If you struggle with the pain and discomfort of varicose veins, you are not alone. Over 40 Million Americans have varicose veins and experience problems with their vascular health. These veins not only affect our physical wellbeing but also have an impact on our emotional health. Many report feeling a loss of confidence due to the unsightly appearance of varicose and spider veins. The Venus Vein Clinic in Omaha, NE is leading the way in state-of-the-art treatments for varicose veins and can help you regain your wellbeing and confidence.
What Is Radiofrequency Ablation?
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive treatment that uses heat to destroy or remove dysfunctional tissue. It is usually performed in an outpatient setting with the aid of local anesthetics and mild sedatives. Image guidance, often via ultrasound, is used as a visual reference for the area being treated.
RFA has become a front-line treatment in several fields of medicine. Its targeted approach means there is less damage to the surrounding tissue, and it has reduced the need for many invasive surgical procedures. In addition to other applications, RFA is commonly used to treat tumors, damaged heart tissue, nerve pain, and of course, varicose veins.
Understanding Varicose Veins
Often we aren’t aware of an internal health problem until we start noticing external symptoms. Our vascular health is no different. Many people are unaware that they have a venous disease until the onset of varicose veins. These veins are an indication of venous insufficiency.
Our vascular system is responsible for distributing oxygen throughout the body. Within our veins are valves that open and shut, allowing blood to travel in and out of our extremities. The valves are necessary to prevent the backflow of blood and to help pump blood back to the heart for re-oxygenation.
These valves can wear down and widen, preventing them from being able to close properly. As a result, the valves are unable to pump blood effectively. Deoxygenated blood can’t work against gravity and pressure to get back up to our heart without that extra help our valves provide. This results in blood pooling in our veins, causing them to twist, bulge and darken in color.
Factors That Increase Risk
While there are genetic factors in play, anyone can get varicose veins. Additional risk factors include:
- Age—risk increases with age
- Sex—women are at a higher risk of developing the condition
- Obesity—carrying extra weight adds further pressure on our veins
- Inactivity—infrequent movement increases pressure and reduces circulation
Complications From Varicose Veins
While some are simply bothered by the appearance of these veins, others experience symptoms that impact their quality of life. Varicose veins can cause aching, throbbing, itching or burning sensations in the affected legs. Further pain can occur with long periods of inactivity, making it difficult to sit or stand for long periods of time. The skin near the area of the veins may also become discolored.
In severe cases, vascular insufficiency can even lead to serious conditions like ulcers, blood clots or bleeding due to veins bursting near the skin. In addition to making lifestyle changes and home management of the condition, the best way to prevent the disease from getting worse is to treat the affected veins.
How Does Radiofrequency Ablation Treat Varicose Veins?
Radiofrequency ablation is state-of-the-art when it comes to treating varicose veins. It is extremely effective because it aims to correct the underlying cause of venous lesions and not just its symptoms.
During the treatment, an ultrasound machine is used to visualize the area to be treated. A small incision is made into the skin. Using ultrasound as a guide, a catheter is inserted into the targeted area. Heat from radio-energy is delivered through the catheter to stimulate collagen contraction within the venous walls, causing them to break down and seal themselves off.
Once the veins are sealed, the body will naturally redirect blood flow to nearby healthy veins. The collapsed lesions are then gradually processed by the body and absorbed into the surrounding tissue.
Advantages of RFA Over Other Treatment Options
In the past, many varicose veins required a surgical procedure known as stripping in order to be properly sealed off. This more invasive procedure required the use of general anesthesia, large incisions to reach the vein, and involved a longer period of downtime during recovery.
While this treatment was effective overall, it carried greater risks than modern methods and often left large scars where the incisions were made. Patient comfort and recovery have been greatly improved with the adaption of radiofrequency ablation. Treatment is fast, safe and much less intensive than older methods and procedures.
You will be able to immediately walk around after your treatment. Recovery time is minimal, and for most patients, only one treatment is needed to resolve the issue. Visibility of the treated vein is greatly reduced within two weeks, but the full effects of the treatment and symptom reduction can take a few months to show.
Is Radiofrequency Ablation Right for Me?
Because every case is different, some veins may require additional non-invasive therapies in conjunction with RFA to completely correct the issue. Setting up a consultation to discuss your history and to evaluate the severity of the condition will allow your doctor to find the right course of treatment for you.
Invest in Your Health!
The best thing we can do for ourselves is to invest in our health. Take action for your wellbeing by calling the Venus Vein Clinic in Omaha, NE to set up a consultation today!