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Vein Stripping

This website explains the procedure of vein stripping to remove Varicose Veins and why the latest research shows that it should NEVER be done.

What is Vein Stripping?

Stripping is the method by which a main vein in the leg is removed. The veins that are usually stripped are the Great Saphenous Vein (GSV) and the Small Saphenous Vein (SSV).

When stripping, an incision is made over the top of the vein, where it has a junction with a deeper vein. The top of the vein is cut away at this junction and the stump tied (the 'High Tie'). The vein then has a wire or 'stripper' passed down it, and this is brought to the surface lower down the leg. The vein is tied to the stripper and, when the stripper is removed, the vein is stripped out.

What is wrong with Vein Stripping?

There are several reasons that stripping should not be done including:

  • the vein often grows back again
  • unnecessary incisions
  • unnecessary pain and bruising
  • unnecessary general anaesthetic
  • unnecessary time off work
  • there are better techniques available

These are all explained on the next page.

Many surgeons or clinics decide to use one technique - stripping or Laser or Radiofrequency or Foam sclerotherapy. However, if you only have a hammer, the whole world becomes a nail!

At The Whiteley Clinic we specialise in treating veins using the best methods available and that we are confident works well, identifying which technique or combination of techniques is best for which pattern of veins and is optimal for each of our patients.

The Whiteley Clinic has been at the forefront of the pinhole vein revolution, introducing pinhole vein surgery into the UK in March 1999, and having invented and developed many of the new techniques.

As a specialist centre, a large number of our patients are people who have had surgery elsewhere using stripping, or the newer techniques but only in the larger and simpler veins. When veins come back in such cases, we often find that the veins have grown back due to the stripping, or the more complex patterns have been missed, by more 'traditional' surgeons - such as pelvic vein reflux feeding into the legs, or perforator vein incompetence.

We are happy to see all such patients, fully investigate the reasons for the recurrence of the varicose veins and then choose the optimal technique available to treat them as a 'walk in walk out' procedure. Of course we are also very happy to see people with varicose veins who haven't had any treatment before - we can offer those people the optimal treatment as their first vein treatment!

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