Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is a procedure that uses a gentle heat based technique for closing the saphenous veins that contributes to varicose veins legs. RFA was first developed in 1990s. It has replaced the surgical options of vein stripping and ligation.
A local anesthetic anesthetizes the skin. The RFA catheter is inserted inside of the vein using ultrasound guidance. The catheter is advanced up the dilated vein towards the the upper leg. The catheter is subsequently surrounded by a local anesthetic, called tumescent anesthesia. This prevents the patient from feeling discomfort during the procedure. The catheter uses a mild degree of heat to treat the inner lining of the vein. This then causes vein to be reabsorbed by the body. Patients generally wear compression stockings for one week after this procedure, however, they can usually get back to normal activities quickly, as soon as the same day. This procedure is perfect for active people, with minimal to no downtime, as is very well tolerated.