Subfacial Endoscopic Perforator Surgery (SEPS)

Additional Information

Subfacial Endoscopic Perforator Surgery (SEPS) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure which the doctors use to treat the underlying condition that causes venous ulcers. During an endoscopic procedure, they disconnect the abnormal perforator veins, which cause ulceration because of improperly functioning valves. By disconnecting these veins, they redirect the blood flow to healthy veins. Circulation in the leg is improved, and the ulcer is healed.

An endoscopic procedure may enable the ulcer to heal in only four to eight weeks and may reduce the chance of developing new ulcers.

All of our treatment procedures, from spider vein removal to endovenous laser treatment, are created so you experience the least discomfort possible. Before you decide on a specific treatment, our experienced staff provide you with complete information about endoscopic procedures, sclerotherapy, laser ablation and more. Our doctor goes through the treatment options with you and develops a personalized plan that addresses your needs.

At Southwest Vein & Laser Institute in Phoenix, you can be confident of the treatment you receive. By keeping up with the industry's changing technology, we can provide you with the latest treatment for spider vein removal, including laser ablation. All of our treatments, such as an endoscopic procedure or endovenous laser treatment, are performed in accordance with the highest standards of medical safety.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery (SEPS) for venous disease?
SEPS is a minimally invasive surgical technique used to treat chronic venous ulcers caused by perforating veins that may have been damaged due to deep vein thrombosis or chronic venous insufficiency.

Why is this procedure performed? Why do I need this procedure?
The goal of treatment is to heal the ulcer to prevent serious complications or to prevent ulcer recurrence. Patients with chronic venous ulcers may have developed chronic venous insufficiency as a result of damage to their perforating veins, which are veins located above the ankle that carry blood from the superficial veins into the deep veins. If not corrected, patients may experience prolonged symptoms of severe chronic venous insufficiency and recurrent venous stasis ulcer formation.
Each patient is evaluated, and treatment will be individualized for the patient’s circumstances.

Where is the procedure performed and who performs this procedure?
Surgical treatments are performed in our outpatient setting by Dr. Edward Murphy.

What are the risks and potential complications of the procedure?
Your doctor will discuss the specific risks and potential benefits of the recommended procedure with you. This is generally a very safe procedure, causing relatively little pain and, in most cases, is well-tolerated. However, as with any surgical procedure, there are risks, including bleeding, infection, injury to the nerves and arteries that are adjacent to the veins, and recurrence of symptoms despite adequate ligation of the perforator vein. 

Special precautions are taken to decrease these risks, and there may be other possible risks. When you meet with your doctor, please ask questions to make sure you understand the risks of the procedure and why the procedure is recommended.

How do I prepare for the SEPS procedure?
A few days before the procedure, pre-procedure tests may be performed to ensure that it is safe to perform the procedure. You may need to discontinue certain medications before the procedure. Your healthcare team will provide specific instructions to help you prepare. 

What happens during SEPS?
You will receive a sedative and a regional anesthesia. Physicians make several small incisions in your leg and insert a catheter with a balloon on its tip. Using the balloon to separate the surrounding tissues from the veins, the culprit veins are identified after the insertion of a telescope to allow visualization of the space. Once the veins are identified, they are occluded with a clip.

How long does the procedure last?
The procedure itself generally takes a hour. This is typically performed in the outpatient setting, and you can anticipate returning home a few hours after the surgery. Full recovery will take one to two weeks, but healing of venous stasis ulcers may take longer.

What happens after the procedure?
Your surgeon will give you specific instructions you need to follow after the surgery until your incision heals adequately. Typically, these will involve rest and leg elevation. In addition, special wound care instruction may be given if you have an active venous stasis ulcer. 

Are there any side effects of the treatment?
The surgery is performed through small incisions and has a low rate of wound complications. But as with any surgical procedure, you will feel somewhat tired for a few days. In addition, you may have pain at the sites of the incision, or numbness in some regions of the leg and foot. 

What are typical results of the procedure?
Your doctor will discuss the results of the procedure with you, but outcomes are generally good. SEPS should decrease venous hypertension and increase circulation. The majority of patients undergo SEPS to treat chronic or recurrent venous stasis ulcers. If these ulcerations are due to an incompetent perforator, ligation of these perforators results in ulcer healing.