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Is RF ablation a painful procedure?

Feb 13, 2020
harvard trained vein doctors | voted #1 vein center | spider and varicose vein treatment center

A leading vascular surgeon shares insights on how painful the RF ablation procedure actually is.

The short answer is – not much. RF ablation is definitely not as painful as one might anticipate, but at the same time, it is not completely pain free. The only painful part is the small numbing injection that the vein doctor gives you at the beginning of the procedure. This injection delivers anesthetic solution beneath your skin, which can feel uncomfortable as the skin distends. However, the numbing sensation takes over in a couple of minutes, and after that, you will hardly feel a thing for the remainder of the procedure,

What about after the procedure? Since this is a minimally invasive procedure, there is very minimal pain and discomfort, which can easily be managed with pain medication that your vein doctor will prescribe. As it is, you will need no further rest or restrictions from activity – you are free to resume work almost immediately after the procedure!

What actually happens during the RF ablation procedure?

After the skin is numbed, the vein doctor uses a longer needle to gain access to the diseased vein. Through this needle, the radiofrequency catheter is inserted into the vein, under imaging guidance. The vein doctor may need to make a tiny nick on the skin to faclitate insertion of the catheter. Once the catheter is in place within the vein, it is activated, and radiofrequency waves are sent into the vein. This heats up the vein from within, which causes the vein walls to melt and stick together, sealing off the vein.

Once the vein seals off, the catheter is removed. The vein doctor will apply pressure to your leg to stop bleeding, and you may need to be fitted with a compression stocking or bandage. This will ensure that the vein stays sealed, and it will also help bring down swelling.

Varicose and Spider Veins | Vein Diseases

Do I really need RF ablation treatment? How does it help?

Your vein doctor will recommend RF ablation if you have varicose veins, with a condition called chronic venous insufficiency (CVS). CVS is a condition where the large veins of your legs, called the saphenous veins, become defective. They no longer transport blood efficiently back to the heart, which means that some blood remains in the legs. This accumulated blood causes the smaller leg veins to swell and bulge out. This is what you see on the surface as varicose veins. The excess blood can also cause a lot of uncomfortable symptoms, including throbbing, painful legs, swollen ankles, heavy feet, and overall tiredness.

RF ablation prevents blood from flowing through the diseased vein. The blood re-routes to the deeper veins, which are healthier. This allows all the blood to get back to the heart like it should – no more pooling of blood in the legs!

Are there any less painful alternatives to RF ablation treatment? 

The most painful part of RF ablation is the initial injection of local anesthetic. The needle prick and subsequent pushing of solution into the tissue may not be comfortable. Also, you will need an incision in your skin, which can cause some irritation after the procedure. There are certain alternative treatment plans, which eliminate the anesthetic injection, and skin incision.

VenaSeal: This involves a single injection, which delivers medicated glue directly into the vein. The glue blocks up the vein, sealing it off from blood flow.

ClariVein: This also involves a single injection, under imaging guidance. This injection is used to implant a tiny, rotating catheter into the vein. The catheter disperses medicated solution, called sclerosant, all through the vein. The solution causes the vein walls to become sticky, and fuse together, which seals off blood flow.

The downside? While current results are promising, these procedures are fairly new, so long term evidence of their efficacy is lacking. While physicians definitely endorse that these procedures are as good as RF ablation, this is not good enough for some insurance agents – not all insurance plans cover VenaSeal and ClariVein. You may want to check whether or not your insurance plan covers these procedures, and if they don’t, weigh that in against the small injection and incision that is part of the RF ablation procedure.

The Vein Treatment clinic: Providing state of the art treatment for varicose veins and chronic venous insufficiency.

The Vein Treatment clinic offers you quick, convenient solutions for varicose veins, spider veins and CVS. Our team of vein doctors are skilled and experienced at RF ablation, along with other forms of vein treatment. VTC has advanced resources on hand – so the more advanced forms of treatment, including VenaSeal and Clarivein, are available to you if you choose to have them.

Besides skill and resources, VTC offers one other thing that makes treating your veins practically pain-free – the personal touch. The staff at VTC are compassionate and understanding, and our vein doctors always tailor treatment plans to suit each individual person.

VTC has offices in multiple locations across the country. If you would like to consult with our vein doctors at one of these locations, call 855-673-2074, or book an appointment online.

Book a Consultation

Scheduling a consultation with one of our vein treatment experts is one of the best ways to determine the proper resolution for your varicose veins. The treatments can include sclerotherapy, laser or radiofrequency ablation, a medication called Varithena, or procedures such as Venaseal, or Clarivein.

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Dr. Novak
Contributing Author

Dr. Namrata Khimani

Harvard Trained   |   Spider & Varicose Veins Specialist
Dr. Namrata Khimani is a Harvard Trained Vein Disease specialist; she is known for improving patient wellness with an expert and personalized approach. Her focus is on spider and varicose vein removal, as well as alleviating the many symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency such as leg cramping, swelling and skin discoloration.
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Michael Nguyen

VENOUS SPECIALIST | Harvard Medical School

Dr. Michael Nguyen is a world renowned and Harvard trained vein specialist in Manhattan. He leads the team of vein doctors offering the highest level of care at the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New York & New Jersey.

