If you have varicose veins, you may be wondering “is vein ablation painful?” Here is everything you need to know about the procedure, varicose veins, vein disease, and treatment. If you ever have any questions about our treatment procedures you can always give us a call.
Varicose Veins: A Common Affliction
Varicose veins are fairly common, affecting about 25% of adults. They appear as swollen, bumpy, and twisted veins that you may be able to see bulging through your skin. While they appear most often in the legs, varicose veins can develop in other parts of the body, as well.
Your veins help keep blood moving back up toward the heart. However, if the valves inside them are weak or show signs of damage, blood can back up in your veins, swelling and distending them. The result is varicose veins.
Risk factors for varicose veins include:
- Being female
- Pregnancy and childbirth
- Being overweight or obese
- Family history
- Inactive lifestyle
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time
Varicose veins can cause symptoms including:
- Visibly swollen veins
- Achiness, heaviness, or pain in your legs
- Leg cramps, especially at night
- Swollen feet or ankles
- Itchy or discolored skin
Vein Ablation: A Leading Treatment for Varicose Veins
There are a variety of techniques of treating varicose veins, including endovenous (or “within a vein”) ablation. Vein ablation is a minimally-invasive technique that uses laser energy to cauterize, or close, varicose veins in order to alleviate symptoms. Here’s what you should expect.
Before the Procedure
Your doctor will ask about the medications you’re currently taking, including herbal supplements and over-the-counter drugs, and whether you have any allergies. You may need to stop taking blood thinners, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and aspirin before the day of your ablation procedure.
The Day of the Procedure
During the procedure, your doctor may use a numbing cream to help reduce pain in the area, and then will clean and sterilize the area. They will use an ultrasound device to visualize the vein, and will place an electrode into the vein through a tiny incision. Your doctor will then inject a local anesthetic into the area to numb the tissue and insulate it from the heat of the electrode. The electrode then releases energy which heats the vein, cauterizing it and causing it to close.
You may need to wear protective glasses, and you may feel a slight sensation as the local anesthetic is applied, as well as some pressure when the catheter is inserted. However, the procedure itself is not considered painful. Once it is completed, you’re likely to experience only minimal discomfort. A study published in 2015 found that more than two-thirds of people who underwent vein ablation needed no pain relief after the procedure while about one-third used an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
After treatment, your doctor will provide you with a compression stocking that will help minimize tenderness and bruising. You may also be instructed to have someone drive you home after your appointment. But you can return to regular activities right away. Your vein should close off completely within a week, and your doctor will ask you to return for another ultrasound to check that the vein is completely closed.
Contact Us to Determine if Ablation is Right for You
Are you considering ablation for your varicose veins? At USA Vein Clinics, we specialize in treating vein problems of all kinds using the most innovative and affordable treatment methods, including ablation. Our experienced physicians and staff will diagnose your vein issues and work with you to create an individualized, convenient treatment plan. Give us a call at 888.768.3467 for information on treatments, cost, insurance coverage, doctor availability and more.