Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive outpatient procedure frequently prescribed for individuals with chronic venous insufficiency. The procedure involves delivering radiofrequency energy at 120 °C to a targeted vein to heat and seal the vein closed. In doing so, blood flow is diverted to healthier veins with functional valves and stronger walls.
RFA is performed using local anesthesia without any type of sedation.
Endovenous radiofrequency ablation is low risk and FDA approved for the treatment of CVI. The procedure is quick, relatively painless, and produces minimal scarring and side effects — if any at all.
During vein ablation, a thin catheter (about the size of a piece of spaghetti) is inserted into the insufficient vein via a tiny incision. The catheter is then threaded through the vessel until it reaches the desired area to be sealed. Radiofrequency energy is sent to a heating element in the catheter to heat and collapse segments in the vein until the desired section of vein is completely closed off. The procedure requires about 30 min to complete.
Your body will naturally reroute blood to healthier veins while the ablated vein turns into scar tissue over time. With improved vein function, symptoms of CVI will gradually disappear and normal function may resume.
Patients resume light activity such as walking the same day as the procedure. There is no “down time” after RFA, and you can return to work the same day if necessary. You will be required to wear compression stockings for up to one week post procedure to aid in healing. Over the next several days after treatment, you can resume more intense physical activities such as biking, aerobics, and weight lifting. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled within a week after the procedure.
To determine if you’re a candidate for vein ablation, schedule a consultation with one of our vein specialists. A full medical history will be taken in addition to an ultrasound evaluation of your legs to determine if CVI is the cause of your symptoms and radiofrequency ablation is the correct course of treatment for your condition.
If radiofrequency ablation is right for you, we will arrange for you to consult with one of our highly experienced interventional radiologists to discuss the procedure, its risks and any concerns or questions you may have before scheduling the procedure.
As with all medical procedures, certain risks and side effects are possible. However, endovenous radiofrequency ablation has a very low risk profile. Complications may include: