This is one of the most common treatment performed for varicose veins. Radio-frequency ablation (RFA) is near identical patient experience to laser. It has been used to treat varicose veins for over 20 years. It is performed at the clinic with local anaesthetic, so you are awake. Using a needle, a wire is placed inside your vein. Then the RFA machine is used to heat the vein to seal it shut. It takes approximately one hour for the whole procedure. You will be placed in stockings and asked to walk around straight after the procedure. When comfortable, usually 20 minutes later, you can go home. Depending on the type of work you do, you might be able to work the following day. Heavy manual workers may need up to a week off work.
RFA treatment has the following benefits:
- No general anaesthetic
- Minimal scaring of skin
- Quick recovery and return to work
- Over 90% success rate at 5 years
However, it does have some limitations. It is less effective if you have very large veins. Also, if you have very tortuous (wriggly) leg veins or previous clots then it may not be possible to perform the procedure effectively.