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Radiofrequency venous ablation

Veins are obliterated by heating

Radiofrequency venous ablation is another tissue-saving method for treating varicose veins. Radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins involves heating the wall of the vein using a bipolar generator and catheters with electrodes. The saphenous vein is then accessed above or below the knee via an intravenous cannula or small incision. The vein then dies off and is subsequently broken down by the body.

Who is radiofrequency venous ablation suitable for?

In all cases of radiofrequency venous ablation therapy, the saphenous vein can only be removed by laser therapy if the deep venous system is healthy. This is checked before treatment, by an ultrasound (Doppler ultrasonography). In contrast to vein stripping, radiofrequency venous ablation therapy leaves no remnant scarring. Furthermore, in contrast to laser therapy, radio wave therapy usually causes fewer superficial bruises.

Treatment method for varicose veins with radiofrequency venous ablation therapy

The treatment method with radio wave therapy is identical to that of laser therapy. The only difference is the energy used to remove the saphenous veins from the inside. In radio wave therapy, the saphenous vein is heated with bipolar radiofrequency energy. The course of treatment follows:

  • A special anesthetic is injected into the fatty tissues under the skin around the affected vein.
  • A hollow needle is inserted in the affected saphenous vein above the knee or at the ankle.
  • The radio frequency catheter is inserted in the affected vein segment.
  • The vein is heated from the inside and obliterated.

After radiofrequency venous ablation therapy

Radiofrequency venous ablation therapy is usually performed as an outpatient procedure. Fluid continues to leak out of the access sites for a few hours after the procedure. Most of this is the anesthetic solution. Post-operative bleeding is rare. The day after the procedure, the doctor inspects the patient to review the results from the procedure, which may lead to further follow-up appointments if necessary. Gentle exercise is helpful after the procedure. However, the patient should avoid strenuous physical exercise and not lift any heavy weights or stand for long periods of time. A compression stocking must usually only be worn for a week. This helps prevent any possible side effects from the procedure. Complications are rare and may include:

  • Severe pain
  • Wound healing disorders
  • Hypersensitivity reactions to the anaesthetic
  • Infections
  • Thrombosis.
Venous insufficiency itself cannot be cured by surgery for varicose veins. Therefore, patients should continue to wear compression garments every day after successful vein surgery to prevent the onset of new varicose veins from forming.

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