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What is the risk of dying during a varicose vein procedure?

I just saw on the news that someone died while getting varicose vein surgery. I was thinking of getting my varicose veins treated, but after hearing that, I don't know! How often do people die during varicose vein treatment? What exactly would cause someone to die during a varicose vein procedure?

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Doctors Answers (4)

Modern varicose vein procedures have been done for decades and have evolved from a hospital stripping procedure into a minimally invasive, ultrasound guided, office procedures done with local anesthetics and with no change in normal activities after the procedure. I am not familiar with the case you mentioned, but any risk of death from a varicose vein procedure would be extremely rare and would be equivalent to the risk from either mole removals or a routine dentist office procedure. We have never seen a fatality in our practice or heard of one from our colleague's practices. I would expect the cause of death may be due to an anxiety induced event in which the procedure was the triggering event and not the underlying cause or possibly a very rare allergic reaction to the (lidocaine) anesthetic.

This would be an extremely rare occurrence. Done in an office setting with local anesthesia, this is possibly one of the safest procedures in the right surgeon's hands. Ensure that the surgeon is vascular trained and Board Certified with the American Board of Medical Specialties and experienced in these procedures. Without all the information such as: was this in hospital with anesthesia? Is there an underlying medical problem unknown to the surgeon and the patient? - it is not possible to really know what the cause of this tragedy is.

What is the risk of dying during a varicose vein procedure? Zero. Or zero, if done with tumescent or local anesthesia which to my knowledge have never been associated with any complications as serious as death. Varicose vein surgeries done with general anesthesia such as vein stripping done in an operating room have between a 0.2 - 0.5 percent risk of death from the anesthesia. So if you are worried about serious complications make sure your vein treatment is not done with general anesthesia.

This is extremely rare. There is a risk of a blood clot with any surgery or invasive or minimally invasive procedure that is performed. That being said, it is a less than one percent risk of a blood clot with the procedure and there would be an even lower risk of a pulmonary embolism or death with the procedure. Most vein procedures are office-based and done in less than 30 minutes. Patients can return to work immediately after a procedure and are encouraged to walk and stay active immediately.

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