Varicose Vein Surgery

Surgery for varicose veins is done in the operating room.  It usually takes an hour. It requires a general anaesthetic and you will go home after the procedure. It is called varicose vein “stripping”.  A two inch incision is made in the groin and a second, smaller incision is made below the knee. These incisions are used to expose the Great Saphenous Vein (GSV). A long metal or silastic wire is fed down inside the vein, under the skin between the two incisions. A plastic “cap” is then attached to the wire. The wire, with the cap and the entire length of the GSV between these two points is then pulled through the groin incision. Pressure is then applied to the area and the two incisions are closed.

This procedure results in fairly significant bruising and considerable discomfort for up to 3 weeks after. Patients can usually stand and walk for moderate periods of time after a few days. Depending on how much time you spend standing, most patients are able to resume normal work by 3 weeks after surgery.

Varicose vein ” stripping ” is covered under OHIP funding only if certain criteria are met. These include but are not limited to severe pain, ulceration, and phlebitis as a result of varicose veins. In addition, a 3 month trial of compression stockings are a prerequisite.

Varicose vein stripping may be the only reasonable option recommended to you based on your venous anatomy and/or prior venous surgery. These decisions are made on an individualized basis.


Microphlebectomy is a much less invasive operation and often considered a “tidy up“ procedure. It is occasionally necessary to deal with smaller, bulging veins that persist even after laser treatment or surgery.

It is painless and takes about 10 minutes. A bulging vein is isolated. After administering some local anaesthetic, a small puncture wound is made through the skin and the vein is brought out to the skin with a small hook. The vein is then tied off and the skin incision is closed.

Phlebectomy info: method of removing varicose veins See the results in our Before and After Gallery.