What is EVLA and RFA?
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA) and RadioFrequency Ablation (RFA) are similar procedures, both used to treat Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) by collapsing and ultimately closing off the vein to prevent progression of venous disease including painful bulging varicose veins.
The process is virtually pain free thanks to the aid of a fluid anesthetic which is injected around the vein prior to the procedure. During both EVLA and RFA, a catheter is inserted into the defective vein through a small puncture in the leg. Using ultrasound guidance, a wire is inserted the length of the damaged vein where it will heat and contract small segments in the lining of the the vein. This damages the collagen in the lining, causing the vein to collapse and seal shut. This heating process is repeated until the entire damaged vein has been basically cauterized from the inside and is no longer functioning. Once the vein is closed, the body will automatically reroute blood flow to healthy veins and the damaged vein will then turn into scar tissue that will eventually be absorbed into the body.
The only difference between the two procedures is the type of heat used for the closing of the vein. With EVLA, laser heat energy is delivered through a thin fiber-optic probe to collapse the bulging vein. In an RFA procedure, radio waves are used to contract the vein. The procedures each take 30-45 minutes with little to no down time after the procedure.
What are the advantages to vein ablation compared to old fashioned vein stripping surgery?
- In-office procedure performed in an hour or less
- No hospital stay or outpatient hospital costs
- Relief from symptoms with a quick recovery process
- 98 % success rate in treating Chronic Venous Insufficiency
- No unsightly scarring or large, prominent incisions
- Less pain after treatment reported by patients
- Considered a medically necessary treatment and is covered by most insurances
Once you have been evaluated at the Circulatory Centers and your condition has been properly diagnosed by one of our providers, we will discuss your custom treatment plan and work personally with your insurance company to find out what benefits you are able to receive.
How do I prepare for treatment?
Before coming to our office for a procedure, be sure to avoid applying lotions, creams or oils to your legs and always remember to bring your compression stockings, as these are a very important part of your recovery process and a successful treatment. Also, we suggest drinking plenty of water (2-4 glasses) the day before and the day of treatment. Keeping hydrated will help keep your veins open and flowing, making the process easier for the patient and the physician.
What should I expect after my treatment?
Complications after both procedures are extremely rare and most discomfort only last for a day or so. Minor soreness, bruising, or a feeling of tightness in your leg is a normal part of the healing process. Any burning pain, redness or a feeling of it being hot to the touch could be a result of superficial phlebitis which can develop after a procedure. To avoid this, be sure to follow the recommended post procedure instructions which include (most importantly) wearing your compression stocking, walking and taking NSAIDS to alleviate swelling and the normal minor aching. It’s important to realize that all patients heal at a different rate. Avoiding rigorous movements such as high-impact aerobics or intense workouts for a few days will help reduce the stress on your legs as they heal.
Why is EVLA or RFA right for me?
When deciding which treatment option will work best for stopping the progression of your vein disease, we consider all the facts and carefully review your medical history and diagnostic testing. These are minimally invasive techniques but they can bring immediate relief of your symptoms. They are virtually pain free, with little to no down time.
Our physicians are dedicated to making your legs look and feel better. Stopping the progression of your vein disease by moving forward with a recommended ablation procedure will help avoid future complications of the disease like ulcers, bleeding veins, pain, swelling, and restless legs.