Vascular Surgery/Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA)

Treatment provide effective pain relief and relieve discomfort from varicose veins

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat varicose veins.

RFA Treatment

During radiofrequency ablation for varicose veins, radio waves are sent through a precisely placed needle to heat the wall of the veins so they collapse and close. Blood is then naturally redirected through nearby healthy veins.

Usually, the procedure takes around 45 and 60 minutes.

Procedure and recovery

Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure, performed under local anaesthetic with resumption of normal activity within a day. Discomfort and bruising may be identified, but discomfort is felt only for a couple of days following the procedure and bruising may be visible for one or two weeks.  

Also, although the medium and long-term results of radiofrequency ablation and laser ablation (EVLA) are identical, there are some minor differences which means that some patients are best suited to either one or the other and the consultant can discuss the procedure that is right for you. 

Radiofrequency ablation is proven to provide effective pain relief and remove discomfort from varicose veins, whilst improving the appearance of the area affected.  

During your radiofrequency ablation procedure, you will be under local anaesthetic therefore no pain or discomfort will be felt during your procedure. After surgery, you may feel some minor tenderness in the treated area which should be quite mild but appropriate painkillers can be prescribed to help with this.

Both radiofrequency ablation and endovenous laser therapy are used to collapse the vein walls to treat varicose veins. The main difference between the two is the source of the heat.: radiofrequency ablation uses radiofrequency whereas endovenous laser therapy uses a laser. Both treatments are very effective. Some patients may experience more pain when the laser is used, and bruising may be more common.

The radiofrequency ablation treatment typically takes between 45 and 60 minutes.

Procedure Overview

  • Recognised cosmetic procedure to treat varicose veins
  • Radiofrequency energy is used to heat the walls of the vein so that it collapses
  • Can also be used as a minimally invasive procedure to destroy tissue preventing pain signals from being sent to the brain
  • Typical procedure is done under local anaesthetic and takes 45-60 minutes
  • Patients should feel no discomfort after a few days
  • Medication may be prescribed to help alleviate any pain post-surgery
  • You will have an initial consultation with an expert specialist in this area
Woman's legs

Patients who chose radiofrequency ablation treatment can return to normal duties a day after the treatment. Any swelling or discomfort felt following the radiofrequency ablation treatment usually subsides within a few days for most patients. Mild bruising may be visible for one to two weeks. Your surgeon may encourage you to walk frequently and avoid standing or sitting for long periods immediately after your procedure.

For varicose veins, there is a 90-95% success rate that following the procedure the appearance of the vein is improved. For the 5-10% of patients, a second treatment may be required. Where radiofrequency ablation has been used for pain relief, the treated nerve may regrow after 6 to 12 months, and procedure can be repeated.

Radiofrequency ablation procedure pricing is dependent on how many veins need to be treated and whether the treatment is on one leg or both legs.


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