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Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure FAQs

What is a RFA procedure?

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is an image-guided minimally invasive treatment used to reduce pain caused by varicose veins. The procedure is short with a relatively quick recovery period, and is performed on an outpatient basis.

RFA is performed on an outpatient basis. Using Ultrasound your physician will position the catheter into the diseased vein through a small opening in the skin. The small catheter delivers heat to the vein wall causing it to shrink and the vein to seal closed. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood will reroute itself to other healthy veins.

Who should have this procedure?

If you have varicose veins, you may be a candidate for RFA. To find out whether you might benefit from RFA call our office to schedule a consultation with one of our providers to assess your treatment options. You will then have an ultrasound exam of your veins for proper diagnosis of your venous condition.

How long does the Procedure take?

The procedure typically takes approximately 45-60 minutes. Most patients typically spend two to three hours at the medical facility due to normal pre- and post-treatment procedures.

What can I expect after the procedure?

Following the procedure, Steri-Strips, dressing, compression stockings, and a compression wrap are placed on the treated leg. You will be asked to walk for at least 20 minutes immediately following your treatment. The medical grade compression stockings will need to be worn for the first 36 hours and then about two weeks following the procedure to achieve maximum healing and results. Most people are able to return to normal activities of daily living immediately, although, strenuous activities, such as exercise, will be limited for approximately one to two weeks to promote healing. It is common to have some discomfort and bruising after this procedure. Discomfort is usually managed by an over-the-counter, non-aspirin pain reliever.

What are risks and side effects of this procedure?

As with all medical procedures, there are some risks associated with RFA. There is a small risk of bleeding, infection, allergic reaction to local anesthetic, and injury to other tissues. These risks are quite small. Any type of venous intervention can be associated with blood clot formation. While the occurrence of this is rare, a clot does have the potential to spread to the main vein in your leg. Your physician will check for this at a follow-up appointment using color flow ultrasound. Our physicians have had less than 1% of their treated patients develop this problem, and it is treated with aspirin in most cases.

After the Procedure, how quickly can I return to normal activities?

Many patients experience a quick return to normal activities, typically within a few days. For a few weeks following the treatment, a vein specialist may recommend a regular walking regimen and suggest you refrain from very strenuous activities (i.e., heavy lifting) or prolonged periods of standing.

Contact Us with Questions

You can call Via Vascular in Seattle with questions about Radiofrequency Ablation and to find out if you are a candidate for the procedure. You can also contact us online.

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