FASTER TREATMENT, FASTER RESULTS
WHAT IS VEIN ABLATION FOR?
Varicose veins are veins that are large, long, swollen, and twisted veins that usually appear on the legs, generally on the inside of the calf or thigh.
However, they can also appear in other types of the body: hemorrhoids for example are a type of varicose vein. Varicose veins are at least 3mm wide (about the size of 3 grains of salt), but can be much larger, and they may bulge out from the skin. Normal veins have one-way valves, so that blood can flow in one direction only: back to your heart. However, if the valves in the veins weaken or get damaged, this can impact the flow of blood. Instead of flowing back towards the heart, since the valves no longer work correctly, the blood is at the mercy of gravity and can instead flow backwards and pool in the veins. When blood starts to flow backwards, this is called “venous reflux.” In turn, the veins start to swell, which causes the varicose veins. The more the veins swell, the more they cause damage to the vein, leading to a vicious cycle where the varicose veins can worsen over time. Some varicose veins may be painless, but some may be painful or itchy. Other symptoms can include swelling of the ankles or legs and a heavy feeling in the legs. In more severe cases, non-healing leg sores can develop, and skin can become discolored or undergo changes. Large varicose veins increase your risk of forming blood clots.
HOW DOES VEIN ABLATION WORK?
Vein ablation (or endovenous vein surgery) uses a laser or radiofrequency to reduce the size of varicose veins.
Vein ablation (or endovenous vein surgery) uses a laser or radiofrequency to reduce the size of varicose veins. Vein ablation shrinks the varicose vein and cauterizes the vein to create scar tissue that will close it off permanently. Your body will then be able to re-route your blood through other, healthier veins. Before the ablation procedure, your doctor will perform an ultrasound of your leg to map the varicose vein that needs to be closed. When it is time for the procedure, your doctor will use a local anesthetic to numb your leg. A needle with a catheter (a small, flexible tube) will be inserted into your vein, and an ultrasound will guide the catheter to the right spot. A laser fiber or radiofrequency electrode will also be placed. The catheter will then be removed, leaving the laser fiber or radiofrequency electrode behind inside the vein to cauterize it. If the ablation uses laser, then laser energy will cauterize the vein; if the ablation uses radiofrequency, then electrical energy will cauterize the vein. The procedure usually takes about an hour. The vein ablation procedure may be done in your doctor’s office and does not require a hospital stay, however you will need someone to drive you home and you should plan to wear loose-fitting clothing after the procedure. You may notice improvement in your symptoms as soon as the vein is closed up.
Complications are also similar to those for other vein-closing procedures and may include burning, pain, swelling, and inflammation.