As a pioneer in the treatment of varicose veins problems, Dr. Nguyen is considered a top vein expert for developing minimally invasive and customized treatment plans for the many symptoms of venous insufficiency, including leg cramps, skin discoloration on legs, spider vein removal, and restless leg syndrome.

Dr. Michael Nguyen
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Caroline Novak

Venous Specialist | NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY

Dr. Caroline Novak is a double Board Certified vein specialist in Paramus and Clifton, NJ. Dr. Novak is well known for continuously performing the best treatment for spider veins and varicose vein removal in the New Jersey area. She is committed to developing long lasting relationships with her patients, allowing her to personalize a varicose and spider veins treatment plan that successfully meets her patients' goals.

At her Clifton and Paramus vein clinic, Dr. Novak utilizes the latest and most advanced technology to restore patients back to health without unnecessary surgery, and with minimal to no downtime.

There are a variety of minimally-invasive varicose vein treatment options available. Your vein doctor can perform the procedure on-site and have you back on your feet in under an hour.
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Sareh Rajaee

Venous Specialist | BROWN UNIVERSITY

Dr. Sareh Rajaee is a Board Certified Vascular Surgeon and Vein Disease specialist. She is highly sought after for his expertise and excellent outcomes in spider veins and varicose vein removal. She is proud to serve the New York community at our vein clinic in Manhattan, and the New Jersey community in Clifton & Paramus.

Our vein clinics offer FREE insurance verification– most vein treatments are covered by all major medical insurances, including Medicare.

There are a variety of minimally-invasive varicose vein treatment options available. Your vein doctor can perform the procedure on-site and have you back on your feet in under an hour.
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Todd Kobrinski

Vein Specialist | GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

Dr. Todd’s goal as a vein treatment doctor is to help patients achieve the best quality of life. After learning about you, how vein disease is affecting you and why, he is able to craft a customized treatment plan for your spider and varicose veins.

Our vein clinics offer FREE insurance verification– most vein treatments are covered by all major medical insurances, including Medicare.

There are a variety of minimally-invasive varicose vein treatment options available. Your vein doctor can perform the procedure on-site and have you back on your feet in under an hour.
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Juan Montoya

VASCULAR SPECIALIST | Yale Medical School

Dr. Montoya is a Vein Specialist and Vascular doctor in New York. He is highly sought after for his expertise and excellent outcomes in cardiac surgery, and is now proud to serve the Vein Clinics in Manhattan, NY.

Dr. Montoya performs the latest minimally-invasive vein treatments to treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency; a condition that leads to spider veins and varicose veins, along with symptoms such as leg cramping, pain, and fatigue.

Dr. Juan Montoya
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Carly Guthrie

VENOUS SPECIALIST | Harvard Medical School

Dr. Carly Guthrie is the co-director of the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Clinic in San Diego. Dr. Guthrie is a double Board-Certified vein specialist, and is regarded as one of the top interventional ultrasonographers in the country. In her years of training and on staff at Harvard, she worked with the top venous specialists in the world, attending some of the most complex cases. Her areas of expertise include radiofrequency ablation using ultrasound guidance, sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, and the newly approved VenaSeal technique for treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins.

Dr. Guthrie is focused on bringing the newest and most-advanced treatments to Southern California in order to decrease recovery times and improve patient satisfaction.

Dr. Carly Guthrie - Vein Doctor called phlebologist
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Billy Schoenfeld

VENOUS SPECIALIST | Harvard Medical School

Dr. Schoenfeld has advanced training in ultrasound and venous access, having treated thousands of patients in his career. He is a specialist in the treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins, including ultrasound guided radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, and phlebectomy.

Dr. Schoenfeld is focused on introducing new therapies to San Diego, such as the recently FDA-approved VenaSeal procedure for treatment of varicose veins. During his training at Harvard he worked with the best doctors in venous medicine and is now devoted to bringing those state-of-the-art technologies and treatments to Southern California.

Dr. Billy Schoenfeld
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Jasmine Koo

VENOUS SPECIALIST | UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

Dr. Jasmine specializes in minimally invasive treatments for spider and varicose vein removal in San Diego, California. Her areas of expertise include Sclerotherapy treatment, radiofrquency ablation, and VenaSeal treatment for chronic venous insufficiency.

Our Vein Clinic San Diego offers FREE insurance verification– most vein treatments are covered by all major medical insurances, including Medicare.

Dr. Jasmine Koo
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Amanda Steinberger

VENOUS SPECIALIST | Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Dr. Steinberger has a great passion for the treatment of chronic venous insufficiency, which is demonstrated by her technical precision, unparalleled bedside manner, and extraordinary results. She is board certified in Interventional Radiology and Diagnostic Radiology by the American Board of Radiology.

