Varicose Veins and how to treat them with RFA

December 21, 2015
3 min read
Varicose Veins and how to treat them with RFA

Varicose veins are a common condition that occurs when blood pools in the veins in one’s legs. Varicose veins are irreversible. Treatment usually involves minimally invasive procedures.

The symptoms of varicose veins are often unrecognizable. When leg circulation is slowed it can cause swelling of the foot and ankle, aching, cramping, discomfort, tingling and a feeling of heaviness.

In the worst case, leg ulcers can develop due to the blocked blood flow. This results in painful, unmanageable ulcerations that are persistent and reoccur. Leg ulcers are a symptom of underlying venous insufficiency — the inability for blood to flow back to the heart.

Radio frequency ablation may be used to improve the cosmetic appearance. However, most often it is used to improve blood flow, which will alleviate symptoms. This is the best approach when conservative treatments such as compression stockings fail.

Who is at risk?

Varicose veins affect 25% of women and 15% of men. The exact cause is unknown. Factors that increase the likelihood of varicose veins include age, heredity, pregnancy, prolonged standing, obesity, prior injury and having a sedentary lifestyle.

Varicose vein treatment with Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Varicose vein surgery is one of the most common procedures in the US. Treatment with radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a low risk, FDA approved, minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins. The surgeon will inject local anesthetic, make a small incision, and guided by ultrasound, will insert a tiny radiofrequency catheter into the vein. The radiofrequency energy heats the vein causing it to collapse and shut.

RFA is an outpatient procedure that requires only a local anesthetic. The procedure takes about 45 minutes. You will be advised to walk after the procedure. Compression stockings are prescribed for several weeks. You can go home after the treatment, and resume normal activity but should avoid strenuous activity.

RFA is generally pain-free. Studies show that patients who receive RFA for varicose veins had less pain than other available procedures. RFA enables patients to return to work sooner than other surgeries. Common side effects may include inflammation, bruising, temporary numbness, and swelling. A follow-up appointment will ensure no blood clots have formed, though this is rare.

The benefits of RFA

  • It is fast and safe
  • Minimal pain
  • Less bruising
  • Less pain
  • Small incision
  • Can resume physical activity after 72 hours
  • Rapid recovery
  • Faster return to work
  • No general anesthesia
  • 100% effective when done by a surgeon who has been trained in this technique
  • It may be covered by insurance

The BASS Medical Group surgeons are the obvious choice for RFA and varicose veins in Northern California. You will receive personalized treatment and top-quality care. BASS has over 15 offices in and near the Bay Area. Visit to choose an office near you, or give them a call today at (925) 932-6330.