Radiofrequency Thermal Ablation (RF) is a minimally invasive treatment that uses heat for the treatment of vein issues. Radiofrequency energy is used to heat up and damage the inside wall of a vein to close off the problem vein.
During the RF procedure, ultrasound is used to obtain access to the vein. Once accessed, a catheter is inserted and advanced to the proper area of the vein for treatment where radiofrequency energy is focused on the proper areas.
After RF, you should be able to walk immediately and return to normal activities the same day. There may be minimal restrictions, such as limited weight lifting or exercising, but these are typically lifted within a week or two. You will also need to wear compression bandages or properly fitted Class II or III compression stockings for up to three weeks after the procedure.
Discomfort after RF is generally mild with the most common post-operative symptoms being;
- Bruising: Minimal bruising may occur, and may vary depending on the number of areas injected during tumescent anesthesia, and based on your typical bruising characteristics.
- Soreness/Aching: You may feel achy or sore in the area that was treated. This discomfort typically lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Wearing compression stockings, walking, and/or placing cold compresses on the area usually helps. Over the counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be used for discomfort as needed.
- A cord-like sensation over the treated vein: A few days or weeks after the procedure, you may feel like there is a “cord” or pulling sensation over the area of the treated vein. This sensation generally improves with movement, walking, or stretching. It typically lasts a few weeks, but can continue for a few months. Be sure to discuss risks and any other symptoms you may experience with your treating physician.