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Humorous Blog Post from "Barstool" Founder Highlights Minimally Invasive Nature of Vein Surgery

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
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If you don’t believe varicose vein surgery is minimally invasive, then read this first-hand account of what it’s truly like.

Readers of Barstool Sports come to the website for satirical takes on sports and pop culture. So imagine their surprise recently when the site’s founder, Dave Portnoy, wrote a blog post about his varicose vein surgery — not exactly a subject typically headlined in Barstool.

In keeping with his website’s tone, Portnoy had a humorous take on his surgery, which he said was to remove five veins from his right leg. He asked well-wishers to refrain from sending him “thoughts and prayers” for his “major vascular surgery.” Instead, those thoughts and prayers should go to the koala bears trapped in Australia’s wildfires, he writes.

Jokes aside, Portnoy’s post highlights today’s minimally invasive surgical techniques for varicose veins. He does admit to nearly passing out several times during the surgery, although he proudly said, “I didn’t go under.” In a video after the procedure, he said, “Oh, I’m back. It will take more than the National Guard to get me out of here.”

Minimally Invasive Varicose Vein Surgeries

Although Portnoy doesn’t specify his procedure, the fact that five veins were removed indicates it may have been an ambulatory phlebectomy surgery. After the leg is numbed with local anesthesia, the vein specialist makes small incisions through which the varicose vein is extracted. Once the vein or veins are removed, the patient’s leg is wrapped in a bandage. A picture of Portnoy’s bandaged leg is seen in his blog post.

Ambulatory phlebectomy isn’t the only minimally invasive option for varicose vein patients. Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy uses a safe foam medicine known as a sclerosant injected into the vein to collapse the vein. Blood is then diverted to healthier nearby veins.

Other methods include laser or radiofrequency ablation. These procedures rely on the heat of a laser or radiofrequency waves to close off the damaged vein when delivered via a catheter. Prior to either procedure, the patient is given local anesthesia. 

Newer options are available, as well. VenaSeal eliminates the need for sclerosants, anesthesia, and heat. Rather, a proprietary medical adhesive seals off the vein walls so the varicose vein eventually diminishes.

All these outpatient procedures require very little downtime. Patients return to their daily activities immediately following the surgery, and any incisions heal quickly. To help the healing process, patients must wear compression stockings for about a week or two to promote proper circulation in the legs. Other than that, the recovery period is brief with few restrictions. General guidelines include walking frequently, avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous exercise for two weeks following the surgery, and avoiding alcohol for 48 hours. 

Although Portnoy’s post was meant to be humorous, it does emphasize the minimally invasive nature of today’s varicose vein surgeries. So if you’re thinking about treating your varicose veins, but are concerned about an extensive surgery or a long recovery, don’t be. As Portney showed, varicose vein surgery causes little discomfort and you’ll be awake the entire time — so you can joke about it later!

See Us About Varicose Vein Treatment

At the Center for Restoration, we’ve treated hundreds of patients for their varicose veins. Our staff of vein specialists will expertly diagnose your condition and recommend the best treatment option for your specific needs. Contact us today for an appointment.


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