Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)
Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive treatment for incompetent superficial veins. We use local anesthesia, so you’ll be awake during the treatment. You may be given a mild sedative to help you relax. Most patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the procedure. The procedure takes about 45-60 minutes, although you will spend 1-2 hours in our office due to normal pre- and post-treatment procedures.
In RFA, ultrasound is used to guide the procedure. Dr. Bellamah uses a needle to access the vein. Then he inserts a tiny radiofrequency catheter (thin wire) into the vein. Numbing medicine is pumped into the space surrounding the vein. Most patients report that this is the most uncomfortable part of the procedure, but it generally lasts only 3-5 minutes. After the vein is surrounded with numbing medicine, the catheter delivers heat, which causes the vein to collapse and seal shut. The catheter is drawn backward and heats 7cm of vein at a time. Blood flow is naturally redirected to healthy veins. Over time, the body absorbs the treated vein.
After the procedure, a compression bandage is applied to your leg and this should be worn for 24 hours. You’ll be able to walk and go home soon after the treatment. You can resume your normal activities the following day. To speed healing and improve circulation, a compression stocking should be worn for two weeks. You may see some bruising and swelling. Your legs may look and feel better right away, or it may take several weeks after the procedure for you to see improvement.
After RFA, we encourage you to walk frequently. This helps to redirect the blood to healthier veins that are deeper in the leg.