Saphenous Vein Ablation

Saphenous vein ablation is used to treat venous insufficiency in the leg by ablating the vein using thermal energy. This procedure is done for varicose veins or painful veins in the legs.

How do I prepare for the exam?

Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the exam.

Most patients are admitted through the Admissions and Testing Unit about two hours prior to test time. After you check in, Admissions and Testing staff will prep you for your exam, including checking vital signs, taking any needed laboratory tests, and starting an IV if necessary.

If you are taking any blood thinners, diabetic medication or are allergic to contrast, please notify us when your exam is scheduled, as there are special instructions that go along with these conditions.

What can I expect during the exam?

The exam is conducted by an interventional radiologist, a specially trained interventional radiology technologist and an RN.

You will lie on the exam table, and an RN will place you on a monitor and administer sedatives.

The area of access will be shaved and sterilely cleaned and draped, usually the area behind the knee.

The greater saphenous vein will be visualized by ultrasound, and accessed with a needle and wire. A sheath is inserted and a thermal tip catheter is guided to the point where the saphenous vein meets the femoral vein. A numbing medication is injected at this point, and the laser is slowly moved along the vessel. The laser is removed, and pressure is held until bleeding stops. Compression stockings will be placed on your legs.

The procedure will take approximately 60 to 90 minutes.

What can I expect after the exam?

After the procedure, you will return to the Admission and Testing unit, keeping the affected leg elevated.

Thigh high compression stockings will need to be worn for two weeks during the day, and removed only at night. Avoid sitting, standing or walking for long periods of time for two to three weeks. Detailed instructions will be given at the time of the procedure.

Please arrange for a ride home after you are discharged, as you cannot drive for 24 hours after the exam.