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Learning About Endovenous Ablation for Varicose Veins

What is endovenous ablation for varicose veins?

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 heat to damage and close off the vein. Varicose veins are twisted, enlarged veins near the surface of the skin.

The heat damages a vein, and scar tissue forms. This scar tissue closes the vein. A closed vein loses its source of blood and dies. Eventually, you won't be able to see the veins anymore.

The heat used for ablation can come from a laser or radio waves. A laser is a highly focused beam of light. Certain radio waves can make energy and heat called radiofrequency energy.

How is the procedure done?

The procedure is usually done at 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 takes less than 1 hour.

Your doctor will insert 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 and special tools to send energy into the vein. The energy damages the tissue inside the vein.

What can you expect after treatment?

You may have a bandage and some bruising along the vein that was treated.

You will need to wear compression stockings for 1 week or more. You can do your usual activities, but avoid vigorous exercise for about 1 week.

Most people can get back to their normal routine right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

Where can you learn more?

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