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How Long Does Vein Ablation Take? | Advanced Heart and Vein

Varicose veins are twisted, dilated veins that are caused by weak or damaged vein walls and valves. Damaged valves can cause blood to flow backward and pool in the vein, which causes the veins to stretch, twist, and enlarge. Signs that you may be developing varicose veins include:

  • Swelling
  • Achiness
  • Feeling of heaviness in the legs and feet
  • Itching
  • Changes in skin color
  • Nighttime leg cramps

Fortunately, varicose veins can be treated with a number of procedures, including radiofrequency vein ablation

What is Varicose Vein Ablation?

Vein ablation is a procedure that uses high-frequency energy waves to close off the diseased veins in a person’s legs. The procedure is usually performed on larger varicose veins and takes about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on how many veins need treatment. 

Before the Procedure

Radiofrequency vein ablation is a minimally invasive procedure, so there are very few risks to discuss with your doctor prior to the treatment. You should inform your doctor if you are currently taking any blood thinners, or if you have a history of blood clots in the veins because these factors can put you at risk to develop complications. Some potential complications to be aware of before the procedure include: 

  • Heat damage to the nerves adjacent to the varicose veins is seen in 1 in 150 patients
  • Thrombophlebitis, inflammation of the vein, is seen in 1 in 20 patients
  • Deep vein thrombosis is seen in 1 in 400 patients
  • Skin infection due to injections into the skin: occurs in less than 1 in 1000 people

During the Procedure

Vein ablation procedures are performed under local anesthesia at the Advanced Heart and Vein Center. During the procedure, an ultrasound is used to locate the varicose veins. Once the veins are identified, a catheter is inserted through a small incision in the skin to target the electrical energy waves towards the damaged veins. The patient may feel a little discomfort or warmth in the leg areas that are being treated. When the varicose veins are closed, blood flow is then diverted to healthy veins, which improves circulation.

After the Procedure

Some bruising and tenderness should be expected following the procedure, but these symptoms can be alleviated by wearing compression stockings. To avoid the risk of developing any complications after your vein ablation, it is recommended to:

  • Walk 30 to 45 minutes every day 
  • Avoid sitting for prolonged periods
  • Wear compression stockings as instructed
  • Limit strenuous physical activity for 24 hours 
  • Restrict air travel for four weeks 

Contact the Advanced Heart and Vein Center

If you have varicose veins that need to be treated or are at a high risk to develop varicose veins, contact the Advanced Heart and Vein Center today to learn more about your treatment options and preventative methods. 

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