Can Radiofrequency Ablation for Vein Treatment be Repeated?
If you have had radiofrequency ablation but your varicose vein has returned, you may wonder if you can undergo this vein treatment again.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive vein treatment. The procedure uses radio waves that create heat to kill, or “ablate,” tissue safely and effectively. The RFA procedure typically takes less than an hour, can be done in an outpatient clinic, and most people do not find radiofrequency ablation to be uncomfortable.
To perform RFA, a vein doctor inserts a small, flexible catheter into the diseased vein then delivers consistent and uniform heat to the walls of the treated vein. The heat contracts the collagen in the walls of the vein, which causes the vein to collapse and close. The treated vein breaks apart and nearby tissue absorbs the remnants of the vein.
Patients can get up and walk around immediately after the procedure. In fact, walking helps speed healing. Patients should avoid strenuous activity for a couple of weeks – since each patient is different, the attending vein doctor recommend a different recovery plan for every patient.
Why Someone Might Need a Repeated Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure
Varicose veins may appear to return after professional vein care for two reasons. First, vein treatment with RFA and other approaches causes the diseased vein to close, and your body routes blood through nearby veins; these nearby veins can also turn into varicose veins and require treatment. Secondly, radiofrequency ablation successfully reduces the appearance in about 90-95 percent of patients, so about 5-10 percent of patients who undergo RFA need a second procedure.
Women who get varicose veins during pregnancy may need repeat treatments after each pregnancy. Gaining weight, sitting or standing for long periods, or having a genetic predisposition can increase a person’s risk for developing varicose veins several times. In these cases, patients need another treatment. Fortunately, Dr. Stevens can repeat radiofrequency ablation if the varicose vein appears to return.
For more information about radiofrequency ablation and repeating RFA, make an appointment with Premier Heart and Vein Care by calling 1-805-979-4777.
How long does pain last after vein ablation?
There was a time not too long ago when having your ugly, painful varicose veins treated meant undergoing a surgical procedure, with prolonged downtime and significant discomfort afterward. Thankfully, that’s all changed. Today’s vein treatment procedures use advanced techniques to significantly reduce pain and downtime, and minimally-invasive options offer surprisingly fast recovery time and very few uncomfortable after effects.
Radiofrequency ablation or RFA is one of those minimally-invasive vein treatment options that offer very good results coupled with a fast recovery. During RFA, tiny incisions are made in the skin over the affected vein and a thin fiber is inserted into the vein. The fiber emits controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy, which irritates and damages the vessel lining, causing the vein to close off to the flow of blood.
RFA Recovery: What to Expect
RFA can be performed right in the office as an outpatient procedure, and the incisions are so tiny, they can be closed with bandages and adhesives - no sutures required. Most patients resume many of their normal activities within a day or two.
After your surgery, you’ll need to wear compression hose (or a compression bandage, if the vein isn’t on your leg or foot) for a week or two. Compression helps by preventing fluids from accumulating around the treatment area, speeding healing and keeping swelling and bruising to a minimum. You will have some swelling and bruising, but you can expect these effects to resolve within a few days for the mild swelling to a week or so for bruising.
Many patients are concerned about the level of discomfort they’ll experience after radiofrequency ablation, but there’s good news here, too. Most patients experience only minor discomfort, and only for about a week or two after treatment. There may also be some minor numbness in and around the treatment area, but this too typically lasts for only a few weeks, or until healing in the area is complete.
To help with healing - and also to reduce swelling and discomfort - it’s important to stay active after your surgery. While you’ll need to avoid strenuous physical activity, moderate amounts of regular walking are an idea for ensuring adequate blood flow, which is important for proper healing and to avoid clot formation. Always follow the post-op guidelines provided by the doctor, and never take any medicines - including aspirin and supplements - without speaking with the doctor first.
Put an end to painful, unhealthy varicose veins.
As a leading provider of state-of-the-art vein treatments in and around San Luis Obispo, CA, Premier Heart & Vein Care offers advanced vein care options optimized for each patient's unique and individual needs. If you’re suffering from varicose veins, learn how you can relieve painful symptoms and improve your vascular health. Call Premier Heart & Vein Care at 805-979-4777 and schedule a consultation visit today.
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 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.
When Should You Get Sclerotherapy Treatment?
Millions of Americans suffer from varicose veins and spider veins. Treatments to get rid of unsightly veins are also very common. One of the best available vein treatments is called sclerotherapy. Sclerotherapy may be particularly useful for targeting tiny veins that are challenging to treat with other methods. Learn when you should get sclerotherapy treatment and when to take the next step.
What to Expect After a Sclerotherapy Procedure
Physicians consider sclerotherapy a convenient and highly successful vein treatment when a patient seeks to eliminate spider veins or small varicose vessels. Many individuals about to undergo the procedure wonder how they will feel after a session and when they will know if it was successful.
Advances in Technology Provide New Vein Treatment Options for Patients
In the past, patients who were suffering from spider veins or varicose veins could only find relief by going through a lengthy, and sometimes painful, surgical procedure. Recent technological advances have changed the vein treatment options that are available to patients seeking treatment for spider or varicose veins.
Choosing the Right Type of Vein Treatment
Many different types of vein treatment are available. Depending on the nature of your condition, some forms of treatment may be more effective than others. Below is a guide to help you choose the right type of vein treatment for your condition.
Treatments for Spider Veins
Spider veins are small dilated blood vessels that can be located anywhere on the body. Because they are close to the surface of the skin, they are usually visible. Because spider veins can be embarrassing, many people seek treatment.
If your spider veins are not too large, widespread or serious, you may be able to improve the condition through conservative treatments, such as losing weight, elevating your legs, wearing special socks and avoiding long periods of standing. However, in many cases, spider veins must be treated with sclerotherapy. When you undergo sclerotherapy, the doctor will inject a medication under your skin that causes spider veins to collapse. Depending on the severity of the case, sclerotherapy may be performed with or without ultrasound guidance.
Treatments for Varicose Veins
A varicose vein is a vein located near the surface of the skin that has become enlarged and twisted. These veins are easily visible, and they may also be painful. As with spider veins, many people seek treatment in order to eliminate embarrassment and discomfort.
Conservative treatments, such as special socks, walking and weight loss, may be effective in the treatment of mild cases of varicose veins. However, this condition often requires more invasive treatments. Options for treating varicose veins include:
- Ambulatory microphlebectomy
- Endovenous laser therapy
- Non-thermal vein ablation
Both ambulatory microphlebectomy are minimally invasive surgical treatment options. Ambulatory microphlebectomy involves the surgical removal of unsightly varicose veins, while endovenous laser therapy involves the use of a laser to reroute blood out of abnormal veins.
For patients that want to treat their varicose veins without surgery, non-thermal vein ablation may be the best choice. During this procedure, the physician uses ultrasound guidance to feed a catheter into problematic veins. He or she then uses the catheter to inject medication into the vein that causes it to collapse.
Choosing the Right Treatment
If you are suffering from spider veins and/or varicose veins, skilled vascular surgeons can help you choose the vein treatment that's best for your situation. For treatment advice, contact the vein doctors at the Premier Vein Institute today.