Dr. Jasmine Koo
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Thomas Arnold

Vein Doctor | Pennsylvania University

Dr. Thomas Arnold has significant experience with thousands of procedures performed for spider and varicose vein removal. He is adept at ultrasound guided procedures and cutting-edge vein treatment methods for vein disease.

Dr. Jasmine Koo
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Kamran Saraf

Vein Doctor | Georgetown University

Dr. Kamran provides treatments to relief the symptoms of chronic venous insufficiency; a condition commonly known for causing spider and varicose veins, leg heaviness, swelling and discomfort amongst other symptoms. Dr. Kamran is known as a top varicose vein specialist for his excellent outcomes and extraordinary patient care.

Dr. Jasmine Koo
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Walter Lech

Vein Doctor | Harvard Medical School

Dr. Lech’s advanced technical skills are rivaled only by his empathetic, patient-centric approach to care. For the past several years, he has applied the same detail-oriented, compassionate treatment philosophy to patients suffering with chronic venous and lymphatic disorders.

Dr. Jasmine Koo
Meet our diplomat-certified team

Dr. Mitchell Karmel

Venous Specialist | Harvard Medical School

Dr. Karmel is triple board certified with extensive experience in vascular imaging. He completed a radiology residency at Cornell Hospitals, where he served as chief resident. Dr. Karmel completed a two-year fellowship in Cardiovascular/Interventional Radiology at Harvard Medical School rotating though Brigham and Women’s Hospital, The Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and Boston Children’s Hospital. He has vast experience in vascular procedures and is coauthor on several peer reviewed papers and presentations.

Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Caroline Novak
Dr. Caroline Novak
Dr. Caroline Novak
Dr. Juan Montoya
Dr. Carly Guthrie
Dr. Billy Schoenfeld
Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Jasmine Koo
Dr. Namrata Khimani
Dr. Nguyen
Dr. Caroline Novak
Dr. Simon Smith
Dr. Faisal Siddiqi
Dr. Juan Montoya
Dr. Carly Guthrie
Dr. Billy Schoenfeld
Dr.-Jung-_-vein-specialist-houston

Namrata
Khimani MD

Triple Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Namrata Khimani is a nationally recognized leader in the field of venous medicine. She is an expert in Spider Vein and Varicose Vein Treatment based in New York City. If you have varicose veins or lower extremity pain, come see Dr. Khimani at our Vein Treatment Center New York.
Read more >>

Michael
Nguyen MD

Triple Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Michael Nguyen is a world renowned and Harvard trained vein specialist, leading the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New York. Dr. Nguyen has been a pioneer in the treatment of varicose veins problems, as well as the many signs of venous insufficiency, including: leg cramps, painful varicose veins, leg swelling, restless leg, and skin discoloration on legs.
Read more >>

Caroline
Novak MD

Double Certified
Northwestern University
Dr. Caroline Novak is a double Certified spider vein specialist in Paramus & Clifton NJ. She is well known for performing the best treatment for spider veins and varicose vein removal in the New Jersey area.
Read more >>

Simon
Smith MD

NJ Vein Specialist
DREXEL COLLEGE OF MEDICINE

Dr. Simon Smith is the best varicose vein doctor in Wayne, NJ. He is sought after because of his unparalleled skills in RF Ablation, sclerotherapy, and the treatment of skin discoloration on legs.
Read more >>

Faisal
Siddiqi MD

DOUBLE CERTIFIED
YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr. Faisal Siddiqi is the medical director for the Spider & Varicose Vein Treatment Center in New Jersey. Because of his level of expertise in the treatment of spider veins and varicose veins, Dr. Siddiqi is part of the select group of NJ Top Doctors, and he sees patients regularly at the Vein Treatment Center in Wayne and Clifton NJ.
Read more >>

Juan
Montoya MD

NYC VEIN SPECIALIST
YALE MEDICAL SCHOOL

Dr. Montoya is a Vein Specialist and Vascular doctor in Manhattan. He is considered one of the best spider vein doctors in Manhattan, having successfully restored thousands of patients back to health, by implementing cutting edge treatments such as radiofrequency ablation, VenaSeal, and sclerotherapy for spider veins.
Read more >>

Carly
Guthrie MD

Double Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Guthrie is the co-director of the Spider and Varicose Vein Treatment Clinic in San Diego. She is recognized as one of the best varicose vein doctors in SD, and has developed a career specializing in minimally invasive varicose vein treatment options.
Read more >>

Billy
Schoenfeld MD

Double Certified
Harvard Medical School
Dr. Schoenfeld is a specialist in the treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins, including ultrasound guided radiofrequency ablation, sclerotherapy, and phlebectomy for spider vein removal. He also has advanced training in ultrasound and venous access, having treated thousands of patients at the Vein Treatment Center in San Diego, CA.
Read more >>

Calvin
Jung MD

NYU MEDICAL SCHOOL
Dr Calvin Jung is the director and clinical trainer for the Vein Clinics of Houston, Texas. Dr. Jung focuses in minimally invasive treatments for spider vein and varicose vein removal. Most vein treatments are covered by major medical insurances, including Medicare.
Read more >>
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