Varicose vein stripping and ablation
Anesthesia type

General or regional/local/MAC



Lines and access



Standard 5-lead ECG

Primary anesthetic considerations


  • DVT
  • Peripheral arterial insufficiency
  • Pregnancy


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Varicose vein stripping is a procedure involving removing the portion of the incompetent vein. It is the gold standard. Endovenous thermal ablation (laser and light) have mostly replaced the surgical treatment of varicose veins[1]

Usual indications include failure of medical management with vein hemorrhage, superficial thrombophlebitis, or symptomatic veinous reflux [1][2]

Contraindication to surgery include pregnancy, superficial or deep vein thrombosis, and arterial insufficiency of the lower extremities[1][2]

Varicose vein stripping usually begin with small incisions at pre-marked sites directly over the varicose veins. Dissection occurs to reveal the varicose vein which is then avulsed. Compression is applied to achieve hemostasis and once all varicosity is removed, dressing and compression bandage are applied to affected lower extremity[1]. Varicose vein ablation involves using laser or light to cauterize the varicose veins to close them off [1].

Preoperative management

Patient preparation and premedication

  • IV midazolam
  • PO acetaminophen

Regional and neuraxial techniques

  • Spinal and/or epidural
  • Local/tumescent

Intraoperative management

Monitoring and access

  • Standard ASA monitors
  • 5-lead EKG
  • PIV x 1

Induction and airway management

  • If general is chosen, standard induction
    • LMA or Mask vs ETT
    • Neuromuscular blockade may not be needed
  • If regional/neuraxial is chosen, minimal to deep sedation is reasonable
  • If local + MAC, deep sedation to general may be required [3]
    • May require airway manipulation including oral airway or chin lift


  • Supine

Maintenance and surgical considerations

  • Maintenance with volatile anesthetics or TIVA
  • If regional/neuraxial is chosen, minimal to deep sedation is reasonable


  • PONV prophylaxis

Postoperative management


  • PACU
  • Usually discharged home

Pain management

  • Pain is minimal to mild
    • Multimodal
      • PO/IV acetaminophen
      • PO/IV NSAIDS
      • PO/IV short acting opioid
      • Regional technique

Potential complications

  • Bleeding
  • Ulcers
  • Nerve injury
  • DVT
  • Infection
  • Lymph fistula

Procedure variants

Varicose Vein Stripping/Ablation
Position Supine
Surgical time 2-3 hours
EBL 50-250 mL
Postoperative disposition PACU, and usually discharged home
Pain management Minimal, multimodal
Potential complications Bleeding and ulcers


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Anesthesiologist's manual of surgical procedures. Richard A. Jaffe, Clifford A. Schmiesing, Brenda Golianu (Sixth edition ed.). Philadelphia. 2020. ISBN 978-1-4698-2916-6. OCLC 1117874404. |edition= has extra text (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. 2.0 2.1 Stoelting's anesthesia and co-existing disease. Roberta L. Hines, Stephanie B. Jones, Robert K. Stoelting (Eighth edition ed.). Philadelphia, PA. 2022. ISBN 978-0-323-71861-5. OCLC 1280374077. |edition= has extra text (help)CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. Cho, Sooyoung; Han, Jong In; Baik, Hee Jung; Kim, Dong Yeon; Chun, Eun Hee (2016-04). "Monitored anesthesia care for great saphenous vein stripping surgery with target controlled infusion of propofol and remifentanil: a prospective study". Korean Journal of Anesthesiology. 69 (2): 155–160. doi:10.4097/kjae.2016.69.2.155. ISSN 2005-6419. PMC 4823411. PMID 27066207. Check date values in: |date= (help)