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Endovenous Ablation

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

What do I need to know about endovenous ablation?

Endovenous ablation is a procedure that uses radiofrequency or laser energy to treat varicose veins. Varicose veins are large, twisted veins in your legs that bulge out under your skin. Endovenous ablation may help treat pain, discolored skin, or ulcers in your leg that are caused by varicose veins.

Varicose Veins

How do I prepare for endovenous ablation?

  • Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for your procedure. He or she may tell you not to eat or drink anything several hours before your procedure. He or she will tell you which medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may need to stop taking blood thinners several days before your procedure to prevent bleeding.
  • You may need an ultrasound to help your healthcare provider plan your procedure. An ultrasound may be done to show the shape and location of your varicose veins. You will need to plan for someone to drive you home from your procedure.

What will happen during endovenous ablation?

  • You may be given local anesthesia to numb the surgery area. With local anesthesia, you may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure, but you should not feel any pain. You may also be given IV sedation to help you relax during the procedure.
  • Your healthcare provider may make a small cut in your skin. He or she will insert a small catheter through your skin and into your vein. Your healthcare provider will send laser or radiofrequency energy through the catheter and heat your vein. The heat will close your vein to stop blood flow. Your varicose veins will shrink and stop bulging under your skin. Your healthcare provider will remove the catheter. He or she will place a small bandage over your incision.
Endovenous Ablation

What should I expect after endovenous ablation?

  • You may spend a night in the hospital so the circulation in your leg can be monitored. You may need to wear compression stockings. The stockings are tight and put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and helps prevent clots. You may need an ultrasound within 72 hours to look at your veins and check for blood clots. Your healthcare provider may tell you to start your normal activities immediately after endovenous ablation. He or she may also tell you to avoid air travel or sitting for long periods of time.
  • You may have mild to moderate pain. You may have mild to severe bruising. Your healthcare provider will tell you how to treat pain and bruising.

What are the risks of endovenous ablation?

You may bleed more than usual or develop an infection. You may develop a pocket of blood under your skin that may need to be removed. You may get a blood clot in your leg. This may become life-threatening. Nerves and blood vessels may become damaged during your procedure. Your vein may become swollen, red, and painful. Your skin may be burned.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

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