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What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Posted on March 18, 2024

Radiofrequency ablation is one of several varicose vein treatment options we offer at our Houston and Dallas area vein clinics. Pioneered 25 years ago as a less invasive, yet incredibly effective, alternative to vein-stripping surgery, this is a minimally invasive endovascular procedure that uses heat to target faulty veins, closing them permanently. But what are varicose veins?

Varicose Veins

Varicose veins are veins that become visible on the surface of your skin because they aren't working properly. As blood pools in the veins, they will bulge beneath your skin, and can appear twisted or ropy. This form of vein disease develops when blood doesn't flow properly through your veins, often due to valve failure. Soon, blood builds up in your veins, and they stretch and bulge. If left untreated, blood can leak from your varicose veins, damaging your skin and leaving you with venous leg ulcers.

Other symptoms of varicose vein include heavy or achy legs, cramps, lower leg swelling, itching around the affected veins, and changes in skin texture or color. Without treatment, minor symptoms will get worse, since vein disease is progressive.

Radiofrequency Ablation and Other Treatments for Varicose Veins doctors preparing for radiofrequency ablation procedure

You can treat varicose veins is a variety of ways. We'll determine the best procedure for your needs after a diagnostic ultrasound and a thorough exam. These are some of the available treatment options.

Radiofrequency Ablation

With this varicose vein treatment, we use heat to permanently close your damaged veins. Afterward, blood starts flowing through healthy veins. At that point, your blood flow improves and the appearance of your legs will, too.

During this procedure, we use a catheter to guide a radiofrequency electrode to your damaged vein. With the help of ultrasound images, we can see inside your veins, helping us target the trouble spots to target your varicose veins directly.  Because we use topical analgesics, the procedure is painless, and you won't need general anesthesia, making for an easy recovery period.   Best of all, we can complete the procedure in about an hour, so you can get back to your busy schedule.

Once we've finished closing your veins, we'll apply pressure and dressing to your small incision site, and give you proper compression stockings. While you'll have to wear these for a few weeks following your procedure, you'll otherwise be able to resume normal activities right after radiofrequency ablation. While this is one of the most common treatment options for varicose veins, it's not your only choice. So let's explore a similar treatment option, radiofrequency perforator ablation.

What is Radiofrequency Perforator Ablation? 

This procedure is exactly like radiofrequency ablation, but it's conducted on your perforator veins, which are the ones that connect two vein systems in your body: the superficial and deep vein networks.

Just like other veins, the valves in your perforator veins can sustain damage, allowing blood to accumulate and causing varicose vein symptoms. When you choose radiofrequency ablation for your perforator veins, we use an ultrasound-guided catheter to cut off the flow of blood to the damaged perforator veins. Again, this allows blood to flow through healthy veins and reduces the appearance of bulging damaged veins in the process.

After the procedure, you'll still need to wear compression stockings. You should feel immediate symptom relief, while the visual reduction of your bulging veins will continue to improve during your recovery period. With both of these RFA procedures, there is no pain, no downtime and long-lasting relief.

Choosing the Right Vein Treatment in Houston and Dallas TX

If you have any signs of varicose veins, it's important to seek immediate treatment, before your condition gets worse. With five Houston-area clinics, serving Katy, Sugar Land, Clear Lake and The Woodlands, TX, along with our newest Dallas offer, we also offer seven different treatment options for varicose and spider veins. The right choice for your condition will depend on your disease progression and lifestyle. So we invite you to schedule a consultationschedule a consultationschedule a consultation and get started on your perfect path to healing.

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