The endovenous radiofrequency ablation (RFA) procedure is an alternative to and of venous laser ablation which involves thermal ablation of incompetent varicose veins. Unlike vein stripping, but similar to endovenous laser ablation, RFA permanently closes the abnormal vein, thereby leaving it in place without surgically removing the vein.
What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?
In the past few years, the use of lasers and radiofrequency has become an excellent alternative to surgical stripping to treat varicose veins. If you have saphenous insufficiency you are a candidate for radiofrequency therapy. Using the Radiofrequency catheter we can eliminate your vein without making any incisions in the groin or stripping your vein. This takes the place of stripping. This procedure is very well tolerated and done through just a needle stick. A thin catheter is inserted into the diseased vein, through a small puncture that does not leave a scar. Under ultrasound guidance, the catheter is guided up into the great saphenous vein in the thigh or the small saphenous vein in the calf. The radiofrequency energy is delivered to the inside of the vein, heating and sealing the vein closed. The procedure is done in the office with a special local anesthetic called tumescent. It numbs the area very quickly. You are typically here for about an hour. You can resume most activities on the same day. Wait 1 week before resuming strenuous exercise and 2 weeks before swimming or using a hot tub.
What If I Need Open-Heart Surgery?
A varicose vein should not be used for a bypass. There are many other veins and arteries that can be used instead. You will never need this vein once it is removed.
The Key Benefits of RFA:
- Immediate relief from symptoms
- Only a local anesthetic is needed
- Treatment in about an hour
- Performed in the doctor’s office
- Can resume walking immediately with minimal pain No scars
What Is Vein Disease?
Veins are the blood vessels that return blood to the heart from the body. To overcome the force of gravity there are one-way valves inside the veins that open to allow blood to the heart, and close to prevent “reflux” of blood back to the body. When these valves fail to function properly, or if the vein is damaged so the valves do not completely close, blood can “reflux” backward and pool in the vein causing a variety of complications including varicose veins.