Radiofrequency (RF) ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that treats varicose veins in the legs. These veins present problems for men and women alike. This type of treatment is good for patients who have suffered with the discomfort and unsightly appearance of varicose veins, allowing them to live a more comfortable life.
In the United States, over 30% of adults are affected by venous disease. (1) This can affect many aspects of life including clothing choices, self-confidence, and even mobility. It’s tough seeing prominent, twisted veins on your legs and being unable to hide them. Thankfully an RF ablation procedure can target and eliminate varicose veins, helping you achieve smoother legs and better overall quality of life.
At Pacific Med Health Group, Dr. Lee Au and his team of staff can help you deal with varicose veins in a straightforward, minimally invasive procedure. For many years, Dr. Au has helped patients in Beverly Hills, and Pomona, Apple Valley with vein treatments, bariatric surgery, med spa treatments and other key procedures. To book your private consultation with us, please call (800) 555-5551 or complete this form to get in touch with us.
- 1 About Varicose Veins
- 2 Benefits of RF Ablation for Varicose Veins
- 3 Candidates for RF Ablation
- 4 Personal Consultation
- 5 Preparation
- 6 Procedure
- 7 Recovery
- 8 Results
- 9 Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
- 10 Cost of RF Ablation for Varicose Veins in Pomona, CA
- 11 References
About Varicose Veins
Varicose veins are larger, twisted vascular structures in the legs, ankles, and feet. They’re often raised and can be a blueish-purple color. They are caused by damage to the valves inside the vein. These valves control the flow of blood back up to the heart. However, they work against gravity. And when they are damaged, blood can leak backward and pool. This is known as venous reflux, and is a contributing factor to a condition known as chronic venous insufficiency.
Oftentimes, varicose veins can have no symptoms apart from their appearance. However, for some people they can cause:
- Aching Legs
- Heavy Legs
- Itchy Skin
- Skin Color Change
- Leg Pain at Night
Studies suggest that as many as 25% of women and 15% of men show signs of the early stages of venous reflux. (2) For early signs of venous insufficiency and varicose veins, we may recommend wearing compression socks. Without intervention, discomfort from varicose veins can develop further. So, the need for straightforward, minimally-invasive solutions like RF ablation is significant. In more advanced venous disease, it may be necessary to undergo RF ablation, laser ablation, sclerotherapy, or microphlebectomy.
What Factors Can Predict Varicose Veins?
There are many factors that make varicose veins more likely to occur. They are statistically more common in women, and are also more likely to occur due to any of the following:
- Multiple Pregnancies
- Standing for Long Periods
- History of DVT (2)
If varicose veins run in your family, you may be more likely to get them, especially if your job involves a lot of standing, and as you get older. Therefore, finding a treatment that works well for you is important.
How Does RF Ablation Work for Varicose Veins?
Radiofrequency ablation is an effective treatment option for varicose veins. The technique uses thermal energy that causes damage to the wall of the vein. Through the use of a special catheter, tiny electrodes are placed in the affected vein. These electrodes emit radiofrequency energy which causes the walls of the vein to contract and collapse. Over time, the vein is broken down and resorbed by the body.
Benefits of RF Ablation for Varicose Veins
- Most people are good candidates
- Little to no preparation
- Fast, in-office procedure
- Relief from discomfort
- Improves cosmetic appearance
- Minimal downtime
- Can improve self-confidence
Candidates for RF Ablation
Good candidates for RF ablation for varicose veins are patients for whom conservative therapy, like compression socks, has been unsuccessful. RF ablation is one of the best treatment options for larger veins. Generally, the patient is in good overall health. Many men and women choose minimally-invasive surgery for veins that have become very prominent in the legs. Because there is a variety of treatment options available, Dr. Au can determine which treatment will be best for your needs. RF ablation may not be suitable if:
- The vein’s diameter is below 2mm
- You have active superficial vein thrombosis (SVT)
- You have a history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- You are frail or immobile
- You are currently pregnant
- You’ve had a prior procedure on the same leg
- You have a known bleeding or clotting disorder (1)
At Pacific Med Health Group, we offer every patient a chance to speak with our doctors before their treatment date. This allows for the exchange of information about your condition and your medical history with Dr. Au. During your meeting with him, he will perform a physical examination of the leg(s) and measure the size and appearance of the vein(s) you want to treat. He will then explain your treatment options. He will discuss whether RF ablation, or another varicose vein treatment, will be best for your circumstances. In some cases, Dr. Au may recommend a combination treatment. Please feel free to ask questions about any procedure during your visit.
