Cheltenham Vascular Unit

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Radio Frequency Ablation
This is a minimally invasive treatment for varicose veins that is carried out under ultrasound guidance.
A very small incision is made in the in the lower leg, and a fine catheter is inserted into the affected vein.  Saline with local anaesthetic is injected around the vein to be treated. This reduces discomfort and protects the surrounding tissues from the heat of the closure system.
Using radio frequency energy the catheter tip is heated and the vein wall is treated in segments The precisely controlled temperature causes the vein to shrink and close.  Bandages are then applied to the leg. The treated vein will be absorbed by the body over time. 
Patients who are taking the contraceptive pill or who are on hormone replacement therapy may need to stop this medication 6 weeks before treatment. Please discuss this with your Consultant Surgeon.

Benefits of radio frequency ablation






Risks and complications






What are the alternatives to Radio frequency ablation?

At this time alternatives include








The wearing of compression hoisery
Foam sclerotherapy
Varicose vein surgery

At this time this radio frequency ablation is not available on the NHS in Gloucestershire.


Futher information
The information contained on this website is intended as a guide only, it is not intended to subtitute for medical consultation, diagnosis or treatment.
Please see your doctor with any questions regarding personal health or medical conditions


This procedure eliminates the need for groin surgery.
Quicker return to normal activities
Less bruising
Numbness can occur initially but will settle in the majority of cases within a couple of months.
Deep vein thrombosis (blood clot) in the leg occurs less than 1% of cases and may require further  treatment
There is a rare risk of a small skin burn with this procedure.
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