What’s Life Like After Radiofrequency Ablation For Varicose Veins?
Better Treatments Mean Better Outcomes
As any of the approximately one in four American adults who has them can attest, varicose veins are a source of discomfort on multiple fronts; not only do they cause itchiness, pain, and heaviness in the legs, but they’re unsightly. These factors seriously impede quality of life, but beyond that, the condition itself is associated with a number of more serious medical cases.
Luckily, treatment approaches today aren’t what they used to be, and a more recent procedure, radiofrequency ablation (RFA), is known to be particularly effective and well-tolerated. Instead of more-invasive surgeries, RFA involves using ultrasound-guided radio waves to seal off problematic veins, thereby re-routing blood to healthier veins. Done on an outpatient basis, this procedure allows for quick and easy recovery.
As with any medical treatment, however, it’s important to consider the aftermath: What’s recovery like? What’s life like following RFA? Let’s take a look.
As with any kind of therapy, it’s important for the scientific and medical communities to get a fuller sense of this treatment. In particular, one team of researchers working in the Thamassat University Hospital, in Thailand—under the direction of Dr. Boonying Siribumrungwong—wanted to take a closer look at self-reported outcomes in RFA patients by comparing them to those who had conventional surgery. They recruited 83 patients, of which 33 opted for the latter, and asked them to rate quality of life at one week and one month following treatment.
To make their assessment, the team relied on a standard measure of quality of life for this condition: the EuroQol (EQ-5D) questionnaire. Notably, they found all patients had significant improvement, especially one month after the procedure. Not only that, in the earlier going especially, those who had RFA reported feeling better in multiple domains: degree of pain/discomfort, mobility, depression/anxiety, usual activities, and self-care.
Basically, treatment for varicose veins improved physical and psychological well-being regardless of type, but RFA was easier to tolerate and lead to quicker recovery. A number of other studies arrived at similar conclusions.
A Brand New Day: Life After RFA
Beyond the research, though, it’s also important to get a sense, more exactly, of what to expect after RFA treatment. What do you face after having this procedure done? Here’s a quick breakdown:
- Quick Recovery: In contrast to more-invasive surgeries, RFA patients are able to get back to their normal routines within a day or two. Though there may be some discomfort as a result of the procedure, relief from symptoms is very quick. Patients can go home the same day.
- Special Measures: You’ll be told to wear special compression stockings for up to two weeks following the procedure. These help prevent reoccurrence of veins and encourage healthy circulation of the veins. Lifting heavy objects should be avoided for some time after treatment, and some rest may be needed in the initial period.
- Some Risks: While RFA is largely successful and well-tolerated, there are rare cases where patients experience some complications, including the sensation of burning or tingling on the skin, bruising, blood clots, nerve injury, or infection.
- Continued Evaluation: To ensure the procedure has gone well and that there are no complications, your doctor will check in with you following the procedure. Make sure you listen carefully to their instructions and recommendations.
Largely, though, it’s well-documented that an overwhelming majority of those who have RFA for varicose veins are satisfied with treatment. They feel physically better and can feel better baring their legs. As compromising as this condition can be, it’s good to know that this treatment, and a number of others, are allowing patients to get back on their feet better than ever.
If you’d like to learn more about RFA or other treatment options for varicose veins, talk to a Patient Care Manager at Hamilton Vein Center. The experts at these Texas-based outpatient clinics pride themselves in ensuring positive outcomes for their patients. Call their Houston location at (281) 565-0033, the Austin office at (512) 710-1114, or San Antonio at (210) 405-4707 today!
- “Quality Of Life After Great Saphenous Vein Ablation In Thai Patients With Great Saphenous Vein Reflux”. 2017. Asian Journal Of Surgery40 (4): 295-300. Elsevier BV. doi:10.1016/j.asjsur.2015.10.004.