Many Americans suffer from venous disease, a condition that often results in varicose veins and other painful symptoms. This can have a significant effect on your lifestyle.
Radiofrequency vein ablation is a minimally invasive alternative to traditional vein stripping for patients with superficial venous reflux, an underlying cause of varicose veins.
The radiofrequency ablation procedure uses a small catheter to seal the vein shut through a single small incision. The patient can usually return to normal activities within a day. Once a defective saphenous vein is sealed shut, or "occluded," blood flow immediately diverts to healthy veins.
If you are interested in learning more about the benefits and risks associated with this procedure, or in determining if you are a candidate for the treatment, please call St. Francis Heart and Vascular Center at 785.270.5115 to schedule an appointment.
Varicose veins are a condition that can get worse over time. Treatment options for this condition at St. Francis Health’s Vein Clinic include conservative therapy and/or radiofrequency ablation.
The majority of patients at St. Francis Health’s Vein Clinic begin therapy with prescription-strength compression stockings. Compression stockings may reduce the symptoms of varicose veins but it will not cure the varicosities. Most insurance companies require the use of compression stocking before considering treatment of varicose veins by radiofrequency ablation or other more invasive treatment options.
The radiofrequency ablation procedure uses a small catheter to seal the vein shut through a single small incision. Patients can usually return to normal activities within a day. Best of all, once a defective saphenous vein is sealed shut or "occluded," blood flow immediately diverts to healthy veins. Other treatment options, such as vein stripping, do exist, though this is more invasive and is done under general anesthesia in an operating room.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is the procedure painful?
A: Patients report feeling little, if any, pain during and after the procedure.
Q: How quickly can I resume normal activity?
A: Patients are walking immediately after the procedure, and patients typically resume normal activities within one day.
Q: How soon will my symptoms improve?
A: Many patients notice an immediate relief of symptoms such as pain, leg heaviness and fatigue. The full benefits of the procedure may take one to two weeks.
Q: Is there any scarring, bruising or swelling after the procedure?
A: Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling after the procedure.
Q: How is the closure procedure different from vein stripping?
A: During vein stripping, incisions are made in the groin and calf, and a stripper tool is threaded through the diseased vein to pull the vein out of the leg. With the radiofrequency vein ablation procedure, only a small incision is made at the insertion site and the vein is then closed and left in place. This minimally invasive approach eliminates pain and bruising associated with vein stripping surgery.
Q: What if I need the vein for bypass surgery in the future?
A: The radiofrequency ablation procedure treats diseased veins, which are not appropriate for bypass surgery. Physicians can use other healthy vessels if bypass surgery is necessary.
Q: Is the radiofrequency ablation procedure covered by insurance?
A: Most major health insurers cover the procedure. Your physician can discuss your coverage further at the time of the consultation.
Are you a Candidate?
Many factors contribute to the presence of venous reflux disease, including:
- Family History
- Multiple pregnancies
- Working in a standing profession, such as nursing, retail, cosmetology, etc.