What is Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)?

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure for varicose veins and its root cause, chronic venous insufficiency. This treatment uses radiofrequency energy to heat up and collapse the diseased vein responsible for your vein problems. As such, it treats the root cause of all your vein problems, thereby ensuring long-lasting results with a negligible risk of recurrence.

Radiofrequency ablation is a delicate procedure that must be performed by licensed, board-certified vein doctors. In the hands of a vein specialist, the treatment is painless and safe, but an inexperienced vein doctor may increase your risk of side effects. The treatment usually necessitates two sessions, the first for the diagnosis and treatment planning and the second for the treatment.

Radiofrequency ablation is usually performed as an in-office and outpatient procedure under local anesthesia. The treatment concludes within an hour with no hospitalization or downtime, so you can resume your daily activities immediately.

How Does Radiofrequency Ablation Work?

To understand how radiofrequency ablation works, you must understand the root cause of varicose veins and vein disease.

Healthy veins consist of vein valves that act as one-way doors, facilitating one-way blood circulation towards the heart while resisting the force of gravity. Chronic venous insufficiency is a circulatory disorder wherein the vein valves malfunction, which causes blood to flow backward and accumulate in the leg veins. The continued accumulation of blood in leg veins leads to dilated blood vessels that bulge out of the skin’s surface, i.e., varicose veins.

Radiofrequency ablation involves using radiofrequency energy to collapse the diseased saphenous vein responsible for your varicose veins, thereby restoring effective blood circulation.

During the procedure, the vein doctor applies local anesthesia and makes a small incision on the skin’s surface. The incision is an entry point through which the vein doctor inserts a tube-like device called a catheter. The catheter is driven into the diseased vein under ultrasound guidance. Once lodged in place, the vein doctor surrounds the vein with an anesthetic fluid to protect the surrounding tissues. Finally, the catheter is activated to generate radiofrequency energy and collapse the diseased vein.

Radiofrequency ablation concludes within 30 to 60 minutes with no downtime. It has a 98% success rate, a negligible risk of complications, and it’s covered by most insurance providers.

What Happens After Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation concludes within 30 to 60 minutes, following which you can start walking and resume your daily activities. Since there’s no downtime, most patients schedule the treatment during their lunch break and resume working immediately.

However, before you leave, your vein doctor will discuss some post-treatment guidelines. You’ll have to wear an ACE bandage on the affected leg for up to 48 hours and compression stockings for a week after the procedure.

Schedule Your Appointment

Radiofrequency ablation is undoubtedly the best treatment for varicose veins and underlying chronic venous insufficiency. By addressing the root cause of varicose veins, it ensures optimal results with a negligible risk of recurrence.

However, when performed by inexperienced vein doctors, the treatment may cause side effects and complications.

Our vein clinics in California are led by Harvard-trained and board-certified vein doctors who specialize in minimally invasive vein treatments. They individually assess your condition, review your medical history, run diagnostic tests, and ensure you’re the ideal candidate for radiofrequency ablation.

Please schedule your initial consultation with our vein specialists in California. They’ll happily answer your questions and determine your candidacy for radiofrequency ablation.

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