The stab phlebectomy procedure removes large ropy varicose veins where other methods will not work for a patient. This procedure is also called "ambulatory phlebectomy."
This is a surgical procedure where tiny incisions are made directly over a large varicose vein, then the vein is removed in specific sections. Often, just a few incisions are required in order to really make a difference in the cosmetic appearance of the veins. These incisions are very small, usually less than half a centimeter, and do not produce a lot of pain.
The stab phlebectomy procedure is usually performed in an operating room. Often, it is performed in conjunction with a more definitive vein surgery for venous insufficiency, such as radiofrequency ablation.
Stab phlebectomy is not "vein stripping"
Stab phlebectomy should not be confused with a traditional method of removing varicose veins called "vein stripping." Vein stripping is a vein removal procedure that is not practiced as frequenly as in the past. It involved removing the entire greater saphenous vein and was a painful surgical procedure that often left patients debilitated for weeks. In contrast, stab phlebectomies are minimally invasive and involve little pain. They target the varicose veins themselves, rather than the saphenous vein which is usually treated with radiofrequency ablation or endovenous laser therapy.
Stab phlebectomies are not always required, even for people with large varicose veins. If the underlying venous insufficiency condition is treated, then the veins usually shrink considerably without further treatment. This is because the veins near the surface of the skin are no longer subject to high venous pressures. In fact, many patients choose to forgo this "vein removal" procedure, because their veins become sufficiently smaller and less painful after radiofrequency ablation which resolves venous insufficiency. But, others opt for less invasive sclerotherapy to treat residual varicose veins.