What is radiofrequency treatment?
Radiofrequency is a minimally invasive procedure that can be used to treat varicose veins. It is performed under local anesthesia and uses the application of heat to damage the tissue, which means scar tissue forms. This closes the varicose vein and cuts it off, thereby destroying it. This type of treatment can be used on large varicose veins.
Why undergo radiofrequency treatment?
Varicose veins can be considered unsightly and many wish to remove them. They can also be painful and cause discomfort. Several types of procedures are available for the treatment of varicose veins and will be prescribed depending on the patient and the size of the vein. Because radiofrequency is capable of destroying larger veins, it can be recommended for patients who have veins of considerable size.
An advantage of radiofrequency is that it is less painful than traditional surgery.
What does it consist of?
The procedure is performed while the patient is awake, since a local anesthetic is administered to numb the area where the treatment will be applied. Radiofrequency (an electric current) is passed through a catheter injected into a vein, which heats the vein wall and damages it. This causes the vein to close.
Radiofrequency is usually a successful procedure and the vein closes in most patients. An advantage of radiofrequency is that it is less painful than traditional varicose vein surgery, which removes the vein itself.
Some side effects may include skin burns, pain after recovery or clotting in the vein. However, these risks are minimal and generally improve with time.
How to prepare for radiofrequency treatment?
Prior to treatment, a medical history will be taken to see if the patient is suitable and where the procedure will be performed. They will also discuss the medication to be taken and those taking aspirin or anticoagulants (such as ibuprofen) as long-term medication will be told not to take it several days before the procedure. Postoperative care After the procedure, the surgeon places a bandage on the area that has been treated. This dressing should be maintained for at least 24 hours. After these 24 hours, the patient should wear compression stockings for at least two weeks. Some mild pain may be experienced, which can be relieved with painkillers.
A follow-up ultrasound will be performed about a week after the procedure to verify that the vein is closed and to see if deep vein thrombosis has developed. This rarely occurs, but is a possibility and is important for the surgeon to check.
Patients are advised not to participate in strenuous activity for a few weeks afterwards, but light activity is recommended and the patient will be able to return to work shortly after the procedure.