Phlebectomy is a minimally invasive procedure that uses a small scalpel or needle to remove varicose veins. 

A phlebectomy is the surgical removal of varicose (enlarged, twisted) veins that have become unsightly or uncomfortable.  

There are two types of phlebectomy: 

  • Ambulatory phlebectomy – This involves removing portions of varicose veins through small incisions using a hook.  
  • Transilluminated powered phlebectomy (TIPP) – This method removes portions of varicose veins using tools that are inserted into the skin near the veins, including a lighted tool that gives the doctor a good view of the vein’s location and a tool that breaks up the vein and suctions it out of the body. 

Conditions Treated

When valves in the veins become damaged or weakened, blood can pool and cause the veins to swell and weaken. This is known as varicose veins. If your varicose veins are large, protruding, unsightly and uncomfortable or put you at risk for more serious problems, a phlebectomy can be used to address them.  

Procedure Details 

Local anesthesia is usually used for a phlebectomy. If you’re undergoing an ambulatory phlebectomy, your doctor will make a small nick in the skin and use a hook to pull out the vein. Your doctor will repeat this for other veins as needed. 

When a transilluminated powered phlebectomy (TIPP) is performed, your doctor will make a small incision and insert a lighted instrument near your vein for better visibility. Your doctor will then insert another instrument under your skin to break up the vein and suction out its fragments. This process is repeated for other veins as needed. 

What to Expect 

As with all surgeries, a phlebectomy involves risks and possible complications. In addition to the general risks of surgery, there are complications associated with a phlebectomy that are often temporary. These include: 

  • Bruising 
  • Change of skin color near the vein removal site 
  • Inflammation of remaining fragments of vein 
  • Numbness 

You can reduce your risk of complications by closely following the treatment plan prescribed by your doctor.  


Ambulatory phlebectomy is an effective procedure for patients who have varicose veins. The long-term success rate for this procedure is high and the risk of the veins coming back or causing future problems is extremely low.