What is Radio Frequency Ablation?
Radio Frequency Ablation (RFA) uses heat energy to close any of the truncal superficial veins ( great saphenous vein, small saphenous vein, accessory saphenous vein) that are leaking. All our procedures are done in our office using a special numbing solution called tumescent which is a dilute lidocaine mixture with epinephrine and bicarbonate. Numbing a small area on the leg then inserting the needle into the vein starts the procedure. The RFA catheter is then inserted into the vein. Once everything is in place, the numbing solution is inserted around the RFA catheter to ensure a pain free experience. The FRA catheter is then pulled out over a period of a few minutes and the procedure is complete.
How long does this procedure take?
Typically from the time you arrive until you leave you is between 30 and 45 minutes.
Does Radio Frequency Ablation hurt?
The only thing you should feel are a few small sticks to get numb and some pressure as the numbing solution surrounds the vein. During the RFA pullout you will feel nothing. If at any time you are uncomfortable, we ask you tell us so we can give you more numbing medicine. Our goal is for this to be as painless as possible.
How much down time will I have?
We ask you to take it easy the day we do it and you can resume your normal activities the next day. The first day should be a restful day but we do ask that you move around at least once an hour during the day. You will be wrapped in a 3-layer wrap that will stay on overnight. In the morning you can remove the wrap, shower and then wear your compression stocking for 1 week just when you are up and around. You may take Ibuprofen should you have any discomfort. While you cannot undo anything we have done, if you over due it with exercise, you may be more sore or bruised than someone else so we ask you wait 7 days before resuming heavy exercise and swimming.
What if I need this vein in the future?
The veins we close are not working for you know and therefore would never be used for any surgical procedures in the future. By eliminating the leaking veins it allows the normal veins to return the blood back to your heart so it actually improves your circulation.
Does insurance pay for this procedure?
Most insurance companies consider this a coverable procedure as long as you have met their medical criteria and are symptomatic. We will do a pre-determination of benefits as a courtesy to you asking the insurance company to let you know if it is a covered benefit under your policy.
All insurance companies require patients to wear compression stockings for a period of time. If you have not worn them then we will prescribe them to you on the day of consultation then call you in the required timeframe to ask if the stockings helped you. The insurance company looks to see if the stockings helped control your symptoms.