Similar to Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) treats varicose veins by using heat to damage the vein walls, forcing them to collapse and close. Where EVLA uses laser energy to heat the vein, RFA uses radiofrequency energy. To treat varicose veins using RFA, a small incision is made in the leg and radiofrequency energy is directed through a thin tube (catheter). Once the vein is treated, it will gradually be absorbed by the body and disappear.
Radiofrequency Ablation is a Medicare-approved gold standard form of treatment for large varicose veins in the legs, the procedure requires no hospitalisation or time off work and is as effective as traditional stripping surgery.
After treatment, compression stockings are worn for approximately 1 week. During your follow-up appointment, your doctor will conduct an ultrasound to make sure that the vein is closed.
Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure:
What to Expect from Radiofrequency Ablation
- Duplex ultrasound is used to uncover the vein issues.
- Local anaesthetic is applied.
- A thin RFA fibre is then inserted through a tiny entry point.
- Radiofrequency energy is used to seal the damaged vein.
- Patients are able to walk out of the clinic, in fact, walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged.
- With the exception of long-haul travel (over 6 hours) or high-intensity work-outs, normal daily activity can be resumed right away.
What are the Benefits of Radiofrequency Ablation?
- The procedure can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation).
- No general anaesthetic.
- No time away from work – you are able to return to normal activity immediately.
- Less pain and bruising than standard laser.
Is Radiofrequency Ablation Safe?
Yes, Radiofrequency Ablation is a safe and effective treatment method for varicose veins. It is associated with a high success rate and patient satisfaction. Post-treatment, there may be minor soreness and bruising. Any discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication.
STEP / 01
A detailed ultrasound scan will be used to highlight leaking veins.
STEP / 02
Treatment (if necessary)
After a local anaesthetic is applied a fiber is inserted into your varicose vein to seal it shut.
STEP / 03
A soft bandage is then used until your next visit to help keep sealed your treated vein.
After your scan at our clinic your leg will be cleaned before a tiny amount of anaesthetic is applied (using super fine needles).
Access to your faulty vein will then occur before the Radiofrequency Ablation fibre is inserted
After this a cool anaesthetic is then applied around your vein to protect surrounding tissue.
During the procedure the Radiofrequency Ablation fibre will be pulled back to seal the faulty vein. THERE IS NO PAIN WHEN THE RadioFrequency Ablation fibre IS BEING USED.
After the procedure you will be required to wear bandages/stockings for three days and walk half an hour a day. Long distance travel is not permitted for 4 weeks.
Your leg may feel number for six hours after the procedure but no effect on walking will occur.
A follow up appointment is required for all patients. At this appointment side veins may be treated with ultrasound guided sclerotherapy.
In this procedure the radiofrequency ablation fibre closes the vein wall and seals of the faulty vein. The closed vein eventually disappears as the body reabsorbs it over time.
How does blood get back to the heart if the vein is damaged?
Varicose veins do not pump blood effectively to the heart so they are not responsible for your circulation. In any case blood finds its way to the heart using other veins (everyone has billions of veins).
No preparation is required before the procedure. Please make sure you have breakfast if you are having the procedure performed in the morning.
Yes you can drive after the procedure if you have not requested any Valium however no long distance travel > 5 hours is recommended. If this is necessary you are required to have an injection of Clexane.
All patients must wear stockings overnight and for up to 3 days.
All patients must have a review scan after the procedure between 1-2 weeks from the date of treatment.
Rare: Soreness or phlebitis which usually settles with Nurofen.
Very Rare: DVT/PE. An extremely rare complication which will require the use of Clexane.
Extremely rare: Nerve damage.