Find out more about vein treatments and other services offered at Pacific Med Health Group by reading our blog.
Dr. Au recommends following these instructions to prepare for your procedure.
- Discontinue blood-thinning medication where indicated by Dr. Au.
- Arrange transportation to and from the Pacific Med Health group office.
- Stay well hydrated in the days before you come to see us.
- Wear loose, easily-adjustable clothing such as sweatpants or shorts.
- Bring extra underwear if the vein is close to the groin (fabric may become stained)
Because RF ablation is minimally-invasive, most patients only experience mild discomfort during the procedure. Dr. Au may offer you oral sedation, which can be taken before your session. Once you are thoroughly prepared for the session, Dr. Au will highlight the vein(s) for treatment with a marker. He will make a small puncture mark in the vein, through which the catheter will be placed. Once in place, Dr. Au will direct RF energy into the vein. Once the electrodes are deployed, he will slowly draw out the catheter. As the catheter is withdrawn, it closes the vein. Once this is complete, Dr. Au will close the incision point and wrap the area in a dressing for protection.
Dr. Au may require you to wear compression stockings. Follow his directions regarding the length of time you wear them carefully. He advises you wear these stockings round-the-clock for the first 2 weeks after your procedure. To reduce swelling in the leg(s), keep them elevated as much as possible in the first few days following treatment. The length of the downtime you will need depends on a number of factors, including how quickly your body heals, and the nature of your job. Most patients return to work a few days after treatment. Take care in the weeks that follow and restrict strenuous physical activities.
As the vein is reduced in size instantly, you may see some visible results immediately after your treatment. The shrunken vein will remain initially, but over time, the body will metabolize it and it will fade from view. You should begin to see your final aesthetic results between 1-32 weeks after your procedure.
Corresponding & Complementary Procedures
There are other treatments for varicose veins. Dr. Au will determine which, or a combination of which will be best for your individual needs at your personal consultation.
Sclerotherapy is a method of reducing the appearance and physical symptoms of varicose veins that involves the injection of an irritant directly into the vein. As with RF ablation, Dr. Au injects the solution into the vein causing it to shrink. Sclerotherapy is well suited to medium-sized veins and smaller spider veins.
ClariVein treatment does not use RF energy to remove varicose veins. Instead, it uses a combination of mechanical destruction and an irritating agent to treat twisted, bulging veins. It is often used in smaller veins where the risk of thermal injury to the nerves around the vein is higher.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous laser ablation (ELA) is an alternative treatment to RF ablation. Rather than using radiofrequency energy, it uses laser light energy to close the vein. The heat produced by the laser creates a burst of steam bubbles inside the vein. As with other ablation techniques, ELA causes a reaction that closes the vein and it is later metabolized by the body.
Microphlebectomy, or ambulatory phlebectomy, is another method of removing unsightly, uncomfortable veins. Slit-like incisions are made in strategic areas of the leg. Rather than closing the problem vein, Dr. Au removes it entirely. It is commonly indicated in the removal of larger veins.
Cost of RF Ablation for Varicose Veins in Pomona, CA
Visit Pacific Med Health Group in Beverly Hills, Apple Valley, or Pomona, for the most effective varicose vein treatments. Book your personal consultation with Dr. Au and find relief from twisted, troublesome veins. Call (800) 555-5551 or reach us via our online form to find out more about vein treatments and the other medical services we offer.