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Endovenous Ablation for Varicose Veins: Before Your Procedure

What is endovenous ablation?

Endovenous ablation is a procedure to close off varicose veins. Endovenous means that the procedure is done inside the vein. Ablation means a doctor uses something to damage and close off the vein. Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin.

Your doctor will put a needle and wire into the vein. A thin tube (catheter) is placed over the wire and moved into the vein. Your doctor uses the catheter to send energy, a chemical, glue, or a small wire into the vein. The heat used for ablation can come from a laser or from radio waves called radiofrequency energy. The heat, chemical, or wire mildly damages the tissue inside the vein. Then scar tissue closes the vein. Or the glue seals the vein closed.

The procedure is usually done in your doctor's office. You may wear some type of eye protection. You'll be given medicine so you will not feel anything or you will feel relaxed. The procedure may take about 1 hour.

After this treatment, you may have a few bruises along the length of the treated vein. Your doctor may put a bandage on the area.

Most people go home the same day of the procedure. You can do your usual activities after a couple of days. But avoid heavy lifting and vigorous exercise until your doctor says it's okay. You may need to wear compression bandages or stockings. Your doctor will tell you how long to wear them.

How do you prepare for the procedure?

Procedures can be stressful. This information will help you understand what you can expect. And it will help you safely prepare for your procedure.

Preparing for the procedure

  • Be sure you have someone to take you home. Anesthesia may make it unsafe for you to drive or get home on your own.
  • Understand exactly what procedure is planned, along with the risks, benefits, and other options.
  • If you take a medicine that prevents blood clots, your doctor may tell you to stop taking it before your procedure. Or your doctor may tell you to keep taking it. (These medicines include aspirin and other blood thinners.) Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.
  • Tell your doctor ALL the medicines and natural health products you take. Some may increase the risk of problems during your procedure. Your doctor will tell you if you should stop taking any of them before the procedure and how soon to do it.

What happens on the day of the procedure?

  • Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking. If you don't, your procedure may be cancelled. If your doctor told you to take your medicines on the day of the procedure, take them with only a sip of water.
  • Take a bath or shower before you come in for your procedure. Do not apply lotions, perfumes, deodorants, or nail polish.
  • Do not shave the surgical site yourself.
  • Take off all jewellery and piercings. And take out contact lenses, if you wear them.

At the doctor's office

  • Bring a picture ID.
  • You will be kept comfortable and safe by your anesthesia provider. You may get medicine that relaxes you or puts you in a light sleep. The area being worked on will be numb.
  • The procedure may take about 1 hour.

When should you call your doctor?

  • You have questions or concerns.
  • You don't understand how to prepare for your procedure.
  • You become ill before the procedure (such as fever, flu, or a cold).
  • You need to reschedule or have changed your mind about having the procedure.

Where can you learn more?

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