Radiofrequency closure, also known as radiofrequency ablation, addresses the venous reflex disease that often causes varicose veins. It serves as an alternative to traditional vein stripping, which requires invasive surgical removal of the diseased veins. Instead, radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to prompt the closure of diseased veins.
The surgeon starts by numbing the area with a topical and local anesthetic. Then, by way of a small incision, he or she passes a catheter or similar tool into the affected vein. The catheter serves as a channel through which the surgeon introduces an electrode.
When the surgeon pulls back on the catheter to expose the end of the fiber or electrode, energy passes into the vein as heat. This heat shrinks the collagen in the vein wall, which in turn causes the vein to shrink and close. The surgeon then removes the catheter and the patient’s body proceeds to heal the closure by rerouting blood to healthy veins.
Sclerotherapy is a minimally invasive procedure performed by injecting a saline solution into the varicose vein. This irritation to the vein causes the defective vein to collapse.
The body reroutes the blood supply to bypass the damaged vein, which is eventually reabsorbed into the body.
To begin a typical sclerotherapy procedure, a physician uses a fine needle to inject the salt solution into the vein itself.
Any discomfort felt is most often mild and resolves in less than two minutes, though the full procedure may take up to half an hour.
This may include injection into multiple veins, depending on the location and size of the affected vessel.
Most patients undergo the procedure in an outpatient setting and can drive themselves home afterward.