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Is radiofrequency ablation considered surgery?

Millions of people suffer from varicose veins, along with symptoms like pain, swelling, and heaviness in the legs and feet. Without proper medical care, those ugly, twisted veins can cause skin changes and stubborn sores, increasing your risk for infection and other serious medical problems. In addition to being physically unattractive, varicose veins can also be a sign of a more serious underlying vein condition, and no matter what, these diseased veins prevent areas of your body from receiving the normal blood flow they need to stay supplied with important nutrients as well as oxygen.

Fortunately, today there are a variety of vein treatment options that can help eliminate varicose veins and restore normal, healthy circulation. One of the most popular options is radiofrequency ablation (or RFA), a state-of-the-art outpatient procedure that offers patients fast results with little to no downtime.

Radiofrequency Ablation: The Procedure

Strictly speaking, you might classify RFA as surgery, but more frequently, it’s referred to as a medical procedure. That’s because unlike many types of surgery that require general anesthesia and large incisions, RFA uses tiny openings in your vein, and it’s most commonly performed under local anesthesia used to numb the area being treated.

Prior to the RFA procedure, your veins are carefully evaluated and “mapped” so Dr. Stevens can plan the best “approach” for removing the damaged vein. Just prior to the procedure, the insertion site is determined, and the area is carefully cleaned, then numbed. Once the area is completely anesthetized, one small incision is made into the skin, and a very thin tube called a catheter is inserted into the vein through an introducer sheath. The catheter serves as a conduit for the RFA energy delivery.

Once the catheter is inserted into the vein, it’s “triggered” to emit tiny, controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy, which in turn heats up the vein lining, damaging it and causing it to collapse or close, preventing the flow of blood through the vein. Once the entire length of the damaged vein is treated, the catheter and introducer sheath are removed, and the incision is closed with a steristrip. No sutures or stitches are needed.

After the procedure, you’ll be observed for a brief period before being discharged. A compression bandage or stocking will be placed over the treatment site to aid in healing, and over time, the sealed-off vein will be absorbed by your body and carried away by your body’s “waste disposal” system. Normal blood flow will be redirected to neighboring healthy veins. During a follow-up visit, your vein will be evaluated to ensure it’s completely sealed.

Learn more about RFA in San Luis Obispo.

Premier Heart & Vein Care is a leading provider of vein care for men and women in and around San Luis Obispo, California. Dr. Ken Stevens and the entire staff provide customized, safe, effective vein treatment to relieve varicose vein symptoms and help patients enjoy optimal health at every age. To learn more about RFA and other vein treatment options or to schedule a vein evaluation, call Premier Heart & Vein Care at 805-979-4777 today.

What is the Best Exercise for Heart Health?

Most cardiology doctors would agree that good heart care includes a nutritious diet and exercise. A heart-healthy diet is high in dietary fiber, low in salt, and replaces unhealthy fats with healthy polyunsaturated fats, found in certain fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Exercise is important to a healthy heart because the heart is a muscle, which means regular exercise helps the heart muscle stay strong.

Exercise also keeps weight under control and helps prevent artery damage from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar, all of which can lead to heart attack.

Anyone hoping to improve his or her overall cardiovascular fitness should perform 150 minutes or more per week of moderate exercise or at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, according to the American Heart Association, or combine moderate and vigorous exercise. Many people find it effective and convenient to exercise for a half hour a day, five times per week.

Certain exercises are better for heart health than are other exercises, though.

Best Exercise for Optimal Heart Health

The best exercise for heart health gets the heart pumping and the blood moving. The effects of pumping the heart muscle has the same benefit as pumping any muscle – the exercise makes the muscle stronger and more efficient at doing its job. Exercises that stimulate circulation keep blood flowing. Poor circulation allows to pool and clot; blood clots can travel to the arteries supplying blood to the heart to cause a heart attack.

Aerobic exercise promotes good cardiovascular health by improving circulation, which lowers blood pressure and heart rate. Aerobic workouts also help lower weight and decrease blood sugar levels, which reduces the risk of diabetes, which increases the risk of heart disease.

Also known as “cardio” because of its cardiovascular benefits, aerobic exercise is an activity that causes you to breathe heavily. Muscles use oxygen to extract energy from the amino acids, carbohydrates and fatty acids in food.

Examples of aerobic exercise include running, bicycling, swimming, walking, hiking, dancing, cross-country skiing and kickboxing. Taking an aerobics class or working out on cardio machines also get the heart muscle pumping in beneficial ways.

For more information on the best exercise for heart health, consult with Dr. Stevens. Each person is a unique individual, so the best exercise for one person’s heart may not be the best exercise for another.

What not to eat when you have heart problems

If you have heart problems, you may be at risk of a variety of complications, some of which may even be fatal. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing heart-related complications. One of the most important changes you can make involves improvements to your diet.

What Not to Eat

Some of the foods you should avoid when you have heart problems include:

  • Foods containing high fructose corn syrup - The liver doesn't metabolize fructose in the same way it metabolizes other sugars. When you consume large amounts of fructose, your body is more likely to produce new fat, which is hard on your heart. In addition, high fructose corn syrup raises your blood sugar, which leads to other problems.
  • Foods that are refined or heavily processed - High levels of processing removes many of the components of food that are most nutritious, leaving behind only the harmful parts. In addition, processing usually adds ingredients to food that make it even more unhealthy, such as added sugar and/or sodium.
  • Processed meats - Studies have shown that the preservatives and sodium in processed meat can worsen existing heart problems or contribute to the development of new heart problems.
  • Foods high in cholesterol - When you eat too much cholesterol, you can develop cholesterol plaques inside your arteries. These plaques raise your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Other Lifestyle Changes

In addition to eating healthy food, you can also make other lifestyle changes to improve your heart health. Exercising on a regular basis and finding ways to reduce your stress levels may lower the risk of heart-related complications. If you have heart problems, you should also take all of your prescribed medications as recommended and make regular appointments with your preventative cardiology specialist for heart care. 

