What’s the Difference Between Endovenous Laser Ablation and Radiofrequency Ablation?

What’s the Difference Between Endovenous Laser Ablation and Radiofrequency Ablation?

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) are very similar procedures. Both are used to treat varicose veins, are performed quickly in a clinic, and usually require no recovery time. Neither procedure requires the use of general anaesthetics because they are virtually painless. The two methods of endovenous treatment are also proven to be very effective. So, why choose one method of treatment over the other?

Both types of treatment use heat to close off diseased veins. The major difference between the two is the source of heat. However, there are subtle differences that make each one more effective at treating certain conditions. Endovenous laser ablation is preferred for varicose veins which return after surgery in general or very large varicose veins. Radiofrequency ablation is usually preferred by some patients if they want as little pain or bruising as possible.

Endovenous Laser Ablation Radial Fiber

This “in the leg” laser treatment is guided by ultrasound.

What Is Endovenous Laser Ablation?

During this procedure, a very thin laser filament is inserted into the damaged vein. Ultrasound allows the doctor to guide the filament to the right spot. Once in place, the laser heats the vein, causing it to close. The procedure takes about an hour during which most patients have little or no pain. The doctor will remove the filament and the patient can return home or to work.

Our doctors frequently recommend EVLA for patients with large, symptomatic varicose veins. It is also very effective in treating venous insufficiency and reducing the risk of forming blood clots.  EVLA might cause a slightly higher risk of pain and bruising than radiofrequency ablation, but this is only minimal with the newer laser fibers.


Radiofrequency Ablation Varicose Veins

What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?

During this procedure, a doctor places a thin catheter into the diseased vein. The catheter emits radio waves, causing the tip of the catheter to heat up and cause the vein to close. Once the doctor removes the catheter, the vein begins to heal.

RFA is often used to treat the saphenous veins which carry blood from the ankle, lower leg, and thigh to the femoral vein in the thigh. Radiofrequency ablation is nearly 100% effective with little to no recovery time required.


After Vein Treatment

We require patients to wear compression stockings after either vein treatment to ensure the treated vein stays closed and to speed up the healing process. You will have a follow-up appointment within one to two weeks to make sure the vein treatment was successful. If any diseased veins remain, we will use ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy to complete the treatment. 

healthy male and female legs

Choosing the Best Vein Treatment for You

At The Vein Institute, we require every patient to have a medical consultation prior to treatment. During your consultation, one of our doctors will discuss the benefits and minor risks of the recommended treatment. The risks are minimal for radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser ablation. Also, research shows that there are also no differences in the likelihood or degree of postoperative complication rates. 

The Vein Institute performs both radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser ablation as walk in and walk out treatments in our clinic. To learn more about these treatments for varicose veins, talk with one of our vein specialists today. Our doctors will help you understand the benefits and potential risks of each procedure. We are here to help you get the treatment you need to restore health and beauty to your legs. 

We invite you to book your appointment today on 1300 535 017.

Are Your Veins Trying To Tell You Something?

Clinics conveniently located in Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra. Call us today to speak to a vein expert and discuss your needs.


Book now

1300 535 017

Main Menu Appointment Form

  • Please briefly explain what treatment you are after or how we can help.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.