In the past there was concern about removing the great saphenous vein, because this vein is often used as a replacement or graft for an artery in the heart when a person has bypass surgery. Doctors now believe that there is no reason not to strip the GSV in the leg if needed. If the vein is badly damaged, it will not work as a vein graft anyway. In most cases a blood vessel from the chest (mammary artery) can be used during heart bypass surgery instead of the GSV. If necessary, arm veins can be used.
Vein stripping surgery is seldom done for people who have chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) resulting from deep vein problems and who also have varicose veins. Removing varicose veins close to the surface of the skin (superficial varicose veins) may cause problems if the deep leg veins are also damaged. If you are considering this surgery, get an opinion from a vascular specialist.
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