How does the procedure work?
Radiofrequency Ablation treatments, sclerotherapy, and ambulatory microphlebectomy are all office-based procedures that are covered by insurance most of the time, given the right indications.
What can I expect during the procedure?
Here are the basic steps in the RF Ablation procedure:
1. You will be fully awake and resting comfortably on an examination table.
2. An ultrasound of your leg will be done so we may identify and mark the vein to be treated.
3. Your leg will be cleansed with a disinfectant soap, and draped so it is kept sterile.
4. The numbing medication will be administered and the radiofrequency catheter will be inserted through a micro-incision using ultrasound guidance.
5. Additional numbing medication will be administered until your leg is sufficiently numbed.
6. RF will be used to treat one 7cm section at a time (20 sec treatment). The RF ablation catheter will then be withdrawn 7cm and repeat this process until we reach the micro-incision point, sealing the vein closed as it is removed.
7. A small steri-strip will be applied to the tiny incision that was made for the catheter. No stitches are necessary!
After the procedure, a compression wrap will be applied to your leg.
You will then be able to drive yourself home and return to normal activities within 24 hours!
You may eat normally and take most medications that are part of your normal routine until 4 hours prior to the procedure, at that time we request you have clear liquids only. You should wash your leg with antibacterial soap the morning of the procedure. Bring a loose fitting pair of shorts to wear during the procedure. Some patients take a mild sedative about one hour before the procedure to help them relax. This is not required and only about 5% of our patients opt for a sedative. You will be given a prescription for this mild sedative when you schedule the procedure, if you feel you need it. This is not taken until you arrive at the procedure and are asked to take it by our staff. If you choose to take the mild sedative you will need a driver to take you home.
The compression stockings you wore prior to the procedure will provide comfort and may be worn only during the day for up to 15 days after you remove the compression wrap at 24 hours. Resuming normal daily activities is encouraged at 24 hours. We suggest you limit strenuous exercise (gym workouts) for 7 days as tolerated. Over-the-counter pain relievers will alleviate any discomfort.
Are there any risks?
Serious complications following RF Ablation are rare when the procedure is performed by a properly trained physician. Because RF Ablation is performed under sterile conditions, the risk of infection is very low. Occasionally, nerve irritation resulting in a feeling of numbness near the treated vein may occur, but usually resolves over time; however, it is possible numbness can be permanent. Although extremely rare, the occurrence of a deep vein clot has been reported in medical literature, and is mentioned here only in the spirit of full disclosure.
Will my insurance cover the treatment?
Our insurance specialists will send a letter to your insurance company outlining the doctor’s plan for your treatment. Because we have an experienced staff dedicated to this process, we are able to obtain this information for you and notify you when the process is complete.