Radiofrequency Ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy (electricity) to heat, collapse and seal off the targeted blood vessels.
After using ultrasound to map the course of the vein to be treated, the physician guides a catheter (thin tube) through a small incision into the diseased vein, threading it through the blood vessel into the groin area. Electricity is delivered to a heating element in 20-second pulses, heating and contracting the collagen within the walls of the vein until they shrink and shut down. This process is called ablation. The vein is treated in segments as the catheter is gradually inched back down towards the incision. When the entire vein has been ablated, the blood flow is automatically rerouted through healthier adjacent veins, restoring healthy circulation and reducing swelling. The ablated vein becomes scar tissue and is absorbed by the body.
- Please arrange for someone to drive you to the office and home.
- Please fill the prescriptions given to you today for Valium and Tramadol but do not take either until instructed to do so after arriving at the office on procedure day.
- Please take all of your regular medications as instructed, including Coumadin (Warfarin), unless your doctor specifically asks you to stop the Coumadin.
- If you are wearing compression hose, remove them 3 days prior to your procedure. You will be instructed to wear them beginning 2-3 days after the procedure for at least two weeks.
- Do not shave or apply lotion to your legs 48 hours before your procedure.
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing and shoes to your appointment.
- Eat a good breakfast/lunch the day of your appointment.
- Drink 32 oz of water starting at 5 PM the day before your procedure but avoid caffeine.
- Please be prepared to spend 1-2 hours in our office. Though the procedure does not last the entire time, it allows time to prepare you pre-operatively and post-operatively.
- We will call you the day before the appointment to confirm your arrival time.
Please give 7 days’ notice if you are unable to keep your appointment time. Call (205) 561-2370 with questions.
Post Procedure Instructions:
- Normal activities may be resumed the day after the procedure. Immediately after the
- procedure you must walk for 20 minutes. Regular 20 to 30 minute walks should
- be done every 2 to 3 hours during the day to prevent a clot and minimize tenderness. This needs to be done for at least the first 5 days. Staying active will help the leg from becoming tight after that.
- You should expect some bruising, soreness, a tight feeling and a “pulling sensation”
- in the treated limb, which is all to be expected, for 2 to 3 weeks. You may also feel
- a knot or rope in the inner thigh to below the knee. It is the closed vein and will
- go away over time. It can take up to 6 months, even a year, for it to disappear
- There will be liquid that will seep out of the stocking in the areas that were treated
- (thigh). It should be clear to pinkish in color. If there is any significant bleeding, please
- call our office.
- Remove bandage after 24 hours.
- Showering is not permitted during the first 24 hours after the procedure. Following the
- first 24 hours you may shower in cooler than normal water. Please avoid hot baths, hot tubs, swimming saunas and sunlight (including tanning beds) for 2 weeks.
- Compression stockings need to be worn after shower for no less than 48 hours continuously and
- then worn for 6 months during the day. After the 6 months they may be removed.
- Please avoid strenuous activity for at least 7 days following the procedure to prevent
- the vein from re-opening.
- Please do not apply hot packs or heating pads.
- As with any invasive procedure, problems may develop. If you experience an acute fever (more than 100º), or severe or worsening pain/swelling, please call our office at (205)561-2370.
- You will be scheduled for a follow-up Venous Reflux Study within 72 hours of the procedure. You will return for follow-up with your cardiologist in 3 months following the procedure.