What is minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins?
Radio Frequency Ablations (RFA) is a minimally invasive outpatient treatment for varicose veins and CVI. It is an ultrasound-guided procedure that uses RF energy to seal off the diseased varicose vein. It causes minimal damage to surrounding tissues, and removes ugly varicose veins and the symptoms they cause. No sutures are required and it leaves no scars. RFA can be performed under local anesthetic, on an outpatient basis. This is a procedure covered by all major insurance carriers, and Medicare when medically necessary.
What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency?
Chronic venous insufficiency or CVI is a progressive medical problem due to stresses on the venous system. The underlying disease is the failure of the valves in the vein, causing obstructed blood flow and pooling of blood in the veins of the legs and ankles. The obstruction causes the veins to expand and swell and protrude under the skin. We often view varicose veins as merely unsightly, but the fact is that they can progress to CVI if left untreated. Pregnant women should wait at least 3 months post-delivery to be evaluated before undergoing this procedure.
BASS Medical Group specialists know how to eliminate varicose veins and complications of CVI. Our specialists are located in Walnut Creek, Oakland, San Francisco, Antioch, Brentwood and Concord. They will first identify the problem veins with ultrasound. After they identify the problem vein(s) they will recommend whether or not to move forward with the radio frequency procedure. This procedure involves a small catheter inserted into the diseased vein and threaded to the upper end of the vein. A fiber optic radio frequency catheter is inserted through a sheath where it emits heat. As the catheter is withdrawn, the radio frequency heat causes the vein to close. Over time, the offending vein shrinks and disappears within a year. This treatment provides excellent long- term results. There is very little discomfort, less risk of complications and it provides good cosmetic results. After the RFA treatment, compression hose are used. Patients report improved symptom relief within a week, but mostly within two to three months.
The safety profile is high, but; there are risks with any medical procedure. Post procedure there may be tenderness and bruising. There may be inflammation of the vein causing pain and redness, which can be effectively treated with over-the-counter pain medications. Significant risks are very rare. We will discuss these with you as they apply to your particular situation.
Innovation In Treatment
This innovative procedure has replaced vein stripping. Vein stripping is invasive, requires general anesthesia, is very painful and traumatic, and has a lengthy recovery period. Studies show that recurrent varicose veins are more frequent with vein stripping. Radio frequency ablation is more effective with less side effects and less pain during recovery. Often you can resume normal activity within a day or two.
RFA has been proven to be 99% effective. It is best used to treat large varicose veins, and can successfully close them almost all the time. However, small dilated branches of the diseased vein may remain. In that case, these smaller veins can be treated with sclerotherapy.
At BASS we are trained and experienced in state-of-the-art RFA. We will work with you to create the best treatment plan for you. With this innovative option and skilled surgeons, there is no good reason to endure the pain, discomfort and disfigurement caused by varicose veins. We can help.