What is Endovenous Ablation?
Endovenous Ablation is a tool that has replaced vein stripping. As technology advances, vein stripping is not a procedure done in United States anymore. Instead, our doctors offer Endovenous Ablations – this procedure is conducted in our office with one of our train specialists and can be completed in about an hour. Endovenous means “inside the vein,” where we treat varicose veins and symptoms of vein disease from the inside, out.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation
Endovenous radiofrequency ablation, also called RF ablation, is a common and minimally invasive procedure for treating large, straight veins. Radiofrequency energy is used to heat and seal diseased veins, ultimately shrinking and collapsing the vein. This procedure addresses the underlying cause of varicose veins and symptoms related to venous reflux disease.
With RF ablation, a 1-2mm nick in your skin is made. Using ultrasound guidance, a catheter is advanced through the skin nick into the diseased vein. A dilute anesthetic or numbing medicine is injected around the vein causing contact between the vein and catheter. It also pushes the surrounding tissue away from the vein wall. The catheter tip emits radiofrequency energy in 20-second intervals. The energy absorbed by the vein permanently closes the vein. After each segment is treated, the catheter is pulled slowly down the vein, and the process is repeated until the entire length of the vein has been closed (ablated).
By selectively closing the abnormal veins and leaving the normal veins behind, the blood flows through the veins more efficiently and symptoms from venous reflux resolve. Your symptoms should improve noticeably following the procedure. After the catheter is removed, a Band-Aid is placed over the incision, and your leg is wrapped with a compression bandage to aid healing. Because the treated veins are typically located between the skin and muscle, the muscle is not damaged. Most people resume normal activity immediately.
Endovenous Laser Ablation
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), sometimes called Endovenous Laser Treatment (EVLT) is a procedure very similar to RF ablation and is used to heat the inside of a diseased vein using energy emitted from a thin laser catheter inserted through a nick in the skin. This permanently seals the vein closed and eliminates the symptoms related to venous reflux in that diseased vein. Your provider can discuss the merits of RF or laser ablation and decide which modality is right for you.
Depending on your treatment plan, spider veins and varicose veins may be treated during your ablations – or at a follow up appointment – with sclerotherapy injections or microphlebectomy. Compression bandages and compression stockings are used to ensure proper healing.