Why is radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins considered ideal?
A top vein doctor explains why radiofrequency ablation should be one of your first treatment options for varicose veins
If you have varicose veins, you’ve probably researched all forms of treatment for them – ranging from home remedies and compression stockings to having vein surgery. The one thing that may have caught your attention, though, is a procedure called radiofrequency ablation, because this is what most vein doctors recommend. So what is this treatment, and why is it recommended so highly? Read on to find out!
What is radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins?
Radiofrequency vein ablation (RFA) is a form of treatment that uses thermal radiofrequency energy from a radiofrequency source to treat your varicose veins. What exactly happens during this procedure?
The vein specialist will need to numb the skin over your defective vein, using a local anesthetic injection. A tiny incision will then be made in the skin, just enough to visualize the defective vein. A catheter is then advanced into the vein through this incision. The catheter, which is connected to the radiofrequency device, is then used to deliver heat into the interior of the vein. The vein walls melt and stick together, and the vein is closed to further blood flow. Since the vein is no longer functional, it shrinks over time, and is eventually absorbed by the body.
Why is radiofrequency ablation considered one of the best forms of treatment for varicose veins?
Most vein doctors suggest radiofrequency ablation as the first line treatment for varicose veins. This is because it has several advantages.
It is a minimally invasive procedure: This is an outpatient procedure that does not require hospital admission and stay. There is no need for invasive varicose vein surgery, long incisions or stitches.The tiny incision placed heals by itself.
It has been proven effective: There is plenty of literature evidence which attest that RFA has high rates of success.
You are reasonably comfortable both during, and after the procedure: Beyond the initial numbing injection, you can hardly feel a thing during the RFA procedure. In fact, another procedure, called endovenous laser ablation, is very similar, except that a laser fiber is used instead of radiofrequency. Laser vein removal uses laser energy, which is more intense, and can cause more discomfort during the procedure. Most vein doctors prefer RFA to endovenous ablation. After the vein treatment, RFA requires practically no recovery time – you can get back to your daily routine almost at once.
Are there any disadvantages to radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins?
There is only one major disadvantage associated with RFA – the fact that you need a numbing injection. This can be worrying if you are scared of needles, but the truth is, a numbing injection can cause slightly more discomfort than just a needle prick. Local anesthetic helps separate tissue layers, which actually helps the vein doctor locate the damaged vein. This can, however, be uncomfortable for the patient. Another minor concern is that you might experience slight swelling and bruising after the procedure. Your vein doctor will give you some prescription drugs to deal with this.
Is there any alternative procedure that can overcome these disadvantages?
Yes, there is. A new, state-of-the-art procedure called VenaSeal eliminates the need for local anesthetic completely. In this procedure, a single injection directly delivers medical grade glue into the diseased vein. within a few seconds, the glue fuses the vein walls together and the vein is sealed off. The vein later hardens, and is eventually absorbed by the body.
Although VenaSeal is as effective as RFA, it is fairly new, and may not be covered by all kinds of medical insurance, unlike RFA. Since this treatment costs a few thousand dollars, this factor must obviously be taken into account when you decide which form of vein treatment you want.
The vein doctor said that I need radiofrequency ablation for the veins above my knee – how will this help my varicose veins?
Once you visit a vein doctor, this question is sure to cross your mind. While the ugly varicose veins may be lower down on your legs, your doctor would want to treat veins that are closer to your knee. Why is this?
Your varicose veins form as a result of disease in the larger leg veins, usually the great saphenous vein and small saphenous vein. These veins fail to move impure blood back to the heart efficiently, with the result that all this excess blood pools in the legs and expands into ugly new varicose veins. So the vein doctor is actually treating the root of your entire problem. This increases the chances that your varicose veins won’t ever come back.
Where can I find varicose vein treatment near me?
If you are still undecided on what form of vein treatment you need, visit the Vein Treatment Clinic. At VTC, you will meet some of the nation’s foremost board certified vein experts. Our vein specialists will offer a customized treatment plan for you based on your age, medical history, and the condition of your varicose veins. VTC has branches in multiple locations across the United States.
If you would like further clarification on varicose veins treatments or spider vein treatment, or would like to meet with a consultant, you can call 855-366-2384 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.
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.