People who have varicose veins are offered different treatment procedures, including radio frequency ablation (RFA). But what is radiofrequency for veins all about? This is an endovenous therapy that is used to treat big varicose veins. It will be discussed in details in this article.
Varicose veins and how they form
Varicose veins are also called varices or varicosities. They are enlarged veins caused by damaged and leaky one-way valves. These valves enable blood to flow backward and gather in the veins. Due to the increased pressure placed on the vein walls, the veins enlarge and become visible on the surface of skin. Varicose veins are blue veins that mostly appear on legs. They can vary in size too, explaining why people should learn how to prevent spider veins. These are smaller varices that most victims tend to live comfortably with.
Unless they are too embarrassing or painful, spider veins (also thread veins or telangiectasias) are harmless. They tend to have a red, blue or purplish color and are so tiny and shaped like a spider web or tree twig. Large varicosities are twisted like a rope and too swollen to hide. Vein doctors encounter men and women with large varicose veins all the times. If you have none, it makes sense to know a lot on how to prevent spider veins and varices. This way you will know symptoms that should be seen by some of the top vein doctors near you.
Symptoms of varicosities
While varicose veins are easily detectable, sometimes they do not emerge. But, there will be other symptoms that will show you have a vascular problem and needs to get in touch with one of the leading vein doctors online. These are:
- Leg swelling, especially around your ankles after a long day at work.
- Throbbing or burning sensation in legs
- Fatigue and a sense of heaviness in legs
- A venous ulcer that is not healing on its own
- Bleeding from veins
- Blood clotting.
- Changes in skin color and texture. That is, your leg skin becomes stained, rough and flaky.
- The area just above your ankles and below your calves might start to lose fat and this will make it appear tighter and thinner.
As varicose veins tend to worsen with time, it is extremely important to have them treated. There are minimally invasive therapies, including RFA, which can be so effective. Unless you have ignored your varices for too long, vein stripping and ligation surgery will hardly be offered by any of the top vein doctors you encounter. As well as seeking help for existing abnormal leg veins, it’s advisable to discover how to prevent spider veins from forming.
Treating varices – What is radiofrequency for veins?
As aforesaid, this is an endovenous procedure. It is a treatment that occurs inside the vein. Radio frequency ablation uses radio frequency energy to heat and irritate the vein. As a result, the walls scar and close and the blood flow redirects to healthier veins. It is an extremely effective method of treating enlarged varicose veins, especially if done well. So it will be useful to locate a well-educated vein doctor who can show you how to prevent spider veins and cure larger varicose veins with RFA.
How RFA procedure is carried out
First of all, this procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist. This is one of the most educated vein doctors who boast adequate training in the use of ultrasound and X-rays to cure diseases without performing surgery. One does not have to get admitted in order to receive radio frequency ablation therapy. It is a doctor’s office procedure that takes less than an hour. But, the amount of time spent with the doctor will depend on the amount of varicose veins being treated and how severe they look.
On the day of treatment, most vein doctors will provide loose clothing to be worn during treatment. It will also be necessary to be accompanied by someone who can drive you home after the RFA session is over. A typical therapy includes the following steps:
- At this point, we are assuming that you had your first appointment with doctor where proper diagnosis was done and RFA was picked as the best treatment method.
- The vascular doctor will scrub your leg meticulously to ward off a possible infection.
- He or she will then begin the procedure by rubbing a special numbing cream on the skin near the vein being treated.
- Then, a local anesthetic drug will be injected around the same vein to make it totally painless.
- After you are numbed, the vein expert will make a small incision in the skin and insert a thin tube (catheter) in the vein.
- With ultrasound as a guide for the catheter, the doctor will push the tip of the catheter to the right place inside the vein.
- Next, a radiofrequency tip will be placed in the vein and yet another numbing drug is injected directly in the vein.
- The inside of the vein is then heated via radio waves and the catheter is slowly removed from the vein. At the same time, your vascular specialist will do the best they can to prevent bleeding.
- Next, a tiny bandage is placed on top of the incision site to cover it and prevent an infection from starting.
- Before the doctor is done, he or she may prescribe the right compression stockings and ask you to put them on. These are known to boost blood circulation and prevent swelling.
- In about one hour or longer depending on how extensive the area being treated is, the procedure will be over and you will be free to go back to work.
The session might also include lessons on how to prevent spider veins and varicose veins from developing. About payment options, you need to get in touch with your health insurance company first to find out the amount it can pay for you. There are benefits associated with Radiofrequency ablation and these are why several vein doctors offer it. These include:
- In just one year over ninety percent of treated veins will have closed off and disappeared.
- RFA is done in the doctor’s office and does not require admission.
