WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT ON THE DAY OF TREATMENT?
The procedure is performed with local anesthesia, but many patients elect to use a mild oral sedative (Valium), which is taken after checking in and completing all paperwork. You will change into a gown or shorts. Depending on the vein to be treated, you will lay on your back or on your belly. We do our best to make special accommodations (for example, if you cannot lie flat or cannot bend a knee very well) with body positioning and using pillows. We will do our best to make you comfortable. Then, we will give you the option of watching a movie on Netflix or listen to music. Once you are comfortable, you leg (s) will be prepped with cleansing solution for the sterile procedure. The doctor will perform an ultrasound to map the vein (s) to be treated. Then, a numbing agent (lidocaine) will be injected into the skin. In the numb area of the skin, a tiny puncture is made to pass the radiofrequency catheter. Your doctor will then use a needle to administer additional local anesthetic around the vein. This solution numbs the vein and insulates it from the surrounding tissue. After the numbing solution is applied, the vein is painlessly treated with radiofrequency energy. Once your vein has been treated, we will clean your leg and apply a compression stocking which you will wear for 72 hours continuously. You will walk for 30 minutes prior to getting in your car.
What should I do after treatment?
You should walk 30 minutes twice daily after treatment. This will alleviate discomfort and avoid pooling of blood in the legs.
What should I avoid after treatment?
For at least 7 days after treatment, you should avoid airline travel to minimize pooling of blood in the legs. You should also avoid strenuous exercise (anything more than a brisk walk), heavy lifting, saunas or hot tubs, and leg massages for two weeks. All of these dilate the superficial veins and interfere with their healing.
What are the possible adverse effects?
It is normal to have aching in the treated veins. This responds well to walking, ice packs, and anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil®, Motrin®) and naproxen (Aleve®).
Expect some bruising over the injection sites, which fades over about two weeks.
Less common complications include blood clots within the deep veins or a temporary area of skin numbness over a tiny branch of a skin nerve that travels close to a vein.