Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
Endovenous radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive alternative to vein stripping for the treatment of varicose veins and its common underlying cause, venous reflux, which offers patients effective results with less pain, less bleeding and shorter recovery times than traditional procedures. This procedure can be performed for cosmetic or medical purposes, depending on each patient's individual condition and goals for treatment.
During the radiofrequency procedure, a small incision is made, through which a catheter is inserted into the targeted vein. Once precisely placed, the catheter delivers radiofrequency energy to the wall of the vein, which causes it to eventually collapse and seal so that blood can no longer travel through it and the vein can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Once the damaged veins have been sealed, blood is naturally re-routed through other, healthier veins in the body.
Radiofrequency treatment offers benefits over vein stripping and other treatment methods such as faster procedure and recovery times, less discomfort during and after the procedure, and little or no scarring, bruising or swelling. Endovenous radiofrequency ablation can be performed under local or general anesthesia in as little as 45-60 minutes.
After the radiofrequency procedure, patients may experience mild bruising and swelling in the treated area, although you will likely be able to return to your regular activities shortly after treatment. In most cases, patients will need to wear compression garments for several weeks to promote healing and relieve any symptoms of swelling and bruising. Your doctor will provide you with specific post-operative instructions to facilitate a fast and efficient healing process.
The results of the endovenous radiofrequency ablation treatment are usually visible within a week or two after treatment, at which point symptoms tend to subside as well. More than 97% of patients were able to achieve successful results from this procedure at one year after treatment.
Although considered a safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with endovenous radiofrequency ablation, as there are with any type of surgical treatment. Some of these risks may include numbness, infection, unsuccessful results and deep vein thrombosis, although this is considered rare. Your doctor will discuss any risks with you, as well as address any concerns you may have, before performing this procedure.