Treat chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) with radiofrequency ablation (RFA), a minimally invasive outpatient procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to heat and seal abnormal veins.
What Happens During Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure used to treat chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Using radiofrequency energy, we are able to target specific veins with energy at 120 degrees Celcius to heat and seal the veins closed. This allows blood flow to be diverted to healthier veins with functional valves and stronger walls. RFA is a quick and painless procedure that uses local anesthesia and no sedation, with minimal scarring and side effects. It is a low-risk, FDA-approved treatment for CVI.
For the vein ablation, we will create a tiny incision in your insufficient vein, into which we will insert a thin catheter. We thread the catheter through the vessel until we reach the area that needs to be sealed. Sending radiofrequency energy to a heating element in the catheter, we heat and collapse segments in the vein until the damaged area is closed. The entire procedure takes about 30 minutes.
Afterward, your body will begin rerouting blood to healthier surrounding veins. The ablated vein will eventually turn into scar tissue. As vein function improves, your symptoms of CVI will slowly diminish and you will begin to feel better again.
What Is Recovery Like with Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation?
The great news is that there is no downtime after endovenous radiofrequency ablation. Patients can resume walking and light activity the very same day. You can even return to work the same day if you desire. After a few days, you can return to more vigorous exercise such as biking or cardio classes. To aid in healing, you will have to wear compression stockings for one week after the procedure. You will come back in for a follow-up appointment within one week.
Is Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Right for Me?
The easiest way to see if you are a candidate for endovenous radiofrequency ablation is to schedule a consultation with one of our vein specialists. We will take a full medical history and perform an ultrasound on your legs to determine if CVI is the cause for your symptoms and if RFA is the best course of treatment for you.
If we decide together that endovenous radiofrequency ablation is the right choice for you, our interventional radiologist will meet with you to go over the procedure and answer your questions. We will outline the risks and recovery, if any concerns arise, we will be there to address them.
Are There Risks and Side Effects with Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation?
Certain risks and side effects are possible with any medical procedure. However, endovenous radiofrequency ablation carries very low risk. Complications may include:
- Temporary bruising or swelling
- Temporary nerve damage that causes skin numbness
- Deep venous thrombosis (blood clots)