What is Radiofrequency Ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation is performed in-office and under ultrasound guidance. It is a minimally invasive procedure where the physician positions a catheter into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin.
Candidates for Radiofrequency Ablation
Our Southwest Vein & Leg Center patients love these treatments to address their varicose veins. They are minimally invasive procedures with virtually no recovery time. Just about anyone bothered by varicose veins can benefit from this procedure. The vein in question needs to be relatively straight.
Patients considering this treatment should first have tried conservative treatments for varicose veins, such as wearing compression stockings, exercise (particularly involving your legs), weight loss, and elevating your legs while sitting.
Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation
- No surgical incision is needed
- Access requires only a small nick in the skin
- Compared to vein stripping, RF ablation is more effective, has fewer complications, and has far less pain during recovery
- RF ablation is safe and rarely has any complications
- The treatment doesn’t create a lengthy scar
- Far less invasive than vein stripping surgery
- Treated veins are usually completely invisible within 12 months
- You can return to normal activities (except strenuous exercise) immediately
How is Radiofrequency Ablation Performed?
A local anesthetic is administered around the vein and catheter to ensure closure, and protect surrounding tissues while alleviating pain during the treatment. The catheter delivers heat to the vein wall, causing it to shrink and the vein to be sealed. When the diseased vein is closed, the blood will reroute itself to other healthy veins. After the procedure, several small bandages are placed along the vein, and a compression sock is provided to be worn for 7 days following the procedure. Most patients can resume daily activities within a few days.
How long does radiofrequency ablation treatment take?
These treatments at Southwest Vein & Leg only take from 45 minutes to an hour. There is maybe a half-hour to an hour of time before and after for preparation and short recovery.
Side Effects of Radiofrequency Ablation
Complications are quite rare, but there is a possibility of deep vein thrombosis, as can occur in any procedure where a catheter is placed into a vein. Nerve damage to sensory surface veins is possible, but these nerves usually return to normal in a few weeks to a couple of months.
Is radiofrequency ablation painful?
The area with the varicose vein is locally numbed, so you won’t feel anything during the procedure. The incision to enter the vein is very small, and it doesn’t require stitches. Afterward, you can have some minor soreness for up to a week or so, but it is minimal and easily managed with over-the-counter ibuprofen. Because RF ablation uses lower temperatures than endovenous laser ablation, our patients find RF ablation to be more comfortable after treatment compared to the laser option.
Is radiofrequency ablation safe?
These treatments with Dr. Menzies are safe and effective. When you compare the comfort and lack of recovery necessary with RF ablation to the former method of vein stripping, there really isn’t any comparison. RF energy uses lower temperatures than laser endovenous ablation, so patients are more comfortable. It’s a great treatment for varicose veins with success rates of over 95 percent for closing off and removing the vein.
What Our Patients Have to Say
“First of all, the results are amazing and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. I didn’t realize how badly my legs were affected by the varicose veins until they were gone. Everything about the process was made so easy by the staff. I loved that their scheduling was right on time — I never waited more than 5 minutes to be seen by someone. I got all the information I needed — and I feel like I asked a lot of questions. I would highly recommend Southwest Vein and Leg.” -Margaret B.
What is the average cost of radiofrequency ablation?
The cost of radiofrequency ablation at Southwest Leg & Vein Center varies depending on factors such as if you have vein disease and if the treatment is considered medically necessary or is only cosmetic. We work with your insurance company to try and get the maximum reimbursement possible. Once we know more about your unique situation, we can give you an idea of what your costs will be.