If you’re ready (or desperate) to get rid of varicose veins forever, you may wonder about the many possible treatments — and if they really work. So let’s get straight to the bottom line: Yes! Radiofrequency ablation makes your varicose veins disappear.
In fact, the treated veins permanently go away, restoring the appearance of your legs, treating the underlying cause, and eliminating any symptoms caused by your engorged veins.
As a vascular specialist, Dr. Laura Fernandes at Woodlands Heart & Vascular Institute has extensive experience treating varicose veins using safe, advanced techniques like radiofrequency (RF) ablation. Here, she explains what causes varicose veins and how RF ablation works.
Varicose veins begin when valves controlling the blood flow in your legs fail. The damaged valves let blood flow in the wrong direction — down your leg instead of up toward your heart.
This condition, called chronic venous insufficiency, allows blood to accumulate in the vein, causing engorged varicose veins that become twisted and bulge above the skin’s surface.
Most people seek treatment to get rid of the unsightly veins. Or they may be anxious to eliminate the problem because varicose veins make their legs feel heavy, tired, itchy, and downright painful.
But treating your varicose veins also takes care of chronic venous insufficiency by eliminating the faulty valves. This is important because it prevents serious complications caused by venous insufficiency, such as nonhealing ulcers in your lower leg.
Radiofrequency ablation is a noninvasive outpatient procedure that only requires a tiny cut in your leg. We insert a slim, flexible catheter through the cut and into your blood vessels. Using real-time ultrasound imaging, we guide the catheter into the diseased vein.
Then we insert a radiofrequency device, ClosureFast™ and gently guide it to the end of the vein. We inject tumescent anesthesia into the space surrounding the vein to ensure your comfort during the RF ablation procedure.
The end of the ClosureFast device sends out RF energy to a small section of the vein. The heat quickly collapses the vein in that section, then we move the catheter into the next section and repeat the process. As we gradually withdraw the catheter from the vein, every part of the blood vessel is treated and collapses.
When we finish treating the entire vein, we remove the catheter and place a bandage over the cut.
After the treated vein collapses, it turns into scar tissue. Your body naturally breaks down and removes the scar tissue, gradually eliminating the vein and making it disappear.
As you can tell from the process, RF ablation permanently removes the treated vein — and your symptoms vanish along with it.
Your body automatically redirects the flow of blood to a healthy vein. As a result, you regain normal circulation through your leg along with confidence in your new appearance.
Your ClosureFast procedure takes 45-60 minutes, but you should plan on being in the office longer because it takes time to prepare you for the procedure. Plus, we monitor your health for a time after we finish.
You’ll wear compression stockings for a week after your procedure. Most people feel their symptoms get better in a few days, with full improvement in two weeks. You can also return to most activities in a day or two, but we typically ask you to hold off on strenuous activities for a few weeks.
To learn more about radiofrequency ablation, call Woodlands Heart & Vascular Institute or use online booking to schedule an appointment today.