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Varicose veins

Radiofrequency ablation (or VNUS Closure) treatment for varicose veins


What does radiofrequency ablation (or VNUS Closure) involve?

A small cut is made near the knee and a catheter is inserted into the vein with the aid of an ultrasound scan. A tiny probe is then inserted in the catheter that sends out a high frequency electric current, causing the vein to heat up, damaging the inner walls and thus sealing it from within.

Radiofrequency ablation is an outpatient procedure that is performed under local anesthetic. It takes around 45-60 minutes. Because of the anesthetic, pain from the area is blocked so you’ll feel nothing.

How long is the recovery period?

You can return to your normal routine immediately but you should avoid putting strain on your legs. You should also avoid spending too much time standing. Go for regular little walks and wear compression stockings for two to three weeks to aid recovery.

You might experience pins and needles and minor burns to the skin in the treated area but these side effects are short-term.

Who can have this done?

This procedure isn’t suitable for small veins or small segments of vein under 7cm long. Because no sedation is required, elderly patients or those with heart problems or diabetes, for example, can be treated with radiofrequency ablation.

How much does it cost?

Radiofrequency ablation is being taken up by more and more NHS trusts around the UK. If you go private, it will cost from £2000.


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