Radiofrequency Ablation

What is Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency Ablation is a procedure that is usually used to treat larger varicose veins. The procedure uses an electric current to heat up a small area of a damaged vein, causing it to collapse and block itself off entirely. The body then reabsorbs the blocked vein, effectively removing it

Radiofrequency Ablation is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure. For similar procedures, see our Foam Sclerotherapy page for smaller varicose vein treatment and visit our Veinwave page for thread or spider vein treatment

radiofrequency ablation varicose veins

How to prepare for Radiofrequency Ablation

Before scheduling any treatment sessions, you will start by booking an initial consultation with one of our specialists. This will help us determine the best treatment plan for you, and to make sure that you understand the next steps

During your consultation your specialist may carry out a full Duplex Ultrasound scan to help decide the best treatment for you. A standard consultation, including scanning, takes around 45 minutes. After this consultation, you can book your treatment

What to expect during the procedure

On the day of your treatment, we advise you to wear comfortable, unrestrictive clothing such as jogging bottoms or a loose skirt to avoid irritating the treated area. Ensure you have had at least a small meal before the procedure in order to keep your energy level up

Each session lasts approximately 30 minutes and begins with an ultrasound scan of the varicose veins. This allows your clinician to examine the affected area and determine the best course to access the vein. The area in question will then be treated with a local anaesthetic to prevent any discomfort during the procedure

Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, the clinician inserts a catheter into the vein, through which the radiofrequency probe is introduced. This small machine produces heat, causing the vein to close off so that it can be gradually reabsorbed into the body. Any additional branches of this vein may also need to be treated with Foam Sclerotherapy before the procedure is complete

Radiofrequency Ablation aftercare

Following your procedure, our team will schedule a second consultation to see how your recovery is progressing and whether any further treatment is required. If this is the case, any further sessions regarding the same treated vein will be covered by the initial fee and you will not be charged extra

Our staff will give you clear instructions on how to care for the treated area in order to avoid complications such as infection. You may be prescribed medication, or recommended to wear compression stockings for 1-2 weeks after your treatment

As soon as you feel able, you should engage in mild exercise to ensure that the blood in your legs is circulating properly. This can be as simple as walking, and it is recommended that you get up and walk a little every 30 minutes if you are sitting for long periods of time. While sitting, you should try to keep the treated leg elevated by propping it up on a cushion. We advise that you avoid any strenuous exercise until the treated site is fully healed

Am I eligible for Radiofrequency Ablation?

Radiofrequency Ablation is a highly effective treatment that is usually applied to larger varicose veins. These larger veins are commonly found in the legs in the greater saphenous vein of the thigh or the small saphenous vein of the calf. Large varicose veins often bulge through the skin or appear as clearly visible red or blue veins beneath the skin

During your initial consultation, your specialist will determine if Radiofrequency Ablation is an appropriate treatment. If not, then we also offer Foam Sclerotherapy for smaller varicose veins, while we treat thread veins / spider veins with Veinwave therapy

How much does Radiofrequency Ablation cost?

A detailed breakdown of the cost of all of our varicose vein treatments can be found here

For Radiofrequency Ablation, package prices begin at £1,600. This includes your treatment session and the follow-up consultation to ensure success

Should you need to undergo treatment again for the same vein(s), this will be free of charge

Where can I get Radiofrequency Ablation?

The UK Vein Clinic has clinics in Harley Street, London and Pall Mall, Manchester. Both clinics are easily accessible by foot, car and public transport

More information on our clinics can be found here

Frequently Asked Questions

Does Radiofrequency Ablation work?

Yes. With a success rates over 97%, Radiofrequency Ablation is the most effective procedure to treat varicose veins. It is safer and has less chance of damaging surrounding tissue than similar procedures, such as laser treatments

Can I exercise after Radiofrequency Ablation?

We advise you to stay active following the procedure, but we recommend avoiding doing anything too strenuous. Activities such as running, swimming and weightlifting should all be put on hold until you are completely recovered

Will I be able to fly after Radiofrequency Ablation?

Flying after procedures like Radiofrequency Ablation increases the risk of complications such as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). How long you should avoid air travel depends on the severity of your treatment, so please consult your specialist if you’re planning on travelling

Can I eat before my procedure?

We recommend that you have a light meal before your procedure to keep your energy level high

Are there any creams or natural alternatives to Radiofrequency Ablation?

There are no effective home remedies for treating varicose veins. Some less trustworthy sources on the internet may suggest trying things such as apple cider vinegar, horse chestnut, vitamin C or coconut oil, but unfortunately none of these will actually make varicose veins go away. Some creams may temporarily mask the veins but, once the effect wears off, the damaged veins will still be visible

Can I get treatment through the NHS?

Most varicose vein treatments are not available through the NHS. In very severe cases they may be covered if they are causing a lot of pain or putting the patient at risk of further complications. But for most people this is not the case, and the NHS is unlikely to cover treatment. You can read more about varicose vein treatment on the NHS on our Blog here

Where to find us

We're pleased to be able to provide our world-class varicose vein treatment in a variety of places throughout the United Kingdom. Learn more about your treatment options, including endovenous radio-frequency ablation (EVRF) and foam sclerotherapy, at the clinic closest to you


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