What is Endovenous Ablation of Varicose Veins?

Blog Post
By BASS Vein Center
What is Endovenous Ablation of Varicose Veins?
August 21, 2020

Endovenous ablation is an image-guided, minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency to cauterize and close the abnormal veins that lead to varicose veins. Doctors use it to help ease symptoms such as pain, swelling, and irritation. Ablation is safe, less invasive than surgery, and leaves virtually no scars.

Varicose veins are abnormally large veins often seen in the legs. Normally, blood travels from the heart to the legs by arteries and back to the heart through veins. Veins have one-way valves that allow blood to return from the legs against gravity. If the valves leak, blood pools in the veins, and they can become enlarged or varicose.

Common Uses for the Procedure

Doctors may use this procedure for cosmetic purposes. However, it is more often used to help ease symptoms such as:

  • Aching or throbbing pain
  • Leg heaviness/fatigue
  • Swelling
  • Skin irritation or sores
  • Skin discoloration
  • Painful swelling of the veins 

How to Prepare for the Procedure

Compose a list of all the medications that you are currently taking, including herbal supplements. List any allergies, especially to local anesthetic, general anesthesia or to contrast materials. Your doctor may advise you to stop taking aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or blood thinners before your procedure.

Wear comfortable, loose clothing. You will need to remove all clothing and jewelry prior to the procedure.

Make ride arrangements beforehand so that someone can drive you home after the procedure.

How does the procedure work?

Your doctor will use ultrasound to bring up an image of your vein. Through a small incision, a fiber or electrode will be placed in the desired location within the vein. Local anesthesia will then be injected into the tissues around the vein to collapse the vein around the fiber or electrode and act as insulation for the energy's heat. The energy will then heat the vessel causing it to close. Post procedure, the enlarged vein will shrink and "scar down."

How is the procedure performed?

One of our highly trained vein specialists will perform the image-guided, minimally invasive procedure. Vein ablation is more often than most an outpatient procedure, however certain cases may require admission following the procedure.

To begin, your doctor may apply a numbing cream to the area around your faulty vein to reduce any discomfort. The next step will be to clean, sterilize, and cover the area with a surgical drape.

Once the abnormal vein is numb, your doctor will insert a catheter with an anesthetic. Using an ultrasound transducer, the doctor will study the vein and track its path. This requires making a very small incision in the skin. Once the catheter has been positioned into the faulty vein, the electrode is inserted through the catheter, pulling the catheter back slightly to expose the tip of the electrode. 

Local anesthetic is then injected around the abnormal vein with ultrasound guidance. Energy heats the vein as the catheter is slowly withdrawn. Pressure is applied to prevent any bleeding and the incision in the skin is covered with a bandage. Stitches are not required. 

This procedure typically lasts an hour.

Vein Treatment with BASS Vein Center

Performing surgeries since 1988, BASS Vein Center offers five different vascular procedures. These procedures include Conservative Vein Treatment, Radiofrequency Ablation Therapy, VenaSeal™, Sclerotherapy, and Ambulatory Phlebectomy. The Vein Center is taking all the steps necessary to ensure your visit is safe during these times of uncertainty. To book an appointment, call us at (925)-???-???? or visit us (form to request consultation). 

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Vein surgery can be life changing for many people and a huge boost of confidence, let's get you scheduled for a consultation.