Common Questions

Common Questions About Varicose Vein Treatments

How should I prepare for the procedure?

There are no special preparations required for RFA. During the procedure, you will be given a pair of dark glasses to protect against the laser beam. If you are taking Aspirin or any blood thinners, you will need to discuss this with your doctor. In most cases, blood thinners should be stopped at least 1 week prior to the procedure.

After the procedure, a small dressing is applied to the thigh incision and a compression dressing is applied around the thigh.

How long does the RFA procedure take?

The average time for the procedure is about 30-45 minutes. One can expect to be at the doctor’s office for about an hour.

Is RFA painful?

There is some mild pain during the procedure. However, prior to the procedure, the doctor will inject some local anesthetic to numb the area.

When can I return to normal activities?

It is highly recommended that you resume your normal activities the next day. Except for strenuous exercise or heavy lifting, most other activities can be resumed the next day. Sporting activities can usually be resumed in of 5-7 days.

When will the results of RFA be seen?

The vein eventually dries and shrivels up. This takes about 10-14 days. The final results will be obvious after a few months.

What are side effects of the RFA procedure?

Some individuals may have mild bruising or swelling. This disappears in 10-14 days.

What are the benefits of RFA?

Compared to the traditional varicose vein surgery procedure, RFA has a number of benefits which include:

  • it is relatively fast and safe
  • less extensive procedure
  • there is minimal pain after the procedure
  • there is less bruising
  • there is less pain
  • there is only one very small incision
  • there is little downtime, most individuals are able to return to work in 1-2 days
  • there is no use of general anesthesia

What are potential complications associated with the RFA procedure?

Complications are rare with the RFA procedure but can occur. Potential complications include:

  • vein perforation
  • blood clot formation
  • blood clot in lungs (pulmonary embolism)
  • inflammation of the vein (phlebitis)
  • blood collection (hematoma)
  • infection
  • paresthesia (numbness or tingling)
  • Skin burn
  • Nerve damage
  • bruising of the skin
  • pain
  • failure of the procedure to work

Is RFA procedure suitable for everyone?

The RFA procedure is only used to treat the large varicose veins. It is not suitable for spider veins.