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How effective is RFA treatment in treating varicose veins?

This question was asked in Antonia, Missouri and has 6 answer(s) as of 11/26/2013.
Is radiofrequency ablation effective in treating varicose veins? If so, what are the possible side effects that can come from it, or are there better alternatives to treating varicose veins?


Doctors Answers (6)

Endovenous ablation treatments of varicose veins either by an radio frequency ablation (RFA) or by Laser (EVLT, ELVS, and others) are extremely effective in closing the varicose vein permanently. We use Laser ablation in our clinic and have not had a single patient needing repeat treatment in the past 8 years. These ultrasound guided treatments are the most advanced technology today in treating varicose veins and yet have been around long enough to have a large number of patients treated and many peer reviewed publications. All procedures have some potential for complications which often include bruising and very rarely can cause local areas of numbness (temporary or permanent), small skin burns, and infections have been reported but we have not seen these in out practice and this should be considered a very safe procedure in experienced clinics.

RFA is the best treatment for varicose veins. It is 98% effective in treating varicose veins. There are minimal side effects. Most patients have mild pain for 1 week after the treatment.

RFA is a good method of vein closure with very little risk. However foam sclerotherapy is superior in my opinion. Some insurance companies will cover either method and others will not. If you're paying out of pocket, I would highly suggest EVCA (Foam Sclerotherapy).

Both radiofrequency and laser are equally excellent methods of thermal ablation to eliminate reflux in the deeper saphenous vein flooding the surface varicosities. In most cases, there is no procedure that will provide a better outcome with far fewer risks than surgery.

I would say that the RFA and Laser ablation are about equivalent in their success and risks at this point. There is not a big difference between one and the other. The risks are that the RF device could break, it could burn you or you could get a blood clot in a deep vein (DVT). This could travel and become a pulmonary embolism. You can get some darkening of the skin over the area, you could develop a superficial phlebitis, infection, bleeding, nerve injury, lymphedema or other complications.

Depending upon the locations of the varicosities, it ranges from 90% to 99.9% effective.

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