The interventional radiologists at Suburban Imaging specialize in venous ablation.
Venous ablation is a minimally invasive treatment option for varicose veins. It is an outpatient office procedure performed at Suburban Imaging. More than 90% of patients who have undergone venous ablation report improvement or resolution of their leg pain and visibility of varicose veins.
Venous ablation treats the greater saphenous vein, which runs the length of the thigh. People who have varicose veins do not necessarily have reflux in the greater saphenous vein. To diagnose greater saphenous vein reflux, an ultrasound exam is performed.
Veins carry blood to the heart. Normally, valves within the veins open and close to keep blood flowing upward, toward the heart. When the valves don’t function properly, blood pools and flows downward, a condition called reflux or venous insufficiency. Reflux results in enlarged veins that become visible underneath the skin and are called varicose veins. Varicose veins may appear elongated, bulging and rope-like.
Venous reflux may cause your legs to swell and/or ache, and can also result in skin changes or venous ulcers of the legs.
It is estimated that in the United States, 72% of women and 42% of men will experience varicose veins by the time they are in their sixties.
Conditions contributing to varicose veins include genetics, obesity, pregnancy, hormonal changes at menopause, or work/hobbies requiring extended standing.
Treatment will depend on the size and location of your varicose veins. Options include:
An interventional radiologist will review your ultrasound. You will have a consultation with an interventional radiologist to discuss your symptoms, treatment options and determine if venous ablation is appropriate for you. The radiologist will also go over the details of the procedure, including the benefits and risks.
The procedure is performed under local anesthesia by inserting a thin catheter in the saphenous vein. The catheter delivers laser energy to the vein wall, causing it to heat, collapse and seal shut.
Once the vein is closed, other healthy veins take over and empty blood from your legs. As normal flow is re-established, your symptoms are expected to improve.
You will need someone to drive you home after your procedure; you will be able to drive the next day. A bandage will be placed over the insertion site and you will wear a compression stocking on your leg. The compression stocking must be worn continuously for 3-5 days and for another 1-2 weeks during the day to aid in closure of the saphenous vein.
Frequent walking during the first few days following the procedure is encouraged. Straining, standing in one place for long periods of time and lifting greater than ten pounds should be avoided for 7-10 days following the procedure. Most patients resume normal activity in 1-2 days.
Three to five days after your treatment, a post-procedure ultrasound will be scheduled at Suburban Imaging. Our nurse will discuss your results and progress with you.
Three months after your procedure, a repeat ultrasound and follow-up consultation with the interventional radiologist will be scheduled.
Most insurance plans cover this procedure if you are experiencing leg symptoms and you have tried conservative treatments. Check with your insurance plan to ensure coverage.
For more information:
Download the patient brochure