Radiofrequency Ablation vs. Laser Ablation

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and endovascular laser ablation (EVLA) are two effective treatments for large veins, varicose veins, or venous insufficiency. Ablation means removal.

You may not want or need any kind of treatment for small varicose veins – but when they get bigger, varicose veins can cause pain, swelling, and other problems. In such a case, treatment can definitely help.

In the past, treatment for varicose veins involved surgery, anesthesia, and weeks of recovery. But in the last decade or so, radiofrequency and laser ablation – both minimally invasive procedures – have achieved successful outcomes matching those of surgical procedures, and with quicker recovery times.

How Ablation Treatment Works

There are two basic types of endovenous (within the vein) ablation treatments: radiofrequency ablation and laser ablation. Both methods seal the problematic vein. Laser ablation closes the vein with laser energy, and radiofrequency ablation uses high-intensity, high-frequency radio waves to generate heat that seals the vein.

During both types of ablation, a long, thin tube (catheter) is inserted through the skin and into the faulty vein. Then, the catheter is pressed against the wall of the blood vessel to “cauterize” the vein.

After the treatment, the body reabsorbs the now-defunct vein. Just as the body would do in the case of an injury, the blood is then automatically rerouted through another vein.

Both radiofrequency ablation and laser ablation provide excellent, long-lasting results. The patient must endure much less downtime, pain, and bruising as compared to surgical vein-stripping procedures.

What to Expect

Both radiofrequency and laser ablation are performed by specially trained vascular surgeons. During a consultation, you will be examined and your varicose veins evaluated before your surgeon decides which treatment is right for you.

Treatment by laser or radiofrequency usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes, which is in addition to preparation time and the post-procedure check. In contrast to traditional surgical stripping, most people who have ablation are able to resume work or normal activities the next day.

After Treatment

Ablation helps reduce or eliminate symptoms such as heaviness in the legs, pain, and itchiness. Treating varicose veins also reduces your risk of developing complications they can cause if left untreated, which can include ulcerations, sores, or blood clots.

Post-Ablation Outcomes

Both laser and radiofrequency ablation are safe and effective for treating large varicose veins. However, varicose veins sometimes do recur in the same area.

Patients who undergo ablation treatment will likely be instructed by their doctor to wear compression socks or hose. The physician may also recommend or prescribe medication to prevent blood clots from forming.

Cardiologist in Tampa

To find out more about the latest treatments for varicose veins, and to schedule a consultation, please contact us at Premier Vein & Vascular.

Call us today at (888) VEINCARE (834-6227) or complete our online appointment request form now. Let us help you feel better and enjoy a more pain-free lifestyle once again.

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