Ablation therapy is considered a minimally-invasive vein treatment procedure that makes use of radiofrequency or laser technology. The use of lasers has increased in medicine and The Vein Institute of New Jersey is a leader in this type of treatment for varicose veins.
Ablation therapies use a focused light or radiofrequency, which is very intense, allowing surgeons to work at high levels of precision by focusing on a small area, damaging less of the surrounding tissue. This means a vein doctor can perform an "incisionless" removal of a varicose vein and offer an alternative for vein removal treatment. With these therapies, you often experience less pain, swelling, and scarring than with traditional surgery.
As part of our commitment at the Vein Institute of NJ to provide education and transparency in the area of varicose and spider vein treatments, we want to provide you with 6 things you should know about vein ablations:
1. A Replacement to Vein Stripping
Ablation replaces "vein stripping", which, historically, was an in-patient hospital procedure typically done under general anesthesia. During this type of surgery, an incision was made in the groin and ankle areas. The vein was then surgically removed from the two ends followed by a prolonged recovery period.
Ablation procedures are much less invasive. They require less than thirty minutes to perform and are performed on an outpatient basis in our office. The treatment begins with an ultrasound to identify the vein as it travels from the ankle to the groin. We administer a local anesthetic to provide you with a comfortable experience and then slide an extremely small wire up the vein path. The ultrasound machine allows us to guide the wire to the very top of the vein, in the area of the groin.
After the ultrasound has confirmed the location of the vein, the ablation machine is turned on and the vein is coagulated from the inside. This causes the walls of the vein to collapse and the vein is then ablated (removed) from the circulation.
As mentioned, the procedure is carried out under local anesthesia and is, truly, minimally invasive. You will feel a brief pinch of the needle used to inject the anesthetic, but you will be numb in the area for the remainder of the procedure. Over the few days following the procedure, the body reacts to the damaged vein by causing inflammation (swelling) and absorption of the vein. This ensures that the vein stays closed.
3. Vein Ablation Effectiveness
Within a few weeks patients typically begin to notice a difference in the appearance of their varicose veins, though complete results may take more time. Published studies have shown that at 12 and 24 months following the Ablation procedure, over 90% of treated veins remain reflux-free. When a vein is stripped, there is trauma along the previous course that the vein traversed as the stripping procedure is rather rough on the surrounding tissue. Since the ablation procedures work from the inside of the vein, the impact on the surrounding tissue is minimal and the efficacy is equal.
4. Not for all Veins
Unfortunately, not all veins can be treated with ablation. If the vein is very tortuous or “winding”, then it may be impossible to insert the catheter far enough into the vein to be helpful. There are multiple treatment options beyond ablation for enlarged, tortuous veins which may include Injection or Foam Sclerotherapy, Microphlebectomy and Vein Stripping.
5. Varicose Vein Recurrence
If one is to be honest, varicose vein treatments are permanent solutions – but on a temporary basis! Most patients with varicose veins are genetically predisposed to the problem and will almost always develop new veins. The veins that we get rid of do not come back, but new ones will. These new veins might appear soon after treatment or they may appear years later – or anytime in between. Once patients are initially treated, they typically come back for "touch ups" to keep the problem at bay. So, it’s quite normal to visit us multiple times in order to get the look and comfort you are trying to achieve for your legs.
6. Insurance Coverage
Many insurance companies cover vein ablation treatment, whether it be done using laser or radiofrequency. There are typically a series of protocols that must be followed which our staff is well-versed in and can help guide you along the way. It is important to note that each insurance company has their own set of vein insurance requirements and it’s never the physician who makes the determination of coverage.
While we have grown into the largest vein treatment center in New Jersey using the latest medical technologies, we still focus on what got us here. We keep to the utmost levels of integrity while instilling a personal, one-on-one approach to medical care. We make you part of the treatment decision process so you can be fully aware of the options available to you. In addition, we are quite proud of our Patient Satisfaction results. Over 80% of our patients give us perfect scores, while 97% of our patients either agree or strongly agree that our staff was professional in every way and would recommend us to family and friends.
Schedule your appointment today and rid yourself of the pain and dissatisfaction you may be experiencing due to varicose vein issues.