Varicose Veins Treatment: Endovenous Thermal Ablation

Endovenous thermal ablation is one form of varicose vein treatment. It is a minimally invasive procedure which requires very little down time. This procedure can be performed in a doctor's office or in a surgical center under general or local anesthesia.

The Procedure

To begin the procedure, the doctor will perform an ultrasound to determine the exact location of the vein. Then, the anesthesia will be administered either locally or general, whichever makes you feel more comfortable. After the anesthesia is administered, the leg will be washed with an antibacterial cleanser to prevent the possibility of developing an infection.

The doctor will begin the process of inserting a small catheter into the leg and through the vein. This is done with the assistance of an ultrasound. The doctor will place a solution of salt water and an anesthetic along the vein to help reduce the swelling and scaring. Then, a laser fiber or radio frequency probe is inserted into the catheter into the vein.

Once it is in the vein, laser energy or radio frequency energy is administered to the vein. This will close the vein off while keeping the vein in place to prevent against bleeding problems. The total procedure may last around two or three hours. After the surgery is finished, you will need to wear compression stockings for the first night after surgery and then during the day for two weeks.


The recovery time after having this procedure done is very minimal. You will be released from the doctor’s office or surgical center to finish recovering at home. You will be able to return to normal everyday activities within a week or two. To speed up the recovery time, follow all of your doctor’s instructions.

Risks of Endovenous Thermal Ablation

As with any type of surgery, there are possible risks and complications when having endovenous thermal ablation. These risks are generally mild but should be considered when thinking about having this surgery.

In some cases, trauma to the surrounding nerves can happen. This can cause some numbness but in most cases the numbness will go away. There are rare cases in which the numbness can be permanent.

Some people may have develop hyper-pigmented skin in the area where the ablation has been done. This is a discoloration of the skin. This will usually disappear as time goes on and is usually not very noticeable unless you know that it has occurred.

Deep vein thrombosis is one of the most dangerous side effects. This is a blood clot that travels to the lungs. If this is not caught in time, it can cause death. Due to the severity of this, your doctor will perform an ultrasound one week after the procedure to see if the veins are swollen and to determine if any clots have developed.

If you suffer from varicose veins, you should talk to your doctor to determine if Endovenous Thermal Ablation is the right procedure for you.

Have specific questions?

All Article Categories

Before & After Photos

Suggested Doctors

Recently Asked Questions