What You Need to Know:
Endovenous ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency or laser energy to treat varicose veins. Varicose veins are large, twisted veins in your legs that bulge out under your skin. Endovenous ablation may help treat pain, discolored skin or ulcers in your leg that are caused by varicose veins.
Preparing for Endovenous Ablation
Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. You may be told not to eat or drink anything several hours before your procedure. You will be told what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may need to stop taking blood thinners several days before your procedure to prevent bleeding.
To help your healthcare provider plan your procedure, an ultrasound may be ordered. An ultrasound uses sound waves to show pictures on a monitor. An ultrasound may be done to show the shape and location of your varicose veins. You will need to plan for someone to drive you home from your procedure.
You may be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel any pain. You may also be given IV sedation to help you relax during the procedure. If your healthcare provider is using a laser, you will be given eye glasses to wear during the procedure to protect your eyes.
Your healthcare provider will make a small cut in your skin. A small catheter will be inserted through your skin and into your vein. Your healthcare provider will send laser or radiofrequency energy through the catheter and heat your vein. The heat will burn and close your vein to stop blood flow. Your varicose veins will shrink and stop bulging under your skin. Your healthcare provider will remove the catheter. A small bandage will be placed over your incision.
After Your Procedure
You may spend a night in the hospital to monitor the circulation in your leg. You may need to wear compression stockings. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots.
You may need an ultrasound within 72 hours to look at your veins and check for blood clots. Your healthcare provider may tell you to start your normal activities immediately after endovenous ablation. You will also be told to avoid air travel or prolonged sitting.
You may have mild to moderate pain. You may have mild to severe bruising. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to treat pain and bruising.
Though Very Rare in Endovenous Ablation Risks Include
- Placement of the catheter inside a blood vessel can cause damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site
- On rare occasions, patients experience thermal (heat) damage to nerves. These instances are very temporary and heal quickly
- A common risk is an inflammation of the vein called thrombophlebitis, which involves pain and redness over the treated area but is easily treated with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- In rare instances, blood clots can form inside the veins, known as deep vein thrombosis (DVT.)
- No invasive surgery necessary – a major deciding factor for most patients
- Fewer complications, less pain and quicker recovery times than with previous vein stripping treatments
- Virtually no scarring
- Little or no downtime allows patients to return to their normal daytime activities immediately with minimal or no pain
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