If you would like to learn more about managing heart problems, or if you think you may have a heart problem, please contact Premier Heart & Vein Care today to make an appointment.

Do Veins Grow Back After a Radiofrequency Ablation?

Millions of people suffer from varicose veins in the U.S., and every year, many of them find relief from their symptoms through state-of-the-art varicose vein treatments like radiofrequency ablation. Many of these techniques are minimally-invasive, which means they can be done in the office without general anesthesia and without long incisions or large scars. Plus, they can be performed on an outpatient basis, with a fast return to the patient’s normal routines.

Another benefit of today’s varicose vein treatments: They’re extremely effective, and most everyone who has their veins treated can expect a high degree of success and an extremely low risk of recurrence. However, in some cases, there is a very low risk a problematic vein will form in the same area. Understanding the risk of recurrence - and why it can occur - is an important part of getting ready for your treatment.

Radiofrequency Ablation and Varicose Vein Recurrence

Radiofrequency ablation or RFA uses intense, controlled heat energy to irritate or “damage” the lining of a damaged vessel. Once the lining is irritated, it causes the vein to collapse on itself, shutting off the flow of blood through the vein. Instead, blood is rerouted to healthy veins to promote normal circulation in the area. Over time, the scarred vein tissue is usually absorbed into the body.

RFA is an extremely effective vein treatment technique. But as with other vein treatment options, there is a very minor risk of recurrence of varicose veins in the same location. Typically, recurrence occurs for one of three primary reasons:

  1. The doctor is inexperienced in using RFA. One of the most important things you can do to ensure your procedure is a success is to select a doctor who’s experienced in a variety of vein treatment techniques. Skilled, experienced vein doctors can make sure the technique they use is optimized for your needs so you can enjoy the best possible outcome.
  2. The patient’s veins and vein health were not properly evaluated. Having a thorough vein health evaluation prior to treatment is vitally important for determining the underlying cause of your varicose veins. An evaluation helps your doctor decide which treatment option is most likely to offer long-term success based on your health profile.
  3. The patient is genetically predisposed to varicose veins. There’s really nothing you can do about your genes, but whether you’re genetically more likely to develop varicose veins or not, you can - and should - take steps to improve your vascular health after your varicose vein treatment. That means following the doctor’s recommendations during recovery as well as leading a healthy lifestyle, with a balanced diet high in fiber and low in sodium and unhealthy fats, regular moderate exercise, and drinking lots of fluids. Keeping your weight under control can also help by decreasing pressure on the tiny valves inside your veins.

Eliminate Painful Varicose Veins Once and For All

Varicose veins should never be ignored. Even if they don't cause painful symptoms, they can still be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Take the next step toward better circulatory health. Call Premier Heart and Vein Care at 1-805-979-4777 and schedule your vein health evaluation today.

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is an effective varicose vein treatment.

Ablation is any medical procedure in which a doctor uses heat to damage tissue with the intent of causing scars to form. Vein surgeons use ablation to treat varicose veins. The heat causes enough damage to shut down the vein. The body routes blood to other veins. The treated vein breaks apart, and nearby tissue absorbs the remnants as the varicose vein fades from view.
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What You Need to Know about Varithena®, the Varicose Vein Treatment

Do you have varicose veins? Varithena® might be the right varicose vein treatment for you!

If you have varicose veins, you are not alone. About 22 million adults in the United States suffer from these twisting, bulging, unsightly veins, according to the American Heart Association. Untreated, varicose veins can cause discomfort, achy or heavy feelings in the legs, and even burning, swelling, throbbing, and muscle cramping of the legs.
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What Kind of Doctor Treats Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins can be both unsightly and embarrassing for patients. In many cases, they also cause uncomfortable symptoms. If you are struggling with varicose veins, you may wonder what type of doctor you should see to deal with this condition.
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Can You Detect Blocked Arteries From an ECG?

Cardiovascular problems are scary; simply not knowing enough about the health of your heart can lead to major medical problems later in life. Electrocardiography, the practice of measuring electrical signals to diagnose potential problems with the heart, gives medical staff a non-invasive way of reviewing the hearts’ activity. An electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) refers to the actual test. While often used for many medical procedures, an ECG holds great potential for diagnosing cardiovascular problems.
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Why Varicose Veins are More Common in Females

Gender plays a huge role in whether or not you get varicose veins. Discover why women are more susceptible to getting varicose or spider veins than men.
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How to Prevent Varicose Veins From Getting Worse

Varicose veins are a common problem that can be both painful and embarrassing. Unfortunately, once this condition develops, it tends to worsen over time without the right treatment. To prevent varicose veins from getting worse, you need to consult an experienced doctor for vein treatment as soon as possible.
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Latest Blog Posts

Is radiofrequency ablation considered surgery?

Millions of people suffer from varicose veins, along with symptoms like pain, swelling, and heaviness in the legs and feet. Without proper medical care, those ugly, twisted veins can cause skin changes and stubborn sores, increasing your risk for infection Read More

What is the Best Exercise for Heart Health?

Most cardiology doctors would agree that good heart care includes a nutritious diet and exercise. A heart-healthy diet is high in dietary fiber, low in salt, and replaces unhealthy fats with healthy polyunsaturated fats, found in certain fish, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Exercise is important Read More