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.
Diabetes is one of the strongest risk factors for any form of vascular disease. Diabetes can cause many complications that worsen the vascular disease. Some of these complications include vein weakness, weight gain, venous ulcers, DVT’s, and Peripheral Vascular Disease. Many with diabetes worry they can’t be treated for varicose veins and other vascular complications. However, it is because of their diabetes that they should be treated by a vascular surgeon sooner rather than later.
Endovenous radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive procedure performed by a vascular surgeon that utilizes radiofrequency energy to heat a catheter element which, when inserted into the vein, shrinks the wall of the vessel. This shrinkage or ablation of the vein closes off the blood flow to the incompetent area of the vein allowing the vein to create new healthy pathways where it is needed.
At least 20-25 million Americans suffer from varicose veins which are often inherited and most commonly affect women. This infographic illustrates the signs, symptoms and treatments available at Western Vascular Institute.