What Is Varicose Vein Ablation? | A Doctor’s Guide

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is a varicose vein treatment that works by using heat to close varicose veins permanently.

Varicose veins are enlarged, swollen, twisting veins that often appear on the lower legs. They develop when faulty valves within the veins fail, and allow blood to flow backwards or even pool in the lower legs.

Varicose veins are a common problem, affecting up to 35 percent of adults in the United States, according to the Society for Vascular Surgery. For many of these people, varicose veins are a cosmetic problem. For others, though, varicose veins can cause aching pain or even signal an underlying circulatory problem. Left untreated, varicose veins can even lead to other health problems, including painful sores on the lower legs and ankles.

Varicose vein treatments cause varicose veins to fade from view. Vein treatments also prevent the diseased vein from causing further problems.

About Ablation as a Vein Treatment

Ablation is a medical procedure in which a doctor surgically eradicates diseased tissue. In varicose vein ablation, doctors irritate the diseased vein in ways that scars the blood vessel. The vein reacts to the irritation by swelling shut. Blood reroutes itself to flow through other veins. In time, the treated vein breaks up; nearby tissue absorbs the remnants of the vein, and the varicose vein disappears.

How is ablation performed?

There are several types of varicose vein treatments using ablation. Most involve the use of an ultrasound machine for guidance, thin flexible catheter tubing, and an electrode or fiber to deliver the ablation agent that irritates the vein. The vein doctor creates a small puncture in the skin then feeds the catheter through the skin and into the varicose vein. The vein surgeon then introduces an irritant through the catheter and into the entire length of the affected vein.

In one type of varicose vein treatment, known as sclerotherapy, the doctor injects a foaming agent into the catheter. This foaming agent, known as a sclerosant, irritates and closes the vein. Other types of varicose vein treatments introduce laser light energy or radiofrequency waves that close the vein.

About Radiofrequency Ablation

In radiofrequency ablation, doctors send radio waves down the catheter to irritate the inner lining of the varicose vein. These radio waves create heat at precise segments within the vein. The heat from the radio waves irritates the vein and causes its closure.

How successful is radiofrequency ablation?

Radiofrequency ablation is very successful, working well in about 97 out of every 100 people who undergo the procedure. This means that the pain is generally less severe after ablation than before, and that the results of ablation remain good for two or more years after the procedure.

What is ClosureFast?

ClosureFast is a type of radiofrequency ablation treatments for varicose veins. This treatment uses special technology, known as overlapping segmental radiofrequency ablation, which applies overlapping areas of radiofrequency heat. This overlapping approach makes ClosureFast effective. In fact, with a 91.9 percent closure rate 5 years after treatment, ClosureFast is one of the most successful varicose vein treatments using varicose vein ablation.

Does insurance cover varicose vein treatment?

Insurance coverage differs by policy, but because varicose veins are a type of vein disease, health insurance companies may cover their treatment.

Does vein surgery on legs with varicose veins hurt?

Most patients report feeling very little, if any, pain associated with most varicose vein treatments. Prior to varicose vein ablation, the vein doctor will administer a local or regional anesthetic to numb the treatment area; you may feel slight pinpricks as the doctor injects the anesthetic at various points long the vein. You might sense slight pressure – but not pain – when the vein surgeon inserts the catheter into the vein.

What about after varicose vein ablation?

You may resume most of your normal activities, with the exception of strenuous activity, air travel or prolonged sitting, immediately after varicose vein ablation. In fact, gentle activity stimulates circulation, promotes healing, and reduces your risk of complications.

Learn more about Varicose Laser Ablation Treatment with ClosureFast and other types of varicose vein treatments by making an appointment with Inovia Vein Specialty Centers. Simply fill out our Online Appointment Request Form or call any of our clinics in Northwest Portland , TigardHappy Valley, Hillsboro or Bend, Oregon.

Ready to Start your Vein Treatment Journey?

Request an appointment today to meet with leading vein experts at any of our clinics in:
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