Endovenous radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive alternative to vein stripping for the treatment of varicose veins. Varicose veins are veins in which the valves are damaged to the point that there is a backflow of blood, called venous reflux. Venous reflux interferes with efficient circulation and causes blood to pool in the affected veins and cause distention.
Endovenous radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins offers patients effective results with less pain, less bleeding and a shorter recovery period than traditional procedures. This procedure is performed for medical and cosmetic purposes under local or general anesthesia. Endovenous radiofrequency ablation is usually performed in an hour or less.
The Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure
During the radiofrequency ablation, a small incision is made through which a catheter is inserted into the targeted vein. Once the catheter is precisely placed, radiofrequency energy is directed into the wall of the vein, causing the vein to collapse and seal so that blood can no longer travel through it. Once the damaged vein has been sealed, blood is naturally rerouted through other, healthier veins in the body.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Benefits
Radiofrequency treatment offers benefits over vein stripping and other treatment methods. These benefits may include the following:
- Speed of the procedure
- Short recovery time
- Little discomfort
- Little to no scarring or bruising
- Less swelling
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Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Recovery
After the radiofrequency procedure, patients may experience mild bruising and swelling in the treated area, but are usually able to return to regular activities shortly after treatment. In most cases, patients will be required to wear compression garments for several weeks to promote healing and relieve any symptoms of swelling and bruising.
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. Ninety-seven percent of patients were well-satisfied with the results of their endovenous radiofrequency ablation one year after treatment.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Risks
While radiofrequency ablation is considered a safe procedure, there are certain risks associated with any type of surgical treatment. Some of the risks of this procedure may include:
- Failure of the procedure
- Deep vein thrombosis, an extremely rare complication