Removing Varicose Veins With Radiofrequency Ablation

Varicose veins are a pain, literally. They can cause your legs to feel achy or heavy. They can burn and throb. They can even lead to muscle cramping and swelling. In extreme cases, varicose veins can lead to skin ulcers near the ankles.

Vein stripping, an invasive surgical procedure where the leg was opened and the varicose vein removed, has been replaced by different, less invasive options. One preferred method for Dr. Heeringa is the Closurefast catheter and the use of radiofrequency energy to remove varicose veins. The procedure is known as radiofrequency ablation and we offer it at our three Northern Michigan Vein Specialists offices.

What Are Varicose Veins?

Varicose veins are veins where the valves that are intended to keep blood flowing in one direction only are damaged to the point where blood can backflow and pool. This, coupled with weakening vein walls that comes with aging, allows the veins to widen and push toward the skin surface, creating the telltale raised curving purple and blue displays of varicose veins.

How Is Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation Done?

Dr. Heeringa makes a small incision above the varicose vein. He then inserts a catheter into the targeted vein. Once the Closurefast catheter is in place, radiofrequency energy is sent into the vein. This energy converts to heat in the vein and the heat damages the walls of the varicose vein, causing them to collapse inward. This seals off the vein; any blood that was running through the vein is instantly rerouted to an adjacent, healthy vein.

What Are The Benefits Of Endovenous Radiofrequency Ablation?

When compared with vein stripping, radiofrequency ablation offers numerous benefits:

  • Speed of the procedure
  • Short recovery
  • Little discomfort
  • Little or no scarring or bruising
  • Less swelling


Patients may have mild bruising or swelling in the treated area but can usually return to regular activities shortly after treatment. Patients will wear compression hose for several weeks after treatment to promote the body’s scavenging of the closed off vein. Plus, this reduces any swelling.

Studies show that 97 percent of patients are very satisfied with their results one year after radiofrequency ablation.

Want to do something about your varicose veins during the midst of a long Michigan winter? Call us at Northern Michigan Vein Specialists at (231) 936-2068 to make your appointment.