Is Radiofrequency Ablation Safe?

Woman with tired painful and spider varicose veinsAlthough rarely causing a serious medical issue, varicose veins can not only be cosmetically problematic but, if severe enough, can cause cramping, aching, and a feeling of heaviness in the legs. Previously, the only way to get rid of these problematic veins was to remove them or close them off completely.

Thanks to advancements in treatment modalities and methods, many new treatment options are safe and just as effective as the complicated “stripping” method of removing varicose veins. Venous reflex, one of the primary causes of varicose veins and other venous conditions, can now be successfully treated by radiofrequency ablation.

Since it is so minimally invasive, radiofrequency ablation can be used nearly anywhere varicose veins are causing discomfort or are cosmetically problematic. However, since veins in the lower legs have to work against gravity to pump blood back towards the heart, radiofrequency ablation is most commonly used to treat varicose veins in the legs.

During a minimally invasive procedure, Dr. Lee applies radiofrequency energy to heat the lining of the problematic veins. This creates a small build-up of scar tissue around the vein that fully closes it off. Over time, the vein naturally dissolves and is absorbed by the body. The previously constricted blood flow is rerouted by the body to keep good circulation to the extremities.

Before inserting the small catheter, Dr. Lee uses a local anesthetic that numbs the tissue around the treatment areas to help minimize discomfort. Most patients say they feel a minor pinching sensation when the anesthetic is administered, more than the catheter itself.

The treatment sessions generally take less than an hour, and most patients can return to most normal activities without restrictions afterward. To achieve the best results, it is best to avoid strenuous activities that may raise blood pressure and avoid medications that thin the blood for a few weeks after each treatment.

If you have varicose veins or other problematic venous conditions, contact Dr. Lee and the team at LA Vein Center in Sherman Oaks, CA. Call 818-245-5300 or visit to schedule a comprehensive exam.

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“I had a wonderful experience with Dr. Lee, and will definitely recommend her and will be going back. She thoroughly explained the procedure and answered all my questions before starting my treatment. Her office is immaculate and her staff is very friendly.”

– M.P. Los Angeles, Ca
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