Venous Ablation for Varicose Veins in Denver, CO

Venous insufficiency is a very common condition resulting from decreased blood flow from the leg veins up to the heart. Normally, one-way valves in the veins keep blood flowing toward the heart, against the force of gravity. When the valves weaken and don’t close properly, blood flows backwards. This condition is called reflux. Veins that have lost their valve effectiveness become elongated, rope-like, bulged, and thickened. These are commonly known as varicose veins.

The interventional radiologists at Minimally Invasive Procedure Specialists provide expert treatments for varicose veins in Denver, CO. Learn more about venous ablation and schedule your consultation today.

What is Venous Ablation?

For patients suffering from varicose veins, vein ablation is a minimally invasive procedure that treats the veins from the inside. This outpatient procedure is performed by an interventional radiologist and uses heat energy from a laser to seal the afflicted vein.

Is Venous Ablation right for me?

Your physician and an interventional radiologist can best determine if you are a candidate for the procedure. Enlarged and swollen blood vessels commonly associated with varicose veins can also cause pain and impaired walking that can generally worsen as the day goes on. In more severe cases darkening of the skin can occur. Compared to traditional vein stripping techniques, venous ablation is effective, has fewer negative outcomes (up to 95% success rates), leaves virtually no scars and has much less pain during recovery.

Is Venous Ablation safe?

Venous ablation is extremely safe, however as with all surgical procedures, there are risks that should be fully discussed with a physician. Some of these risks, although minimal, can include perforation of the vein, thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, phlebitis, infection and skins burns if the vein treated is close to the surface of the skin.

How should I prepare for this procedure?

No special preparation is necessary. However you must let your technologist or physician know if you are allergic to anesthetics, have a pacemaker, internal defibrillator or other implanted medical device. You will be asked to wear protective glasses while lasers are in use. To minimize the risk of bruising and bleeding, patients who take blood thinners may be asked to stop their medication prior to the procedure. The leg being treated will be sterilized and covered with a surgical drape and a local anesthetic will be administered to the site where the incision will be made, generally immediately above or below the knee.

What should I expect during this exam?

Unlike more invasive procedures that surgically strip veins from the leg, venous ablation uses a catheter, which is inserted through a single and very small incision. The skin is sterilized, local anesthesia administered, and a small needle is inserted into the vein to be treated using ultrasound for guidance. An external ultrasound transducer is used to study the vein and track its path. It is also used to guide the insertion of the catheter and gauge effectiveness of the procedure. The tip of the catheter utilizes fiber optics to deliver laser energy to heat and seal off the vein. Sealing off the faulty vein does not adversely affect circulation because other veins assume management for blood return back to the heart. The treated vein shrinks and seals and is unlikely to reopen and cause a recurrence of symptoms. Your physician may prescribe compression stockings to enhance your comfort and request that you have a follow-up ultrasound exam in two to four weeks to ensure that the procedure was successful.

Post-Op Instructions

An ablation uses energy to cauterize and close veins. Ablation is often used to help with pain, leg heaviness, swelling, skin ulcers, skin discoloration or vein swelling.

Discharge Instructions

  • After the procedure, sterile gauze and a clear dressing with be placed over the catheter insertion site(s). This dressing may be removed 24 hours after the procedure.
  • Wear your compression hose and continue to wear them during waking hours until your follow up appointment.
  • Walk every hour for at least a few minutes. If you are able, add a daily 20-30-minute walk.

Information About Sedation

If you received a medication that was used to relax you during your test or procedure, it will be acting in your body for the next 24 hours, so you might feel sleepy and may forget things. This feeling will slowly wear off. Because the drug is still in the body, for the next 24 hours, you:

  • SHOULD NOT- Drive a car
  • SHOULD NOT- Use machinery or power tools
  • SHOULD NOT- Drink any alcoholic beverages (not even beer or wine)
  • SHOULD NOT- Take any drugs unless okayed by your doctor
  • SHOULD NOT- Decide anything that is important (such as sign important papers)
  • SHOULD NOT- Smoke unless someone is near to watch you closely
  • SHOULD NOT- Use a hot tub

What to Expect After Your Procedure

You may have mild to moderate pain, or the leg may be tender to the touch.

● It is normal to experience some tenderness or bruising in the areas where a numbing agent was administered. Pain should be well-controlled by Tylenol.
● You may experience some bruising, discoloration, tightness, and a possible pulling sensation along the course of the treated vein(s), beginning 4-5 days after the procedure. This is normal and to be expected.
● You may have a firm, cord-like feeling under the skin along the course of the treated vein(s). This can take several weeks or months to resolve.

If you have questions, contact the Radiology Care Unit at (303) 738-2734 Monday through Friday from 7:00AM-5:00PM. For urgent matters after hours, call the Radiology Department at (720) 528-0775 and ask for the MIPS Interventional Radiologist on call.