To perform vein stripping, your physician first makes a small incision in the groin area and usually another incision in your calf below the knee. Then your physician disconnects and ties off all major varicose vein branches associated with the saphenous vein, the main superficial vein in your leg. Your physician then removes the saphenous vein from your leg.
A procedure, called small incision avulsion, or sometimes ambulatory phlebectomy, can be done alone or together with vein stripping. Small incision avulsion allows your physician to remove individual varicose vein clusters from your leg using hooks passed through small incisions. In a similar procedure called TIPP, your physician shines an intense light on your leg to show your veins. Once your physician locates a varicose vein, he or she passes a suction device through a tiny incision and suctions out the vein.
Although these procedures sound painful, they cause relatively little pain and are generally well tolerated. Your vascular surgeon will advise you regarding which procedure is the best for your particular situation.