Your body depends on a regular supply of oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood to stay healthy and to function optimally. But sometimes, veins can become weak or damaged and varicose veins can form, interfering with normal circulation while also causing symptoms like pain, achiness and even skin ulcers or sores. While treating varicose veins used to require invasive options like vein stripping, today many varicose veins can be successfully treated using minimally-invasive treatment options like radiofrequency ablation. Also called RF ablation, this technique uses heat to seal off damaged veins, enabling blood to be redirected to neighboring healthy veins to eliminate painful symptoms and promote better circulation.
What causes varicose veins?
Most people understand the important role of the heart in pumping blood throughout our bodies, but did you know there are tiny valves inside your veins that help your heart keep blood flowing in the right direction? Each of these tiny valves opens and closes repeatedly to ensure blood that reaches the extremities is able to move back toward the heart. Sometimes, though, these valves can become damaged, allowing blood to “pool up” inside the veins, causing increased pressure behind the valves that can exacerbate this damage. As blood pools up, it causes vessel walls to expand, resulting in the swollen, dark appearance associated with varicose veins.
Varicose veins tend to occur more often as we get older, and they can also be caused by being overweight or obese, pregnancy weight gain, and occupations that require long periods of standing or sitting. Having a family history of varicose veins and being female also increase your chances of developing varicose veins.
How does radiofrequency ablation work?
Radiofrequency ablation uses a special hollow tube called a catheter which is inserted through tiny incisions in your skin just over the affected vein. A very fine fiber is inserted through the catheter and into the vein. This fiber emits controlled bursts of radiofrequency energy which is directed at the damaged vessel walls, causing them to seal up so blood flow is prevented. Over time, the sealed veins will be absorbed by the body and carried away through the body’s natural “waste disposal” system. Blood flow will be naturally redirected through neighboring healthy veins.
Radiofrequency ablation can be performed right in our office, and once the procedure is complete, you’ll be able to return home right away. You’ll also be given compression stockings to wear for about a week to help speed healing and support the treated area. A follow-up ultrasound exam of your vein may be used to ensure the vein has become completely sealed.
Varicose Vein Treatment Tailored for Your Needs
At McLean Vein and Wellness Center, we offer the most advanced treatment options using state-of-the-art technology for optimal results in every patient. Each treatment plan is carefully planned based on medical history, overall health and other factors, so you can feel confident in your treatment and your results. To learn more about radiofrequency ablation and other varicose vein treatment options, call our office at 703-436-6682 or use our online contact form to schedule a consultation.