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Endovenous ablation

4-minute read

This page will give you information about endovenous ablation (EVA). If you have any questions, you should ask your GP or other relevant health professional.

What are varicose veins?

Varicose veins are enlarged and twisted veins in your leg.

Varicose veins tend to run in families and are made worse by pregnancy and if you do a lot of standing.

Both legs contain a system of deep veins, which are buried within the muscles of your leg, and a system of superficial veins which run just underneath your skin.

Sometimes weaknesses in the walls of the superficial veins cause them to enlarge.

The result is a build-up of pressure in the veins, which bulge out as varicose veins.

What are the benefits of surgery?

Your symptoms should improve.

Illustration showing varicose veins.
Varicose veins.

Are there any alternatives to EVA?

Support stockings can often help the symptoms caused by varicose veins and reduce the risk of complications that varicose veins can cause.

Foam sclerotherapy is a similar technique that uses an injection of chemicals to treat the veins.

Varicose veins surgery involves disconnecting and removing the superficial veins from the deep veins, using a cut on your groin or the back of your knee.

What does the operation involve?

The operation is performed under a general anaesthetic, local anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic. The operation usually takes about 45 minutes.

Laser ablation

Your surgeon will insert a catheter (tube) into the great or small saphenous vein. They will pass a laser fibre through the catheter and up to the point where the saphenous and deep veins meet. Your surgeon will slowly remove the catheter and laser fibre while laser energy pulses are sent down the fibre. The laser energy causes the saphenous vein to close.

Radio-frequency ablation

Your surgeon will insert a radio-frequency ablation catheter into the great or small saphenous vein.

Your surgeon will slowly remove the catheter while radio-frequency energy is sent down the electrode. The radio-frequency energy causes the saphenous vein to close.

What complications can happen?

Some of these can be serious and can even cause death.

General complications of any operation

  • pain
  • unsightly scarring of your skin
  • bleeding
  • infection of the surgical site (wound)
  • blood clot in your leg
  • blood clot in your lung

Specific complications of this operation

  • superficial thrombophlebitis, where one of the superficial veins becomes inflamed
  • developing a lump under a wound
  • numbness or a tingling sensation along the line of the vein that has been treated
  • burns to your skin
  • ablation device cracking or breaking
  • damage to nerves
  • damage to arteries
  • continued varicose veins

How soon will I recover?

You should be able to go home the same day.

Try to return to normal activities as soon as possible, unless you are told otherwise.

Regular exercise should help you to return to normal activities as soon as possible. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Most people make a full recovery.

Summary

Varicose veins are a common problem and can lead to complications if left untreated. Support stockings can help to control symptoms but will not remove the varicose veins.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION
The operation and treatment information on this page is published under license by Healthdirect Australia from EIDO Healthcare Australia and is protected by copyright laws. Other than for your personal, non-commercial use, you may not copy, print out, download or otherwise reproduce any of the information. The information should not replace advice that your relevant health professional would give you.

For more on how this information was prepared, click here.

Learn more here about the development and quality assurance of healthdirect content.

Last reviewed: September 2019


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