What is vein ablation?
In order to treat your reflux, we close the vein by doing an ablation. We only close off veins that your body doesn’t need. Then the blood flows around this vein to veins that are working correctly.
Is this surgery?
No. Using advances in technology we are able to close the vein from the inside by starting a special IV. No incision or cuts are required.
How is the procedure performed?
On your treatment day, an ultrasound tech will draw on your leg to map out where your vein is. Then you lay on the table and your leg will be cleaned to prevent infection. After your anesthesia starts we start a special IV in your bad vein.
After the IV is placed we give numbing medicine over the entire length of the vein. Then the special IV closes the vein from the inside.
Once it's closed we pull out the IV and place bandages where we put in the IV and where we put the numbing medicine. Then a stocking is put on after that.
Will the procedure be painful?
The special IV placement and numbing medicine can be uncomfortable so we do the procedures with anesthesia (although anesthesia is not required if you don’t want it).
If you decide to have IV sedation, you must have a driver to get you home safely afterward. In addition, you cannot have anything to eat or drink for 8 hours prior to your appointment. If you take medications for diabetes, these medications may need to be adjusted on the morning of the procedure. Your primary care physician can help you with this adjustment.
What are the discharge instructions?
If you received IV sedation does not drive or operate machinery for at least 24 hours after the procedure. You can return to work the next day following your procedure. You may resume your normal diet immediately. Do not engage in any strenuous activity for 24 hours. Do not take a bath, swim, or use a hot tub for 24 hours (you may take a shower). Call the office if you have any of the following: severe pain (different from your usual symptoms), redness/swelling/discharge at the injection site(s), or fevers/chills. Be sure to have a responsible adult around you for the next day to make sure you don’t have any reactions to the anesthesia.
You will have a compression hose in place when you leave the office. Sleep in this hose for the first three days, removing it only to shower. Then wear it for the next ten days, removing it at bedtime.
You will have a dressing over the area where your vein was. You may remove the dressing during your first shower. It is normal for this dressing to get soaked in pink-tinged fluid; This is the numbing medicine. If you notice profuse bleeding please contact our office.
Are there activity limitations after?
No. It is important to keep moving and maintain a normal level of activity. Walking twice daily for 20 minutes is encouraged and promotes speedy healing. Avoid prolonged sitting or standing in the same place for the first week and elevate your legs at least 3 times a day for 5-10 minutes.
We expect you to be able to resume all your pre-procedure activities (including work) the following day. Avoid strenuous exercise such as aerobics, weight training, or running for 2 weeks.
What are the side effects?
You may have some mild discomfort following surgery that can be relieved by taking your pain medications as needed. If you are having extreme discomfort, notify the office immediately. If you develop severe swelling or pain throughout the leg proceed to the emergency room.
How long does it take for the procedure to work?
The vein can take several days to completely close. Once it is closed it must be broken up by your body which can take weeks to months. During this time you can feel a rubber-like band in the treatment area.
The other problems caused by this vein can take weeks to months to resolve. For example, cramping and aching may improve within a week. But varicose veins and spider veins can take longer to resolve. In some cases, we can do other procedures to treat them.
What are the risks?
The complication rate for this procedure is very low. Whenever a needle enters the skin, nerve injury, bleeding, and infection are always a risk. Additional risks for this procedure include blood clots (rare with the stockings) and closure of an incorrect vein.
We use a local anesthetic to improve your comfort so there is a risk of an allergic reaction. If you have any known allergies you should notify us on the day of the procedure.