Do you suffer from bulging veins in your legs? If so, have you wondered if the veins are a signal to a more serious health issue?
You are not alone.
Venous Diseases are Prevalent in the United States
Over 30 million Americans are affected by venous disease. While the condition is common, less than 1% of people seek treatment. Frequently, people lack knowledge concerning the cause and available treatments for varicose veins.
One of the more minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA).
In this article, we will walk you through this treatment method, including:
- What is Radiofrequency Ablation
- How the treatment works to resolve venous diseases
- The benefits of radiofrequency ablation
What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
Radiofrequency Ablation is a minimally invasive treatment that employs the use of radiofrequency energy to treat and resolve the underlying cause of varicose veins.
The goal of radiofrequency ablation is to collapse and shrink the diseased vein, resolving the venous disorder and restore blood flow.
How Does Radiofrequency Ablation Work?
Radiofrequency Ablations is typically performed on an outpatient basis, depending on the size of the varicose veins.
A small tube (catheter) is inserted into the vein where electrodes deliver high-frequency energy to heat up the vein walls. As a result, the collagen in the vein wall contracts, causing the vein to collapse and close.
Once the diseased vein is closed, blood flow will naturally redirect to nearby healthy veins. The surrounding tissues absorb the closed vein.
Some factors to consider:
- Preparation for radiofrequency ablation
- The procedure itself
- What to expect during the procedure
Preparation for Radiofrequency Ablation
Before any treatment, it is essential to inform your doctor of all the medication you might be currently taking, as well as any supplements you may be using.
Your doctor may advise you to stop taking NSAIDs (Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug) or blood thinners for some time prior to receiving Radiofrequency Ablation.
You will want to wear loose and comfortable clothing on the day of the procedure. Also, you will want someone to drive you to & from your appointment as anesthetics will most likely be used.
To Minimize Discomfort An Anesthetic Is Used
To minimize any pain or discomfort, the doctor will most likely use a topical anesthetic cream or injection at the site.
Through the use of ultrasound, the varicose vein will be located a small incision will be made. The doctor will insert a small catheter directly into the vein and direct high radiofrequency currents into the vein. This current creates heat that will destroy the vein from the inside out.
The heat generated by the radiofrequency current will contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and close. Blood flow will naturally redirect itself to nearby healthy veins, and the collapsed vein will be reabsorbed into the surrounding tissue.
The incisions made during radiofrequency ablation are tiny, so there is typically no need for stitches. Pressure will be applied using a bandage to stop any bleeding, and the skin will heal naturally.
The procedure takes approximately 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the severity of the vein disease.
What You Can Expect During The Procedure:
- The area of your leg will be cleaned with an antiseptic.
- A topical cream may be applied to numb the area.
- A slight sensation or a prick may be felt when the incision is made to insert the catheter.
- The area will be numb for a while.
Most find that the injection of the local anesthetic is the most bothersome, while the process of heating and cauterizing the vein is not uncomfortable.
Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation Treatment
There are several benefits to choosing this method of treatment, including:
- The procedure is typically performed in under an hour.
- There is no need for a surgical incision.
- RFA is an incredibly safe method of treatment
- Recovery time is minimal, and most patients return to their regular routines shortly after treatment.
Radiofrequency ablation is a safe, easy and quick procedure to remove varicose veins and restore healthy blood flow.
Dr. Ryan Jones is a board-certified cardiovascular surgeon with extensive experience treating venous diseases. Visit him for a free consultation and contact our office today!