Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) for Varicose Veins – Auckland NZ

Radiofrequency Ablation NZ is the ‘gold-standard’ approach for the treatment of varicose veins at Palm Clinic in Auckland, NZ. Radiofrequency Ablation for varicose veins is a clever technology that heat seals the faulty vein (varicose vein ablation) diverting the venous blood flow to healthier veins improving your venous circulation and improving the appearance and symptoms of varicose veins.

What is it treating?

When blood circulates around the body, it travels from the heart to the legs through arteries, then returns to the heart through veins. Inside these veins, a one-way valve helps blood return to the upper parts of the body. If these valves begin to fail, and no longer operate as they should, blood begins to pool in the legs due to the force of gravity. When blood collects in this way, the veins become enlarged, discoloured, and can cause aching in the affected areas – this is known as chronic venous insufficiency, or varicose veins.

What are Varicose Veins
Large varicose veins and pigmentation treated with Radio Frequency Ablation and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy.

There are two options to ‘ablate’ or close your varicose veins. They both aim to close the faulty pathway that isn’t draining your leg correctly and re-route the flow through your good veins to improve the drainage, or venous circulation. For patients, this improves blood flow and reduces the pain and swelling caused by varicose veins. As a leading varicose vein clinic Auckland citizens have come to trust, we at Palm Clinic are always looking at new procedures to provide the best treatment possible.

How does it work?

There are two options to ‘ablate’ or close your varicose veins. They both aim to close the faulty pathway that isn’t draining your leg correctly and re-route the flow through your good veins to improve the drainage, or venous circulation. For patients, this improves blood flow and reduces the pain and swelling caused by varicose veins. These options are Radiofrequency ablation (discussed below) and Ultrasound Guided Sclerotherapy.

Radiofrequency Ablation (RFA) for chronic venous insufficiency is a clever technology that involves feeding a catheter (a long very thin tube) up the inside of the faulty vein and then, once it’s anaesthetised, heating the vein up to seal it closed. Varicose vein ablation means that the vein is closed, after which time the body absorbs it away over a number of months. The venous blood flow is diverted through deeper, more effective veins meaning an improved venous system and a resolution of vein symptoms (aching, throbbing, heavy, swollen legs).

There is no general anaesthetic required. The procedure is done using local anaesthetic which makes it safer and faster to recover from. The whole procedure takes one to two hours.

Most people understandably are anxious prior to the procedure but usually are pleasantly surprised that it was faster and more comfortable than they imagined it would be. Your comfort and safety is our priority.

What are the benefits of the RFA procedure?

  • Gold-standard approach to treatment of varicose veins: more effective and fewer complications than surgery
  • RFA is clinically proven to be less painful than Endovenous Laser Ablation (Endovenous Laser Therapy)
  • Minimally invasive technique using local anaesthesia
  • Walk in/Walk out procedure
  • No general anaesthesia or surgery required
  • Approved by FDA (Food and Drug Administration) in USA
  • Closes faulty varicose vein pathways diverting blood flow to effective veins
  • Improved venous circulation and resolution of symptoms
  • Important precursor to treatment of spider veins
  • Covered by Southern Cross and NIB Medical
  • Insurance when medical necessity criteria are met
  • Covered by most other Health Insurance companies in New Zealand.

What happens on the day?

Upon arrival at Palm Clinic in Auckland, NZ we will accompany you and any support person you may wish to bring to your pre-procedure room to talk through what is going to happen, answer any questions, take your pre-procedure observations and give you a gown and attire to change into. Your Palm Clinic Doctor will go through consent with you and ensure that you have any concerns/questions addressed at this stage. We place high importance on providing a good consent process and it’s important to us that you feel as comfortable as possible. Take your time to ask any questions and feel free to write down a list of questions if you need to so that we can help you to feel informed and in control.

We then bring you through to the treatment room where we will make you comfortable on the bed. Our ultrasonographer will mark your leg(s) and align what we see on your ultrasound map to what we are seeing on your leg. We will prep your leg with chlorhexidine wash and use local anaesthetic to numb the entry site for the catheter. Once access is gained, we feed the catheter up the faulty saphenous vein (you usually can’t feel this happening). With ultrasound guidance we ensure proper placement of the catheter. We then infiltrate local anaesthetic along the length of the catheter. Next, we turn on the radiofrequency energy. You will not feel this procedure due to the local anaesthetic. Following the radiofrequency procedure, we will proceed to ultrasound guided sclerotherapy to the smaller veins.

Finally, we dress the entry site and put on your custom fitted compression stocking/sock. You will then walk back to your room to change and go for your walk! We will ensure your safety and comfort before you leave the clinic.

We then like to see you for a check around one week after the procedure. You will leave with an information sheet that has your Palm Clinic Doctor’s after hours contact details and your post treatment instructions on it, as well as what to expect afterwards.

Palm Clinic will continue to provide follow-up for one year after your treatment.

What happens after?

RFA after care instructions:

  • Compression stocking/sock: Wear for 24 hours a day for the first three days, followed by day time use for 11 days
  • Walking: walk for 30 minutes twice per day for two weeks
  • Exercise/straining: Avoid for two weeks
  • Alcohol: avoid on days of treatment
  • Overseas travel: avoid long haul travel for one week prior and two weeks after treatment. No stand down from domestic flights.

After two weeks you can return to normal activity. We suggest easing back into your exercise and listening to how your leg feels as you increase intensity over the coming weeks.

It is normal to expect to feel firm, tender lumps and/or a firm cord-like structure just beneath the skin for several months following treatment. This is the closed faulty vein and a sign the treatment is working. These will slowly dissipate over a number of months.

There is a 1/1000 chance of experiencing a deep vein thrombosis. The symptoms/signs of this could be pain deep within your calf muscle, or significant swelling of the affected leg. Please contact the clinic if you have any concerns regarding this rare side effect.

There is a 1/5000 chance of experiencing a pulmonary embolism. The symptoms/signs of this are chest pain, breathing difficulties, persistent cough or coughing blood. If you experience any of these exceedingly rare symptoms please call 111 for an ambulance.

Before and after photos

View our gallery of varicose veins pictures showing before and after treatment at Palm Clinic.

Payment options

Varicose Vein treatments are covered by most medical insurers where medical necessity criteria apply. Palm Clinic is an affiliated provider to Southern Cross Healthcare and a First Choice Provider to NIB Medical Insurance which means Palm Clinic does all the paperwork for you to have your treatment covered.

We recommend you contact your health insurer (other than Southern Cross Healthcare and NIB) to arrange for prior approval.

Southern Cross Health Society Affiliated Provider
NIB first choice provider

We also have interest free payment plans to cover the cost of your treatment. To apply online go to: www.qmastercard.co.nz and click on ‘Apply Now’. Talk to our staff today to find out more about our flexible payment options. * Lending criteria, fees, terms and conditions apply.

Vein care for confidence and comfort at every step.

Consulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam DunnConsulatation at Palm Clinic with Dr Sam Dunn

Why Palm Clinic?

Our highly skilled medical team treat you with care and understanding.

Have a question
or want to make an appointment?

Take advantage of our Interest Free Payment plans to cover the cost of your treatment.
To apply online go to: www.qmastercard.co.nz and click on APPLY NOW
Talk to our staff today to find out more about our flexible payment options.
* Lending criteria, fees, terms and conditions apply.

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Please note that individual results may vary from patient to patient, and the information provided on our website is only a guidance to the possible results.