate exercise to enhance circulation after the procedure. You can head right back to work and go about your life as usual, with mild modifications for some patients who need to wear compression stockings temporarily.

7. How Long Does Vein Ablation Take with My Chosen Method?

Minimally invasive vein ablation is typically completed in 15-30 minutes. This is a dramatic improvement over surgical procedures that require hospitalization and take a few hours to complete, due in part to general anesthesia. Many patients visit our California vein center on their lunch break and head right back to work. Our gentle procedures don’t require large bandages or stitches, so you can seek treatment for varicose veins or spider vein treatment discreetly and get on with your day.

8. Is There Discomfort or Swelling After Vein Ablation?

Endovenous ablation methods produce far less swelling and discomfort than surgical procedures. Since we don’t cut down into the body or pull the vein loose from the body, there is minimal pain, bruising, swelling, and scarring with minimally invasive tactics. The most patients will feel is a bit of stinging at the injection site, or a brief hardening sensation in the treated vein. Some patients have no swelling, while others have a bit of swelling near the treated area that resolves in a day or two.

9. Can I See Varicose Vein Removal Before and After Photos?

Always ask to see evidence of the vein center’s success with other patients’ varicose veins before agreeing to treatment. Also, inquire about the credentials of the doctor and the vein center. Look for a facility that is accredited by the IAC and a doctor who is board certified in venous medicine. Our renowned vein specialists are excited to show you our gallery of stunning results and explain our decades-long track record of treatment success.

10. Is There Proof of Varicose Vein Treatment Before and After?

It’s great for the doctor to provide evidence of their treatment results, but also look for evidence beyond the vein center’s walls. Check review sites and look for patients’ feedback. Our vein centers consistently receive 5-star reviews across all platforms, including Google, Facebook, Yelp, and more. We’re named a RealSelf Top Doctor, a Center of Excellence, a Patient’s Choice medical center, and more. Veins are powerful yet delicate blood vessels with the important job of pumping blood to the heart. Don’t trust your venous health to an unqualified physician.

11. Any Radiofrequency Ablation Varicose Veins Complications?

One of the best things about non-surgical procedures like radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins is that complications are rare. Most patients will have no side effects or complications whatsoever. In rare instances, patients are allergic to the tumescent anesthesia injected around the vein to protect surrounding tissue from heat. So, always choose a qualified vein doctor who knows to test for this allergy.

As with any vein procedure, there is a small risk of nerve damage, blood clots, or infections, but these are incredibly rare with treatments like RFA. Our doctors will discuss any steps you should take to prevent complications and discuss proper usage of any medications you take, like blood thinners, prior to treatment.

12. Is GSV Vein Treatment Affordable or Covered by Insurance?

Before seeking great saphenous (GSV) vein treatment, it’s important to understand the cost. Surgery can be quite expensive, especially if your insurance company doesn’t deem it medically necessary. But our California vein centers offer several affordable, non-surgical procedures and we partner with all major insurance carriers to enhance affordability.

Many of our patients have no out-of-pocket expenses whatsoever. Our insurance team will verify coverage before your treatment so you know exactly what to expect. Since our doctors are board certified and trained in FDA-approved procedures, many of our varicose vein treatments are completely covered by insurance.

13. Which Varicose Vein Ablation Procedure Is Right for Me?

The best varicose vein ablation procedure for you depends on variables like your medical history, symptoms, and preferences. We conduct a thorough physical examination and study your venous anatomy to determine the source of your issues before recommending a treatment plan. However, every treatment for varicose veins we offer is quick, gentle, and outpatient, so you can resume your usual routines. The costs, risks, and recovery time are vastly reduced with our Ivy League physicians, and the results are nothing short of astounding. Book your appointment today to see for yourself!