Radiofrequency (RF) Ablation
RF Ablation is used to treat venous insufficiency which can often lead to unsightly (and often painful) varicose veins. It is the most commonly performed vein ablation procedure after laser-based vein ablation. Heat-based therapies such as RF vein ablation have become the new standard for care of uncomplicated varicose veins caused by venous insufficiency.
Radiofrequency vein ablation involves the insertion of a catheter into the refluxing vein. The tip of the catheter houses a radio frequency generator to create the heat necessary for the procedure. The use of targeted heat therapy collapses and, ultimately, destroys the problematic vein to eliminate reflux within the blood vessel. Over time, the blood vessel becomes scar tissue.
The procedure requires between 30 and 45 minutes with a few minutes of Pre and Post procedure time. Patients will be encouraged to begin walking immediately after the procedure, but intense activity is discouraged for at least two to three week or until your vein specialist allows it.
Most patients will begin seeing the results of the procedure within a week to 10 days and improvements will be noticed gradually over the course of several weeks.
Benefits of RF Vein Ablation
- RF ablation has shown excellent results with about a 90% efficacy rate at two years and over 80% at 5 years.
- Many of the common risks and considerations associated with more invasive vein therapies are reduced when performing an RF ablation. This includes a shorter recovery time, and a lower risk for pain, bruising, deep vein thrombosis, and infection
- Unlike some other vein procedures, RF vein ablation does not require the use of general or spinal anesthesia. Local anesthesia is usually sufficient for most patients
Risks of RF Vein Ablation
While this procedure does have some risks and considerations, they tend to be mild and easily manageable. Some of the most common risks include:
- Pain and discomfort. Most patients will experience some discomfort after the procedure. The level of discomfort largely depends on the area being treated as well as the patients pain tolerance. Newark techniques for performing the RF ablation have helped to reduce the amount of discomfort that most patients feel
- While extremely effective, there is a small– 10 to 15% risk of recurrence. This may require an additional procedure
- There is a small risk of clotting in the deep veins which may cause Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. This risk is lower than 1%.
Risk of infection at the puncture point is possible, but uncommon