Radiofrequency ablation is a treatment for varicose veins. During the procedure, a tiny incision is made over the vein, and a very thin catheter is inserted into the vein.
The catheter is slowly pulled out while it emits radiofrequency energy.
The emitted energy causes the walls of the vein to heat up and collapse, closing off the vein.
Once it is closed, blood will no longer be able pool in the vein. The body re-routes the blood flow to healthy veins.
Most patients report significant relief of pain, swelling, and heaviness within a week of the procedure.
Over the next few weeks, the body will gradually remove the damaged vein and it will no longer be visible.
The procedure has been reported to be successful in treating varicose veins in around 97% of cases.
Candidates for Radiofrequency Vein Ablation
Radiofrequency ablation vein treatments can only be performed on fairly large, straight veins in the legs.
The procedure can only be done on reasonably straight veins because the catheter cannot be passed through a tortuous varicose vein.
Often, practitioners will ablate the greater saphenous vein in the thigh or the small saphenous vein in the calf.
These two veins commonly feed smaller varicose veins, which will disappear after treatment of one or both of the large feeder veins.
Radiofrequency vein ablation is not a treatment for small spider veins.
Because of its minimally invasive nature, patient age and the presence of co-morbidities are not factors in deciding whether a patient is a candidate for the procedure.
In order to determine if the patient’s varicose veins are suitable for radiofrequency ablation, the practitioner generally needs to perform an ultrasound of the leg to observe the shape, size, and pattern of the varicose veins.
Recovery and Safety
Radiofrequency ablation is done under a local anesthetic. It doesn’t take very long, and the patient can walk immediately after the procedure.
A compression stocking is typically worn on the treated leg for about a week.
Patients typically return to their regular activities within 24 hours, but may be asked to walk daily and avoid very strenuous activity or long periods of standing for a couple of weeks.
There may be some minor sensations of discomfort during the procedure.
Contact Us Today
If you are suffering from varicose veins, contact South Texas Vein Institute today. During the consultation, we will be able to provide an evaluation and develop a treatment plan appropriate for your needs.