Did you know that 60% of leg ulcers are due to varicose veins? Some people tend to think of varicose veins as a cosmetic issue, and while in some cases they may be, they can also result in discomfort and more serious medical problems. In fact, nearly 50% of those with untreated varicose veins will develop chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that leads to inflammation and internal tissue damage at best, and ulcers and cellulitis at worst.
Fortunately, today’s treatments for varicose veins include several non-surgical options. Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is one of the best.
What is RFA, and how does it work to treat varicose veins?
Veins are the blood vessels in our bodies that carry the blood back up to our heart. Because the blood has to flow against gravity, our veins are equipped with one-way valves that help keep the blood from flowing backward. When a valve malfunctions, the blood can pool in the vein, causing it to stretch and bulge. This happens most often in the legs, though it can also happen in other parts of the body.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a procedure that treats varicose veins by heating them with radiofrequency waves. During the procedure, the doctor makes a very small incision near the knee and threads a catheter in the vein up to the groin. Using ultrasound visualization, the doctor is able to apply the radiofrequency waves with precision. The heat energy causes the affected vein to collapse, and the blood is redirected through healthier veins. Over time, the body reabsorbs the destroyed vein.
RFA is a great alternative to traditional methods of treatment. Take a look below at the benefits of radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins.
Fast and safe
RFA is an outpatient procedure that takes an average of 35 to 40 minutes to perform. The non-surgical nature of the procedure eliminates the risks inherent with surgery.
The tiny, ¼ inch incision required for RFA can treat an entire vein up to 30 inches.
Little to no pain
Prior to the RFA procedure, the doctor will treat the area with local anesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel much of anything. Afterward, if you feel any pain or discomfort, it will be mild.
When it comes to post-procedural bruising and swelling, radiofrequency ablation is a superior procedure in comparison to other surgical and non-surgical methods for the treatment of varicose veins. Any mild bruising or swelling should last no more than 10 to 14 days.
Very little downtime
When your varicose veins are treated with RFA, your doctor will likely recommend that you return to your normal activities within 24 hours. You should avoid strenuous exercise or heavy lifting for a week or so, but otherwise, you can carry on, as usual, the day after your procedure.
No need for general anesthesia
General anesthesia puts older adults and those with serious medical problems at risk for confusion, pneumonia, stroke, or heart attack. RFA eliminates these risks because it eliminates the need for general anesthesia in the treatment of varicose veins.
Is radiofrequency ablation right for you?
RFA is used for the treatment of large varicose veins. If you have diseased veins that are causing you discomfort or otherwise negatively impacting your life, you may be a good candidate for radiofrequency ablation.
At San Diego Varicose Vein Treatment Center, we are highly skilled and experienced in the treatment of varicose veins, and we can help determine whether or not RFA is a good fit for you. If it’s not, we have several other methods we can use to eliminate your pain and provide the relief you’re looking for. Call to schedule a consultation today.