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31 We next pass from the foregoing subjects to the legs, and if varicose veins occur there, they are removed by a procedure which is not difficult. To this place I have put off also the treatment of the small veins which cause trouble in the head, also of varicose veins on the abdomen, because it is all the same. Any vein therefore which is troublesome may be shrivelled up by cauterizing or cut out by surgery. If a vein is straight, or though crooked is yet not twisted, and if of moderate size, it is better cauterized. This is the method of cauterization: the overlying skin is incised, then the exposed vein is pressed upon moderately with a fine, blunt, hot cautery iron, avoiding a burn of the margins of the incision, which can easily be done by retracting them with hooks. This step is repeated throughout[p. 469] the length of the vein, generally at intervals of four fingers' breadth, after which a dressing is put on to heal up the burns. But excision is done in the following way: the skin is similarly incised over the vein, and the margins held apart by hooks; with a scalpel the vein is separated from surrounding tissue, avoiding a cut into the vein itself; underneath the vein is passed a blunt hook; the same procedure is repeated at the intervals noted above throughout the course of the vein which is easily traced by pulling on the hook. When the same thing has been done wherever there are swellings, at one place the vein is drawn forward by the hook and cut away; then, where the next hook is, the vein is drawn forwards and again cut away. After the leg has thus been freed throughout from the swellings the margins of the incisions are brought together and an agglutinating plaster put on over them.
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