Vein ablation is a procedure used to treat varicose veins, which are those veins that have become enlarged from pressure placed on them. In particular, endovenous ablation uses ultrasound to find the problematic veins, and then uses radiofrequency or laser energy to close them off.
This particular type of vein ablation cauterizes (burns and closes) varicose veins. Varicose veins commonly appear in the legs and feet; spider veins are a smaller variation of varicose veins.
How Does Vein Ablation Work?
Endovenous ablation is only slightly invasive, and it is an effective treatment for varicose veins. It is an image-guided procedure, as the doctor uses ultrasound to find and view the varicose vein. The physician is then able to guide a laser fiber or radiofrequency electrode intravenously, shrinking the vein – which is the goal.
Most patients receive vein ablations on an outpatient basis. However, in some cases a patient will be admitted into the hospital for the procedure.
Why Should Varicose Veins Be Removed?
Since varicose veins can lead to more serious conditions, it is crucial that a diagnosis is made by your health care professional if you’re experiencing pain. Some of the problems that can occur due to untreated varicose veins include skin ulcers, internal bleeding, and even blood clots.
Patients may opt to have the varicose veins removed by ablation if they are unsightly, or if they are causing pain. A few symptoms related to varicose veins are inflammation, skin irritation, and discoloration of the skin around the veins.
Types of Vein Ablations
There are two choices for patients seeking to have varicose veins removed. First, radiofrequency ablation targets the vein with high-frequency waves that heat up the vein. Inserting a catheter into the vein transmits the radiofrequency. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
The second choice is endovenous laser ablation. It is similar to radiofrequency ablation, except that laser energy is utilized rather than radio waves.
Both types of procedures are safe, but your doctor will discuss the risks that are associated with vein ablation. A couple of the risks include skin burns and blood clotting, though both of these are rare. Additionally, due to possible nerve damage, you may feel a burning sensation after the surgery.
A specialist can help you determine which procedure is best for your condition.
Recovery After the Procedure
Following a vein ablation, recovery time is fairly short – largely thanks to the fact that the procedure is minimally invasive, so not much healing is involved. Doctors usually recommend applying compression to the legs (or other treated area) following ablation.
Compression of the leg is achieved through gradient compression stockings, which help improve blood flow and also reduce bruising or tenderness following surgery. The specialized stockings provide controlled pressure and minimize the chance of getting a blood clot following the procedure.
Gradient indicates that the pressure is greatest at the bottom of the stocking and decreases going up the leg. The stocking is designed in such a way that it encourages blood flow, as the veins in the legs circulate blood back to the heart.
Caring Doctors in South Carolina
SC Internal Medicine Associates and Rehabilitation is totally committed to providing the best care for our patients, with a special focus on preventive care. We treat a variety of conditions, and we take care of the whole person – for optimum health and wellness.
Call us today at (803) 749-1111 to schedule an appointment, or fill out our appointment request form now. We look forward to taking care of you for a lifetime of good health.