WHAT IS RADIOFREQUENCY ABLATION?
Radiofrequency ablation, a vein procedure, uses radiofrequency energy to close off a vein, usually in the legs, but possibly in other parts of the body. The inside walls of the vein heat up from the radiofrequency waves and the damage causes them to close and heal a varicose vein. This procedure is minimally invasive with little downtime.
If you are experiencing pain in your legs and are seeking vein pain relief or would like to remove varicose veins for cosmetic purposes, talk to your vascular surgeon to determine if this is the treatment for you! The Vein Centre has board certified vascular surgeons in Franklin, Nashville, and Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.
BENEFITS OF A MINIMALLY INVASIVE PROCEDURE
- The treatment is quick, and you should be done in less than an hour
- Boasts a high success rate in removing varicose veins
- Immediate relief of chronic pain and other symptoms
- Normal activities can resume almost immediately
- No hospitalization or anesthesia
- Little to no scarring
WHAT HAPPENS DURING TREATMENT?
When using radiofrequency ablation to treat varicose veins, your doctor will first map out your veins with an ultrasound. After the correct veins to treat are determined, a local anesthetic is injected into the treatment area for comfort. Through a small entry point, a radiofrequency fiber is inserted into the vein. This delivers the energy pulse that will close off the vein. With the vein closed, the radiofrequency fiber is withdrawn and the small incision closed.
You can expect cosmetic improvement within 2 weeks of treatment.
PREPARING FOR TREATMENT
With your doctor, discuss your current medications and any allergies you may have. On the day of your appointment, wear loose and comfortable clothing as you may need to change into a gown for the treatment.
During treatment, a small amount of discomfort may be felt while the local anesthetic is administered. Once the varicose vein treatment area is numbed, patients do not report any pain or discomfort for the rest of the procedure. We recommend that you plan to have someone drive you home for comfort and ease after the treatment.
RECOVERY FROM PROCEDURE
The advantage of laser and radiofrequency ablation is rapid recovery time. A patient may immediately resume activity but may wish to rest for up to three days after treatment.
After treatment, it is required to wear compression stockings immediately after the procedure. The compression will reduce bruising and soreness. If soreness or tenderness occurs around the injection site, it can be treated with a few simple steps such as:
- Resting or elevating the treated leg
- Continue wearing compression stockings
- Icing the injection site for 15-20 minutes as needed
- Walking regularly
- Taking warm showers
- Taking all medicines as prescribed
WHAT ARE THE SIDE EFFECTS?
Radiofrequency ablation treatments have extremely favorable success rates, and most patients do not require additional treatment. However, as with any procedure, there may be some side effects.
The most common side effect patients report is soreness or tenderness around the injection site, which can be treated as described above. A small percentage of patients may require additional varicose vein therapy.
ADDITIONAL OR ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT
Additional varicose vein treatment options include sclerotherapy, ambulatory phlebectomy, surgical ligation, or stripping of veins. Each of these treatments is more invasive than laser or radiofrequency ablation but still offers rapid recovery times.
- Sclerotherapy includes several injections of a foam solution that leads to the closing of the blood vessel or vein.
- Ambulatory phlebectomy is an outpatient procedure where a series of small incisions are made to access the swollen varicose veins for removal.
- Surgical ligation or vein stripping is an outpatient procedure where a surgeon will tie off and remove the veins.
Because vein disease is linked to your overall health, making changes to diet and exercise will help.
If you’re wondering which treatment is right for you, set up a consultation at the Vein Centre near you in the Williamson County area. The experienced vascular surgeons in Franklin, Tennessee, can help determine your unique course of treatment.