What is Radiofrequency Vein Closure?
The Radiofrequency closure procedure is another alternative to surgical stripping of the greater saphenous vein. In this procedure the radiofrequency energy is used to close the greater saphenous vein. After a radiofrequency (RF) fiber is inserted, usually through a needle stick in the skin, into the vein and advanced to the uppermost segment of the vein. The doctor then typically injects a volume of dilute anesthetic fluid into the area surrounding the vein. This numbs the leg, helps squeeze blood out of the vein and provides a fluid layer outside the vein to protect surrounding tissue from heat once the catheter starts delivering RF energy. Saline solution is then slowly infused into the vein from the tip of the catheter to further create a near-bloodless field inside the vein, allowing the catheter to preferentially heat the vein wall, rather than the blood.
The closure procedure uses radiofrequency energy to close the faulty greater saphenous vein and re-route blood flow through healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome varicose veins from your leg. Closure provides a less-invasive alternative to vein stripping by closing the diseased vein instead.
What Can I Expect From the RF Vein Closure Procedure?
- Ultrasound is used to map out your vein.
- Local anesthetic is applied.
- A fiber is inserted through a tiny entry point.
- Radiofrequency energy is delivered to seal the faulty vein.
- Walking immediately after the procedure is encouraged. Normal daily activity can be resumed; just avoid rigorous activities such as gym workouts.
- There may be minor soreness and bruising. Any discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter, non-aspirin pain relievers as necessary.