What to Expect During Your Vein Ablation Procedure

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Laser removal veins

Are you looking to correct your vein disease with vein ablation? Here’s what you can expect from this proven medical procedure to permanently eliminate varicose veins.

In the past, treating varicose veins meant undergoing a vein “stripping” procedure that required a lengthy hospital stay. Fortunately, vein treatment techniques have significantly advanced since then. Today, your varicose vein treatment involves a brief outpatient office visit and a short recovery period with few restrictions.

Thermal ablation procedures are among the most common therapies medical professionals perform to treat varicose veins. These minimally invasive surgeries use heat to destroy the varicose vein. Below, we dive a little deeper into what you can expect from your vein ablation procedure.

What to expect from a vein ablation procedure

Safe and effective, laser and radiofrequency ablation have been used to treat varicose veins for decades. The procedure uses heat from either a laser or radiofrequency waves to scar the affected vein. The vein then collapses and is absorbed into the body.

Before the procedure, your doctor will ask you to avoid taking aspirin or blood-thinning medications. Be sure to inform the doctor of any medicines, including supplements, that you may be taking.

On the day of your procedure, wear loose-fitting clothes to the office. Local anesthesia will prevent you from feeling any discomfort as you undergo treatment:

Radiofrequency Ablation. The doctor will insert a thin catheter into the vein, guided by ultrasound images. As the catheter moves through the vein, it will pulse radiofrequency waves to shrink the vein, causing it to close. Eventually, the body absorbs the affected vein as blood diverts to healthy veins.

Radiofrequency ablation is typically recommended to treat the great saphenous vein that extends from the groin to the ankle. It also treats the small saphenous vein and other connecting veins. The procedure should take no more than an hour.

Laser Ablation. Laser ablation works similarly to radiofrequency ablation. As the name implies, the heat to close the vein is from a laser. Large, symptomatic varicose veins benefit most from laser ablation.

What to expect after your vein ablation procedure

As the vein goes through the scarring and re-absorption process, you may feel a bit of tightening or pulling in the treated area. Once the tissue softens, you won’t experience any discomfort. Minor bruising and swelling following the ablation procedure are normal and should fade after a few days.

You can resume most of your everyday activities with few restrictions following the procedure. While daily walks are the best exercise for promoting the healing process, you should avoid strenuous workouts for a few weeks. Try not to sit or stand for long periods, and elevate your legs when possible.

It would be best to opt for sponge baths until your doctor removes your bandages and avoid soaking in hot water for about two weeks. You can apply a cold compress to the affected area and take over-the-counter pain medications to reduce pain and swelling. Speak to your doctor about resuming any blood-thinning medications.

Your doctor will further recommend you wear compression stockings following the procedure. These tight elastic stockings put gentle pressure on the calf veins, helping them pump blood to the heart.

Complications from the procedures are rare. If you notice any unusual swelling or bleeding, contact your doctor.

To eliminate your vein disease, you may need follow-up treatments, such as sclerotherapy or ambulatory phlebectomy, depending on the number of varicose veins you have. The bumpy varicose veins will disappear within a few weeks, and you should have painless, smooth skin once again!

Get your veins treated today

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) employs a nationwide team of qualified physicians who are experts in varicose vein treatments. With years of experience under our belts in vein ablation procedures and other varicose vein treatments, we can confidently help you look and feel better. Contact one of our offices today to get started.

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