Radiofrequency Ablation for Varicose Veins: What to Expect

Mar 01, 2024

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Do you tend to hide your legs because of varicose veins? Radiofrequency ablation can help you get rid of them so you can wear shorts confidently again. Here’s everything you need to know about the procedure.

Radiofrequency ablation can reliably remove a varicose vein from sight. Varicose veins are the bulging, twisted, veins you can see protruding from the surface of your skin, most often on the legs. Veins become this way when the valves inside them become weak and struggle to push blood upward. As a result, blood pools in these veins and causes their walls to expand and bulge. 

Varicose veins are largely harmless but can be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency, a condition that makes it difficult for blood to return to your heart through your veins. They can sometimes itch or feel sore, but many people primarily take issue with the way they look: Dark blue, purple, or red veins contrasted against your natural skin tone tend to draw the eye. You’re not alone if you take steps to hide your varicose vein with long pants or tights. 

Nnaemeka Umerah, MD, Anayo Umerah, MD, and the team at Women’s Health Institute in Macon and Warner Robins, Georgia, evaluate varicose veins and can suggest lifestyle changes to accommodate your vascular health. They also provide several treatments to eliminate varicose veins including radiofrequency ablation (RFA), an advanced procedure that uses heat to collapse an unwanted varicose vein for good. With an effectiveness rate of around 99%, RFA is an excellent choice for clearing your legs of varicose veins. 

Your consultation for varicose vein treatment

Your journey to varicose vein-free skin starts with a consultation at Women’s Health Institute. During this visit, our experts evaluate your varicose veins and overall health. They can then help you compare different varicose vein treatments and make recommendations based on your needs. 

Since RFA is minimally invasive, there isn’t much required preparation. Our experts might advise you to prepare for radiofrequency ablation by:

  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Wearing loose clothing to your visit
  • Avoid applying lotion to treatment areas on the day of your visit
  • Stop taking specific medications

You should also be sure to bathe or shower before your visit and avoid shaving the treatment site. 

What to expect during RFA

You can expect the entire RFA procedure to take just under an hour. Our team begins the process by telling you to lay on an examination table before injecting your leg with numbing medication. 

Once the targeted leg is numb, our team uses ultrasound imaging to guide the procedure. They puncture the targeted vein with a needle and position a catheter into your leg. Through the catheter, the team can direct radiofrequency energy. The energy heats the targeted vein until it collapses. 

Once the vein is closed, the team slowly removes the catheter and applies pressure to the needle site to control bleeding. They finish by placing a bandage or compression stocking on your leg. 

What to expect after RFA

After RFA closes a varicose vein, blood can no longer flow through it. Eventually, the vein disappears entirely as blood reroutes through other surrounding vessels. 

Our team gives you specific instructions to ensure a complication-free recovery and exceptional treatment results. We advise you to:

  • Wear compression stockings
  • Walk a few times a day
  • Rest with your legs elevated
  • Avoid strenuous exercise, heavy lifting, and long periods of standing as advised
  • Avoid air travel as advised
  • Take a break from hot baths, hot tubs, and saunas

Our team can give you specific timelines on any advised limitations after radiofrequency ablation. They’ll also follow up with you about your recovery and can answer any questions you have about the healing process. 

Enjoy varicose vein-free legs this summer with radiofrequency ablation at Women’s Health Institute. To book a consultation, call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online.