Varicose Vein Treatment in Glen Mills

Radiofrequency Ablation FAQs

Venous insufficiency is a very common condition resulting from decreased blood flow from the leg veins up to the heart. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, against the force of gravity. When the valves weaken and don’t close properly, blood flows backwards. This condition is called vein reflux. Veins that have lost their valve effectiveness become elongated, rope-like, bulged, and thickened. These painful veins are commonly known as varicose veins.

Key Points

  • Vein AblationTreatment takes less than an hour and provides immediate relief of symptoms.
  • Patients can return to normal activities with minimal restrictions and little or no pain involved. There may be minor soreness or bruising, which can be easily managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.
  • There is little to no scarring. Because the procedure only requires a tiny nick in the skin and no stitches, the cosmetic results are excellent.
  • This procedure carries a high success rate and low recurrence rate compared to surgery.
  • Our success rate for venous ablation procedures is nearly 100%.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins?

Also known as thermal ablation, radiofrequency ablation is a treatment for varicose veins, and is a minimally invasive procedure that treats the veins from the inside.  This vein ablation procedure can help patients ease symptoms like vein pain, in addition to cosmetically treating the bulging varicose veins. This outpatient procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist and uses heat energy from a laser to seal the afflicted vein. By closing this vein, pressure is relieved in the twisted, varicose veins allowing them to decompress and become much less noticeable. Once the diseased vein is closed, the other healthy veins take over to carry blood back from the leg, re-establishing normal flow to the pelvis. 

Call (610) 579-3516 to learn more about this treatment from our vein specialists.

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Is Vein Ablation right for me?

Your physician and an interventional radiologist can best determine if you are a candidate for the procedure.  Enlarged and swollen blood vessels commonly associated with varicose veins can also cause vein pain and impaired walking that can generally worsen as the day goes on. In more severe cases darkening of the skin can occur. Compared to traditional “vein stripping” techniques, venous ablation is effective, has fewer negative outcomes (up to 95% success rates), leaves virtually no scars and has much less pain during recovery.

Other Varicose Vein Treatments

Is a Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure safe in Removing Varicose Veins?

Radiofrequency ablation surgery is extremely safe, however as with all surgical procedures, there are risks that should be fully discussed with a physician.  Some of these risks, although minimal, can include perforation of the vein, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, infection and skins burns if the vein treated is close to the surface of the skin.

How should I prepare for this procedure?

No special preparation is necessary. However you must let your technologist or physician know if you are allergic to anesthetics, have a pacemaker, internal defibrillator or other implanted medical device.  You will be asked to wear protective glasses while lasers are in use. To minimize the risk of bruising and bleeding, patients who take blood thinners may be asked to stop their medication prior to the procedure.  The leg being treated will be sterilized and covered with a surgical drape and a local anesthetic will be administered to the site where the incision will be made, generally immediately above or below the knee.

What should I expect during this vein treatment?

Unlike more invasive procedures that surgically strip veins from the leg, venous ablation surgery uses a catheter, which is inserted through a single and very small incision.  The skin is sterilized, local numbing anesthesia is administered, and a small needle is inserted into the vein to be treated using ultrasound for guidance.  An external ultrasound transducer is used to study the vein and track its path.  It is also used to guide the insertion of the catheter and gauge effectiveness of the procedure. 

The tip of the catheter utilizes fiber optics to deliver laser energy to heat and seal off the vein.  Sealing off the faulty vein does not adversely affect circulation because other veins assume management for blood return back to the heart.  The treated vein shrinks and seals and is unlikely to reopen and cause a recurrence of symptoms. Your physician may prescribe compression stockings to enhance your comfort and request that you have a follow-up ultrasound exam in two to four weeks to ensure that the procedure was successful.

Before & After Photos

For more information

Read other frequently asked questions about vein symptoms, treatment, and our office. 

Call us at (610) 579-3516 for an appointment at our Glen Mills, PA office location or request an appointment online.