Thermal Ablation

What is Endovenous Thermal Ablation (ETA)?

ETA (endovenous thermal ablation) is a minimally invasive treatment that uses radiofrequency (RF) or laser energy to effectively treat patients suffering from varicose veins or Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI). We insert a catheter into a diseased vein to provide consistent and uniform heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to collapse and close. After the vein is sealed shut, blood is then naturally redirected to healthy veins.
A number of studies confirm that patients experience less bruising and pain, and fewer complications with ETA than with a conventional stripping operation.
ETA also results in little to no scarring and is invariably performed using local anesthesia in our outpatient surgical facility.

What is Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)?

CVI is a progressive medical condition in which the valves in veins that carry blood from the legs to the heart no longer function, causing blood to pool in the legs and veins to swell. This incorrect blood flow (or reflux) causes veins to expand, lose form and protrude from beneath the skin. Common symptoms include pain, leg swelling, leg heaviness and fatigue as well as skin changes and ulcers in more severe cases.
Varicose veins are often thick, bulging veins that can protrude well beyond the skin’s surface. Often misunderstood as a cosmetic issue, varicose veins can progress to CVI, which is a more serious condition.

How do you treat varicose veins and CVI?

Since the valves in the legs cannot be repaired, the only alternative is to re-route blood flow from the diseased veins to healthy veins. Traditionally, this has been done by surgically removing (stripping) the troublesome vein from your leg. ETA, however, provides a less invasive alternative to vein stripping by simply closing the diseased vein. Once the diseased vein is closed, it becomes scar tissue and is eventually absorbed by the body.

How is an ETA procedure different from vein stripping?

Vein stripping is a surgical procedure, where the surgeon makes an incision in your groin and ties off the vein, after which a "stripper" tool is threaded through the leg vein in order to pull it out through a second incision just above the calf.
The ETA Procedure is minimally invasive. In contrast to vein stripping, the vein remains in place and is closed using a special catheter inserted through a small incision below the knee or near the ankle.
Vein stripping is usually performed in an operating room under a general anesthetic, while the ETA procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, typically using local anesthesia.

How is ETA using the ClosureFast - Venefit procedure different from laser ablation?

The Venefit procedure utilizes radiofrequency energy to provide consistent and controlled heat to contract the collagen in the vein walls, causing them to gently collapse and seal. Once a leg vein is closed, blood flow is redirected to healthy veins.
Laser ablation, on the other hand, uses laser heat to collapse and seal the affected vein. The laser targets the blood in the vein, which causes the blood to boil. The results of ETA using the newest laser technology are similar to those of ETA using radiofrequency.

How long does the procedure take?

The ETA procedure takes about 45-90 minutes, depending on the number and magnitude of findings.

Is ETA painful?

Most patients report feeling little, if any, pain during the ETA procedure. We will give you a local or regional anesthetic to numb the treatment area.

Does it require anesthesia?

The ETA procedure can be performed under local, regional or general anesthesia. We perform it invariably using local anesthesia in our outpatient surgical facility.

How quickly after treatment can I return to normal activities?

Most patients experience a quicker return to normal activities than after conventional stripping surgery. For a few days we recommend a regular walking regimen.

How soon after treatment will my symptoms improve?

Most patients report a noticeable improvement in their symptoms within one to two weeks following the procedure.

Is there any scarring, bruising or swelling after an ETA procedure?

Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling following the procedure.

Patients report minimal to no scarring, bruising or swelling following the procedure.

As with any medical intervention, potential risks and complications exist. They can include paresthesia (numbness or tingling), phlebitis, hematoma and - extremely rarely - infection thrombosis, pulmonary embolism or skin burn.

Is age an important consideration for an ETA procedure?

The most important step in determining whether or not an ETA procedure is appropriate for you is a complete ultrasound examination. Age alone is not a factor in determining whether or not the procedure is appropriate for you. However, ETA lends itself particularly well for old patients because of the avoidance of spinal or general anesthesia and of a hospital stay.

What happens to the treated vein left behind in the leg?

The vein simply becomes fibrous tissue after treatment. Over time, the vein will gradually be completely absorbed into surrounding tissue.

Is the ETA procedure covered by my insurance?

Many insurance companies pay for ETA procedures in part or in full if patients have a complementary insurance. We unfortunately don’t expect the full coverage in short-term by basic insurance.