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How Did Radiofrequency Ablation Become the Treatment of Choice for Varicose Veins?

Years ago, vein stripping and ligation surgery were the most common options for treating varicose veins. However, a big change occurred in 1999, when the FDA approved radiofrequency ablation (RFA) for varicose vein treatment. At first, it offered people another choice when dealing with varicose veins, but now, it’s the treatment of choice for patients and providers. Find out why patients and medical professionals prefer RFA over invasive surgical options.

RFA Is Less Invasive

Vein stripping is technically considered a minor surgical procedure, but it takes up to 1.5 hours to complete, and you might need up to four weeks to recover. The recovery can be uncomfortable or even painful, so you’ll need to clear your schedule when you’re on the mend. 

On the other hand, RFA is normally completed in 30 minutes or less. Also, your vein specialist can treat an entire vein through a tiny puncture site literally 2-3mm in diameter, so your recovery will be much faster. In fact, you can probably get back to your favorite activities including exercise within 24 hours, although you will need to follow some basic post procedure instructions. 

It Requires Local Anesthetic Instead of General Anesthesia 

If you undergo a vein stripping and ligation procedure, the provider will use general or spinal anesthesia to numb the area. Unfortunately, general anesthesia has significant risks and potential side effects, including strokes, heart attacks, breathing problems, and confusion. 

Fortunately, your provider will use local anesthesia to numb the area for radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The anesthesia will prevent pain or discomfort during the procedure, but you’ll be awake the entire time. Local anesthesia is considered the safest option, making RFA even more attractive to people suffering from varicose veins.

RFA Has a High Success Rate 

The benefits were clear early on, but radiofrequency ablation truly became the treatment of choice after examining the success rates. Researchers have conducted multiple studies on vein stripping and RFA and show that they provide similar results.

One such study conducted to determine the results of great saphenous vein stripping discovered that a 96 percent success rate can occur with vein stripping under certain circumstances.

Then, a study on RFA reported a success rate of 97.7 percent for patients, with other studies reporting success rates as high as 99 percent. When you look at the high success rate combined with the additional benefits, it’s clear why RFA is the new treatment of choice.

Find out if Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) is Right for You

If you’re suffering from varicose veins, RFA might be the right treatment for you. First, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vinay Madan at the Center for Varicose Veins. Dr. Madan specializes in minimally invasive varicose vein treatment options, including radiofrequency ablation. If you have questions about varicose veins treatment, book an appointment online or call 203-762-6365 for more information. 

Dr. Vinay Madan, MD, DABVLM Dr. Vinay Madan, MD, DABVLM Dr. Vinay Madan is a board certified Interventional Radiologist and Phlebologist with over 25 years of experience in treating vein disease. Dr. Madan has served as the Chairman of Radiology and Section Head of Vascular Interventional Radiology at Eastern Connecticut Health Network. Dr. Madan brings a wealth of knowledge which allows him to treat patients with cosmetic and medical vein disease in a caring and compassionate way.

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