The traditional treatment for varicose veins has been vein stripping which involves removing the vein surgically, requiring several weeks convalescence.
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a non-surgical alternative that uses targeted radio frequency energy that delivers heat to seal the vein shut. The procedure requires only local anesthetic and can be performed in the clinic in about an hour.
What are varicose veins?Varicose veins occur when the valves in the veins stop working, allowing blood to pool in the vein forcing the walls to enlarge and bulge. This causes the rope-like cords that usually appear on the upper part of the legs. Approximately 40 percent of women and 25 percent of men have varicose veins.
How does RFA work?During the procedure, a thin catheter is inserted into the varicose vein through a tiny entry point, usually near the knee. As the catheter is withdrawn, radiofrequency energy delivers heat to the vein wall. When the thermal energy is delivered, the vein wall shrinks and the vein is sealed closed. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood will re-route to other healthy veins.
What is the recovery time?Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged and normal daily activity can be resumed; however, patients are advised to avoid rigorous activities such as gym workouts for a few days. Although there may be minor soreness and bruising, any discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter, non-aspirin pain relievers as necessary.
How effective is the procedure?RFA has a 98 percent success rate and a much lower risk of complications compared to the traditional vein stripping procedure.
RFA can also be used to help patients with leg swelling, restless legs and ulcers caused by certain venous disorders.