- After treatment, you can resume walking and doing some less strenuous chores immediately.
- Local anesthetic is administered before and during treatment to reduce pain as much as possible.
- Compared to vein stripping surgery, radiofrequency ablation is easier to recover from.
Just as there are benefits, there are risks associated with radio frequency procedure for veins. These include the following:
- Bruising or bleeding at the incision site through which the catheter was placed in.
- Pain can be felt around the treated abnormal leg vein and the best way to manage it is via pain killers and compression stockings prescribed by vein doctors.
- Inflammation of the treated vein can be noted as well as blood clotting (thrombophlebitis). Both symptoms can be treated with over the counter or prescribed NSAIDs.
- While blood clots can develop in veins, they will barely be the kind that could threaten your life.
- If proper care is not given to the incision area, an infection could result.
The importance of wearing compression stockings
One tip on how to prevent spider veins and varices from forming again after RFA is to wear compression stockings. In addition to reducing bruising and blood clotting in treated and untreated areas of your leg, compression stockings improve blood circulation. As long as you wear the right ones for you they are going to work. They should be worn immediately after the RFA procedure is completed. In three to seven days after the ablation therapy, most vein doctors will schedule a follow-up meeting.
This is to enable them carry out another Duplex ultrasound procedure to see exactly how blood is flowing inside your veins. This procedure is non-invasive and painless; it is done with sound waves. If varicose veins that were treated have closed off properly, your vein doctor will ask you to come back for another assessment after six weeks. In case the ultrasonography and clinical exams do not show improvement from varicosities, an additional procedure will be recommended. If small spider veins are noted, your doctor will tell you how to prevent spider veins from increasing and ruining your blood circulatory system.
These can also be removed via ultrasound guided sclerotherapy. This entails injections with a certain chemical that can destroy varicose veins and seal them off. The doctor uses ultrasound to see the inside of the vein and treat it effectively. It is also a minimally invasive procedure and if you are looking to know how to prevent spider veins and treat the current ones, sclerotherapy is the best technique.
Things to note
Most types of varicose veins can be treated through radiofrequency ablation procedure and smaller ones cured just by knowing how to prevent spider veins from worsening. However, RFA tends to be best for treating big varicose veins. When varices are too tiny, too twisted or appear to have atypical anatomy, radio frequency ablation is not the best cure. Alternative cures should be sought when RFA is just not viable. If dealing with top vein doctors, the best treatment option will be picked with ease.
We cannot emphasize enough the reason why you should only deal with a well-trained and experienced vascular expert. If you do so, the procedure will most likely be effective and it is less likely that it will cause complications. After treatment, continue taking simple measures on how to prevent spider veins and varicose veins. These include elevating your legs and applying ice therapy to reduce leg swelling.
At the same time, keep on wearing your compression stockings as they will boost blood circulation and prevent inflammation and pain. As well, pain can be controlled with pain killers like ibuprofen. While the main goal of doing radio frequency ablation therapy is to cause the saphenous vein being treated to clot, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clotting is always a concern.
The situation where the clot can enter the deep vein circulatory system and cause DVT is very rare but possible. If such a problem arises, most vein doctors will prescribe a short course of blood thinners to treat and prevent further clots from forming. Besides, these kinds of clots can travel to the lungs and cause a life-threatening reaction. That’s why DVT is taken seriously once it is diagnosed. This clotting problem can also be controlled via compression stockings and exercising your legs through walking. It goes without saying that you need to call your doctor at once when you notice something unusual after undergoing RFA. As well as doing the above, see to it that you lose any excess weight you might be carrying.
Being overweight or obese can worsen existing vascular problems and trigger new spider veins and/or varicose veins. As well educate yourself more tips on how to prevent spider veins, including improving your posture when working. If you work while sitting down or standing up, make sure to take a break every half an hour. By moving around, you can improve blood circulation. As well as standing up on both feet, you can reduce strain on legs by stepping on a footstool with one leg.
Now you know the answer to this question: what is radiofrequency for veins? The only thing left to do is to get in touch with the leading vein doctors in your area and set the first appointment with one of them. After the first appointment and diagnosis, it will be decided whether RFA will be a great treatment method for your varicose veins. If it is, the day when treatment will be done will be set and other important guidelines will be shared.
After undergoing radiofrequency ablation treatment, the vascular doctor will tell you the things you must do after that and how to prevent spider veins from developing. It is essential to note that just undergoing one or more RFA sessions does not mean that you cannot develop new varicose veins. The technique is used to treat existing abnormal veins in legs rather than to prevent new ones from forming. If they recur, the best thing is to get in touch with your vein specialist so he or she can schedule another treatment session.