What Does Radiofrequency Ablation Feel Like?

Are you one of the 40 million Americans who’ve been diagnosed with varicose veins? These unsightly veins are most commonly found in the legs. If left untreated, they can lead to different health concerns, such as mobility issues, ulcers, and blood clots. 

At Hamptons Vein & Vascular in Rutherford and Westfield, New Jersey, vascular surgeon Rashmi Sharma, MD, RPVI, offers treatments for varicose veins, including radiofrequency ablation. This minimally invasive procedure uses heat to seal troublesome varicose veins and reroute blood flow to healthier veins. 

We’ve noticed some of our patients wonder about the procedure and whether it’s painful. Of course, Dr. Sharma goes over the procedure, answering any questions or concerns you may have. 

But we understand it can be hard to remember every detail or think of your questions at your appointment, so we’ve created this guide to help you better understand the process and what you can expect. Read on to learn what you need to know. 

What is radiofrequency ablation?

Generally speaking, ablation is any procedure in which your provider uses heat on body tissues to create damage and cause scar tissue. Radiofrequency ablation uses radiofrequency (RF) energy to heat the affected tissue and produce the desired results.

Vascular surgeons use RF ablation to treat chronic venous insufficiency, which causes varicose veins. This medical condition results when the one-way valve inside the vein stops functioning, making it impossible for the blood to go from your legs to your heart. 

Instead, the blood pools in your legs and causes the veins to distend, lose their form, and protrude from your skin. Chronic venous insufficiency can cause unpleasant symptoms, including leg swelling, leg fatigue or heaviness, pain, and changes to the skin. 

At Hamptons Vein & Vascular, we use VenefitTM Targeted Endovenous Therapy, one of the best RF ablation treatments available. Venefit uses bursts of RF energy to close problematic varicose veins and direct the blood to healthy, functioning veins.   

What does radiofrequency ablation feel like?

Most patients report little to no pain when having Venefit endovenous therapy. We numb your leg before beginning treatment to ensure your comfort, usually only with local anesthesia. 

During this outpatient procedure, Dr. Sharma makes a tiny incision in the vein, then inserts a small tube, or catheter. Using ultrasound technology, she then treats a small segment (7cm) of your vein with bursts of RF energy.   

As the vein closes in response to the treatment, Dr. Sharma withdraws the catheter a little and treats another small segment in the same way. She continues treating your vein segment by segment until the length of the vein is treated. 

The procedure is quick, with your entire appointment lasting less than an hour. Once finished, you’re encouraged to resume normal activity immediately. And the best part? RF ablation has a 93% success rate!

What is recovery from radiofrequency ablation like?

Most of our patients return to normal daily activities immediately. We may ask you to walk regularly to help improve circulation and suggest you don’t take on strenuous physical activity for a short period. 

You can expect a noticeable improvement in your symptoms within a week or two of your procedure, though some patients report noticing changes even sooner. 

You may have some minor swelling or bruising after your procedure, but this resolves quickly. 

To learn more about radiofrequency ablation and whether it’s the right treatment for you, contact the Hamptons Vein & Vascular office nearest you by phone or online to schedule an evaluation today.

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