Varicose veins develop when valves in the leg veins become weakened and are unable to transport blood back up towards the heart effectively. The blood collects in the vessels and causes bulging, discomfort, and possibly pain. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that can be performed to help rid you of varicose veins with minimal downtime and a low risk of scarring or serious complications.
Candidates for radiofrequency vein ablation are men and women who do not smoke, are in good general health, and have been diagnosed with varicose veins or venous insufficiency. Dr. Afzal will examine you during your consultation to determine if RFA is an appropriate treatment for you. The symptoms of varicose veins may include the following:
Radiofrequency vein ablation is performed using local anesthesia. A small incision will be made for the insertion of the RF catheter, and ultrasound imaging is used to help visualize the diseased vein. The catheter emits RF energy to heat the inner vein walls to a temperature of 120 degrees celsius. The thermal reaction causes the vessel walls to collapse and close as the catheter is slowly pulled out. Once the affected veins have collapsed, the body will reroute the blood flow to healthy vessels.
The RFA procedure can be completed in 45 minutes to one hour.
RFA therapy requires minimal downtime. Patients may experience bruising, swelling, and aching after treatment, but these side effects typically resolve within 14 days. You may return to your regular activities in one to two days. It may be recommended that you avoid strenuous activities for one to two weeks, but walking is encouraged to help promote good circulation.
As the body absorbs the collapsed vessels, patients will see improvements in the appearance of their legs as well as a reduction in any uncomfortable symptoms caused by their varicose veins. The results of RFA therapy are meant to be long lasting, and patients can help prevent the appearance of new varicose veins by remaining active, avoiding standing or sitting for too long, and wearing compression stockings.