Vein Ablation

Vein ablation is a minimally invasive treatment, used to close the vein. Doctors use heat to form scar tissue, cutting off the blood flow to the vein. The body naturally re-routes the flow of blood through healthy veins.

What is Vein Ablation?

Vein ablation is a medical procedure treating varicose vein disorders. Thermal heat in the form of radiofrequency waves or laser energy is applied directly to the vein to stop the flow of blood. Heat allows the doctor to cauterize the vein and stops the characteristic pooling of blood in the vein.

Both forms of treatment are invasive and performed as outpatient procedures using general anesthesia.

  • Radiofrequency (RF) uses RF electrical heat waves.
  • Endovenous laser uses amplified light heat.

The choice between treatments depend on the individual’s health, size and severity of the vein. Your doctor can explain the perquisites for selecting the best method for you.

What Causes Vein Ablation

Our body relies on the movement of blood throughout the body, returning it back to the heart for re-circulation. The veins in our legs are part of this process working against gravity to push the blood back to the heart.

When the valves in the vein fail to function or weaken with age or illness, the blood collects, enlarging the vein. Sometimes the cause is related to a higher health risk associated with circulatory problems, necessitating the need for the vein ablation procedure.

Factors contributing to this condition include:

  • Age
  • Weight (obesity)
  • Gender (hormones)
  • Occupational activity
  • Family history

Symptoms of Vein Ablation

Symptoms vary in severity. Some experience pain, aching, itching and rash. Others have a sense of heaviness or restless legs. Left untreated, it can develop into edema, causing the legs to swell, changing the skin's color and prompting skin ulcers.

  • Muscle cramping, throbbing and burning sensation
  • Veins can harden, causing skin inflammation, signaling vascular disorders

Many believe this condition is part of the aging process and ignore the symptoms. You need to see a doctor if any of these circumstances exist.

How to Treat Vein Ablation

Your doctor needs to perform a complete examination. The doctor is looking for similar disorders in the surrounding veins. It’s a preventative measure for the future. Once the examination is complete, the doctor can explain which form of treatment will works best for you.

  • Radiofrequency (RF)
  • Endovenous laser

Recovery takes a few weeks. Noticeable improvements are visible within a few days. Follow up visits to your doctor are necessary to make sure the vein closes completely.

All medical treatments have risks. It’s important to talk with your doctor and be sure you understand the procedure and the risks associated with your health. Although the risks are rare, you could experience side-effects.

  • Skin burns due to the heat treatments.
  • Blood clotting is rare but possible.
  • After surgery, some experience a burning sensation that dissipates with time.

Vein Ablation Procedure

The actual procedure takes about an hour to perform using a topical or local anesthetic. The doctor inserts a thin catheter into the vein allowing the heat to come in direct contact with the vein. As a solitary procedure to one specific vein, the surrounding veins are not affected. After the procedure, a compression bandage is wrapped around the area.

To complete the healing process, the doctor prescribes a compression stocking to replace the bandage. It helps to reduce the tenderness and minimizes the formation of potential blood clots. If there are signs of clotting, the doctor will prescribe a short course of blood thinners.

  • Some feel tired for a few week.
  • Slight inflammation of the vein is treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines.

Recovery

You're encouraged to get up and walk short distances after the procedure. Depending on your health, you can return to daily activities – at a slower pace – no strenuous exercise. Some limitations include – no hot baths, long car rides or flight travels for a few days. Elevate the leg throughout the day. Infections or other complications can be prevented when you follow the doctor’s instructions for home care.

Storage and Handling

Medications are used to restore and sustain our health, left unmonitored even the simplest form can cause harm.

  • Keep all medicines out of reach of children, elderly adults and animals.
  • Store medications in a cool, dry place away from direct heat or light.
  • Discard outdated or unused portions properly.

Frequently asked questions

1. How does vein ablation work?
The treatment removes the damaged vein by using forms of heat to close the vein. The procedure breaks down the tissue causing the vein to regress.

2. Do I need to see a doctor?
If you have these symptoms and find yourself unable to perform daily activities – you need to see a doctor.

3. Are there health risks with vein ablation?
Any type of medical procedure has risk. The level of risks is directly connected to your own health. It’s important to discuss the procedure with your doctor and share your information along with family history.

4. How long is the vein ablation procedure and recovery?
Including the check-in time, the procedure takes a few hours. Improvement may appear in less than a week. Treatment recovery needs a few weeks, depending on the severity of your situation.

5. How do these two treatments (RF/Endovenous) compare to other treatment options?
Traditional methods of vein stripping use a skin incision in the groin or calf to remove the vein. Today’s methods are effective and more invasive because the doctor enters though the vein making a smaller incision. The results in most cases is less pain and shorter recovery.

6. What’s the long-term success of vein ablation?
More than ninety percent of the patients experience success with lasting results for three years or more. There are several factors that can influence the results and longevity of the treatment.

7. Does age matter with vein ablation?
Age isn’t the only factor when considering this form of vein treatment. Both men and women have successfully gone through the process with good results. You need to discuss the options with your doctor and understand why one method may be better for you.