Approximately 40 percent of adults have varicose veins. These abnormally twisted, swollen veins are usually seen on the legs and most often affect women. In addition to being a cosmetic concern, varicose veins can be quite uncomfortable. Symptoms like aching and leg cramps may coincide with the obvious appearance of these veins. Furthermore, if left untreated, varicose veins could lead to skin discoloration or ulcers.
We are proud to provide a number of treatment options for varicose veins. Here, we discuss a few of the common questions patients have about endovenous ablation.
Q: What is endovenous ablation?
A: Endovenous ablation is a treatment during which we close the saphenous vein in the leg. The saphenous vein is the primary superficial vein that branches off in the legs. It is this vein that is the starting point for many varicose veins. We conduct endovenous ablation using radiofrequency energy.
Q: How does endovenous radiofrequency ablation work?
A: Endovenous ablation is performed with a thin, flexible tube (catheter). The tube is inserted through a tiny puncture in the skin to the farthest point of the targeted vein. There are no nerve ending in veins, so the procedure is not painful. A local anesthetic may be administered to numb the skin around the small incision. Once the catheter has been inserted, radiofrequency energy is emitted. This gets absorbed into the vein walls, causing controlled damage. The vein gradually closes and fades away.
Q: Are there any concerns related to closing off a vein?
A: Whether through endovenous radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, or microsurgery, vein closure does not present medical concern. When a vein closes, circulation naturally redirects to a healthy vein. There are two systems of veins in the legs, superficial and deep. Numerous pathways exist between the two. Therefore, circulation can redirect from the superficial venous system to the deeper system as needed to maintain proper blood flow.
Q: What is the recovery time after endovenous radiofrequency ablation?
A: Generally, patients are encouraged to walk right after their procedure. Daily walking facilitates good circulation and can gradually increase into more strenuous exercise as desired by the patient. Usually, after three weeks, weight training, running, and other more intense physical activity can be resumed. For the first several weeks after treatment, mild bruising and discomfort may be noticed. However, the prominence of the treated vein will be noticeably decreased within a week.
Do you have questions about how to treat varicose veins? Call (855) 803-MIVC (6482) to schedule a consultation in our Laurel office.