If you have been diagnosed with varicose veins and are researching the possible treatments you may come across the term radiofrequency ablation. If you google radiofrequency ablation, you’ll first come up with sites that refer to it in connection with spinal problems.  You may think you misspelled something or maybe you just typed in the wrong term altogether. Don’t worry; you didn’t! Just add the term varicose veins to the end of your search, and you’ll find the info you are looking for. Or you could just keep reading, and we’ll tell you about radio ablation as a treatment for varicose veins.

An Alternative to Stripping the Vein

In your mother’s day, or maybe your grandmother’s, she might have had her varicose veins treated by having them stripped. This procedure literally removed the vein from the body and sometimes required an overnight stay in the hospital.

Radiofrequency Ablation

This procedure, also known as a keyhole procedure, is a minimally invasive procedure which can be done on an outpatient basis. Heat generated from radio frequencies is used to ablate or remove the varicose veins.

  • You may have an ultrasound before the procedure to identify exact location and condition of the veins. Ultrasound will be used during the procedure as well.
  • You will likely be given an intravenous medication to help you relax during the procedure.
  • The physician will inject a small location with a superficial anesthetic to numb the skin.
  • Then a tiny needle will be inserted into the vein. The needle will act as a guild for other equipment.
  • A very fine guide wire and a sheath will be inserted into your vein.
  • A yet finer wire will be inserted into the vein.
  • A small amount of electrical current is sent through the needle
  • This current will heat up the veins and effectively cauterize the veins shut so that the blood can no longer run in the wrong direction.
  • The ultrasound be will used to ensure proper placement of the wire.
  • A local anesthetic is then put into the vein to prepare the vein for the procedure.
  • Fluid will be injected to compress the vein.
  • The radio frequency machine is then turned on, and the procedure will begin.
  • The radio frequency will be pulled back slowly, heating the vein as it is withdrawn and closing off the length of the varicose veins.
  • Some patients may also have avulsions done, which is the small incisions are made over the varicosity and the veins are removed.


If you’ve been scheduled for this procedure, the following tips might come in handy.

  • Leave all non-essential jewelry at home, so you don’t run the risk of losing it as you will need to remove it.
  • You will need to wear compression stockings -day and night- for the first two weeks after the procedure and for during the following ten days, but only during the day.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes so you can get dressed easily.
  • It is very likely that you will need to walk directly after the procedure, and every day for the first two weeks. Plan on walking 30 to 40 minutes a day.


We hope this information proved helpful to you. If you have a question about this procedure, be sure to call our office in Dearborn or Brownstown.