Varicose veins are twisted, bulging, bluish-purple blood vessels that appear when blood pools in your leg veins due to increased pressure. They are usually painless. But they can be uncomfortable and unsightly for many. If left untreated, they may cause complications that affect your vein health. Vein ablation is an effective treatment to eliminate unwanted varicose veins, relieve any painful signs and symptoms, and improve the appearance of your legs.
Vein ablation, also known as endovenous ablation, is a minimally invasive procedure. It involves closing a damaged vein using laser heat energy, radiofrequency energy, or a chemical called sclerosant. Vein ablation closes the affected vein, redirects the blood flow into the surrounding healthy veins, and restores your circulation. The varicose vein eventually disappears and is reabsorbed by your body.
Here’s why you may need varicose vein treatment and what to expect after vein ablation, along with tips for vein removal aftercare.
Why You Need Vein Ablation
If you’re feeling pain and discomfort in your lower legs due to varicose veins, you may need vein ablation to prevent the symptoms from worsening. Vein ablation is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that is done by a vein specialist. It has a short recovery period and leaves little to no scars. It reduces symptoms and prevents complications such as venous disease, blood clots, venous ulcers, and a leg infection.
If you’re concerned about varicose veins, consult a vein specialist. They will examine your condition and recommend a suitable treatment for you.
Vein Ablation Treatments
Here are some vein ablation treatments used to remove varicose veins:
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA)
EVLA, also known as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) or thermal ablation, uses a laser’s targeted heat energy to seal the varicose vein. Your vein specialist will insert a catheter with an attached laser into your damaged vein. The heat produced by the laser shuts the vein from the inside, rerouting your blood flow into healthy veins.
EVLA or EVLT is a minimally invasive process, which is almost painless and has a quick recovery time.
Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation (EVRFA)
EVFRA is similar to EVLA. But instead of laser energy, it uses radiofrequency energy to heat and close the affected varicose vein. Your vein specialist will insert a catheter with an attached electrode into your affected vein and provide targeted heat to irritate the varicose vein and close it. Once the damaged vein is shut, your blood will circulate through healthy veins. Over time, the varicose vein will disappear, and so will its painful symptoms.
Endovenous Mechanochemical Ablation (MOCA)
MOCA is minimally invasive, like EVLA and EVFRA. But unlike the other two vein ablation techniques, which are thermal treatments, MOCA is a chemical treatment. Your vein specialist will insert a rotating catheter into your varicose vein and inject a chemical known as a sclerosant to close the vein.
You can consult your vein specialist to understand which treatments they offer and the one that is best suited for you. Also, you’ll need to ask your insurance provider if the treatment is covered by your health insurance.
What to Expect During the Procedure
Vein ablation procedures can be done at a vein specialist’s clinic and typically last for an hour. Before you undergo the procedure, your vein doctor will sterilize the affected area and give you a numbing injection.
Once the part of your leg is numb, the doctor will insert the catheter through a small incision in your skin. They will then use laser energy, radiofrequency energy, or chemical sclerosant to seal your diseased vein.
They will remove the catheter from the vein and bandage the incision. You may be asked to wear gradient compression stockings to prevent blood clots and reduce swelling or bruising.
What to Expect After Vein Ablation
You can resume normal activity almost immediately after a vein ablation treatment. However, you must avoid strenuous activities and prolonged sitting or standing for at least two weeks. After your vein ablation treatment, you may notice some bruising, pain, or swelling. But the vein can take 10 to 14 days to disappear and heal completely.
12 Aftercare Tips for Vein Ablation
After your treatment, make sure you follow the instructions provided by your vein specialist. These are some vein removal aftercare tips you may be asked to follow:
- If you notice any swelling in the treated area, use an ice pack for 15 minutes at a time to reduce it.
- Ensure that you check the incision site each day. You may see light pink fluid on the bandage, which is normal.
- Avoid taking hot baths or saunas for one or two weeks, as the heat can enlarge or dilate your veins and cause complications.
- You can remove the bandage from the incision site the day after your treatment.
- Your vein doctor may ask you to wear gradient compression stockings for a few days or weeks to prevent swelling, bruising, or blood clotting.
- Avoid sitting, standing, or lying down in one position for prolonged periods.
- It is recommended to elevate your legs, especially when sitting.
- Over the next one to two weeks, regularly walk for 10 to 20 minutes at least three times a day.
- Stay active through light exercise. But avoid strenuous exercise like running, jumping, or lifting heavy objects for one to two weeks.
- If your vein doctor advises, you can take over-the-counter medicines like Ibuprofen or Tylenol to relieve pain or discomfort in the treated area.
- If you had to stop taking blood-thinning medicine for the treatment, ask your vein specialist when it is safe to resume taking it.
These precautions, as recommended by your doctor, will aid in your quick recovery after vein ablation. You may have to visit your vein specialist for a follow-up. Also, ensure that you call your doctor if you have swelling, extreme pain, or infection in the treated area.
Find a Vein Specialist Near You
Vein ablation can help you get rid of painful and unsightly varicose veins and improve the appearance of your legs. If you are concerned about your varicose veins, you can now use My Vein Treatment’s vein specialist locator tool to locate a qualified vein care professional in your area. Schedule an appointment with them to learn more about vein ablation and the best treatment for you.