Frequently asked questions about Venous Ablation
1. What is radiofrequency (RF) endovenous ablation therapy?
The procedure is a minimally invasive treatment option that uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to effectively treat patients suffering from varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). Dr. Kong or Dr. Benedick will insert the ablation catheter into the diseased vein to provide consistent and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to shrink and seal closed. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood will re-route itself to other healthy veins.
2. How is this procedure different from vein stripping?
During vein stripping, incisions are made in the groin and calf, and a tool is threaded through the diseased vein to pull the vein out of the leg. With the RF ablation procedure, only one small incision is made at the insertion site and the vein is then treated and left in place. This minimally invasive approach reduces the likelihood of pain and bruising.
3. How is the radiofrequency procedure different from endovenous laser?
Although the RF procedure and endovenous laser ablation are both minimally invasive procedures, a comparative, multi-center study showed that the RF procedure was associated with statistically significant lower rates of pain, bruising and complications. Patients undergoing the procedure also reported improvements in quality of life measures up to four times faster than patients treated with endovenous laser ablation (the study was conducted with a 980nm laser).
4. How long does the procedure take?
The procedure takes approximately 45-60 minutes, although patients may normally spend several hours at our office due to normal pre- and post-treatment procedures.
5. Is it painful?
Most patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the ablation procedure. Our physicians will give you a local anesthetic to numb the treatment area.
6. How quickly after treatment can I return to normal activities?
Patients treated with venous ablation may resume normal activities more quickly than patients who undergo surgical vein stripping or endovenous laser ablation. With this procedure, the average patient typically resumes normal activities within a few days.
For a few weeks following the treatment, we may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (heavy lifting, for example) or prolonged periods of standing.
7. How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?
Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within 1-2 weeks following the procedure.
8. Is there any scarring, bruising or swelling after the venous ablation?
Patients report limited to no scarring, bruising or swelling following the procedure.
9. What potential risks and complications are associated with RF venous ablation?
As with all medical procedures, potential risks and complications exist. Significant complications are rare. Our physicians will outline these for you for your particular situation.
10. Is this procedure suitable for me?
One of our vein specialists can tell you if RF venous ablation is the right option for your vein problem. Experience has shown that many patients with varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency can be treated with this procedure.
11. Is age an important consideration?
The most important step in determining whether or not this is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination by one of our physicians. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not you may benefit from venous ablation. The procedure has been used to treat both women and men across a wide range of ages.
12. How effective is the procedure long term?
The RF venous ablation has been shown in a large international, multi-center study to be 93% effective over three years.
13. Is this covered by my insurance?
Many insurance companies pay for the procedure in part or in full. We will help you determine if your insurance will cover the procedure should you be a candidate for it.