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Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins: What to Expect

Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins: What to Expect

Gone are the days when invasive surgical vein stripping was the only way to treat unsightly, uncomfortable, or otherwise unwanted varicose leg veins. With today’s advanced, ablative vein removal options, you can get rid of problematic varicose veins without surgery. 

As a seasoned varicose vein expert who specializes in minimally invasive vein removal, board-certified general surgeon Dr. Johnny Serrano offers a full scope of varicose vein treatment options at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy in Glendale, Arizona.

Dr. Serrano explains how minimally invasive vein ablation techniques work to painlessly collapse unwanted varicose veins and takes a closer look at what you can expect before, during, and after radiofrequency (RF) ablation. 

How do vein ablation treatments work?

The term vein ablation encompasses various non-surgical treatments that remove unwanted varicose veins and spider veins. Each minimally invasive vein ablation method takes a slightly different approach to achieve the same exact end goal: Effectively clearing away problematic veins. 

Specifically, vein ablation painlessly collapses problematic veins, impelling them to seal shut and fade away. To force varicose vein closure, vein ablation uses one of the following strategies to irritate the inner lining of the targeted vessel:  

Sclerotherapy, also known as chemical ablation, treats unwanted veins with a liquid or foam chemical injection (sclerosing agent). Another type of sclerotherapy delivers its sclerosing agent through a special mechanical-action catheter that irritates the vessel on two levels — both chemically and physically. 

Radiofrequency ablation: What to expect

RF ablation works by delivering targeted thermal energy, or heat, to the inner lining of your unwanted vein. While it can clear away any varicose vein, it’s the go-to solution for superficial venous reflux or varicose veins that are inflamed, cramped, and painful.   

Dr. Serrano performs RF ablation using the VNUS Closure™ method. Here’s what to expect:

Before RF ablation

Prior to your scheduled vein treatment, our team goes over your medical history, discussing your vein symptoms as well as any chronic health conditions you may have. We also ask for a list of medications and supplements you take, letting you know if there’s anything you should temporarily stop taking in the lead-up to your appointment.  

During RF ablation

RF ablation is a quick in-office treatment that takes about an hour to complete. The preparatory and aftercare stages account for most of this time; the treatment takes just a few minutes. It’s done in roughly eight simple steps:

  1. First, you receive a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area
  2. Next, Dr. Serrano uses ultrasound imaging to visualize the entire vein
  3. Then, he makes a tiny incision over the pre-planned entry point 
  4. Dr. Serrano inserts a thin RF catheter device through the incision
  5. With ultrasound assistance, he guides the catheter down your vein
  6. We inject more numbing medication around your vein as needed
  7. Next, he activates the specialized device, which emits RF energy
  8. Finally, he draws the RF catheter device slowly back out of your vein 

As the catheter travels backward, the device delivers controlled heat into the vessel wall, causing it to rapidly contract and collapse inward. This action seals off the treated vein, forcing your blood flow to reroute itself to healthy veins.  

After RF ablation 

Once the RF catheter is out, we cover the incision site with a bandage (most people don’t need stitches). Then, we help your treated leg into a compression stocking, which supports optimal blood flow and healing. 

In addition to wearing your compression garment as recommended, it’s important to follow Dr. Serrano’s detailed post-procedural instructions as you recover. This means:  

Before you head home, Dr. Serrano confirms total vein closure with one final ultrasound. You can expect to see significant vein-clearing right away, with results that continue to improve as the collapsed vein fades away in the days and weeks to come.  

Get rid of unwanted varicose veins today

Do you like the idea of getting rid of unwanted varicose veins quickly, painlessly, and with very little downtime? Our board-certified general surgeon in Glendale, Arizona, can help. Call 623-321-5663 or click online to schedule a visit with Dr. Serrano at Precision Surgery and Advanced Vein Therapy today. 

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