Radiofrequency Ablation

Radiofrequency Ablation of Varicose Veins

Illustration showing how Radiofrequency Ablation works at UK Vein Clinic

Radiofrequency ablation is a non-surgical, minimally invasive procedure that uses heat energy to treat and remove varicose veins. The procedure usually treats larger varicose veins. See our sclerotherapy page for smaller varicose vein treatment and visit our Veinwave page for thread or spider vein treatment. 

Our treatments are carefully designed and planned by Professor Stephen Black and Doctor Peter Finigan, who ensure that the procedures are based on the latest medical and scientific evidence for treating varicose veins. We are dedicated to providing high-quality treatment at a fair price, using only the methods that have been proven to have the best results. 

How should I prepare for radiofrequency ablation? 

Before scheduling any sessions, we will first organise an initial consultation. This will help us determine the best treatment plan for you and make sure that you understand the next steps. 

If you decide to continue with radiofrequency ablation, you must tell us if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you smoke, drink or have any allergies or intolerances. If you take regular medication, including over the counter or prescription medicines, you should also inform us of this.

What is the radiofrequency ablation 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. 

Each session lasts 45-60 minutes and begins with an ultrasound scan of the varicose veins. This allows your clinician to detect the affected area and determine the best course to access the vein. The area in question will then be treated with a local numbing agent to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. 

Once the anaesthetic has taken effect, we will make a small hole in the vein through which a catheter will be inserted to introduce the radiofrequency machine. This will produce heat, causing the vein to close off before it is gradually reabsorbed into the body. Any additional branches of this vein may also need to be treated with foam sclerotherapy before your sessions are 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 for the treated varicose vein(s). If this is the case, any further sessions will be covered by the initial fee and you will not be charged for them. 

You may be prescribed medication, in which case it is important to complete the entire course. Our staff will also give you instructions on how to care for the treated area in order to avoid complications such as infection. Once again, please follow these instructions for the designated time frame. It is likely that you will be given compression stockings to wear 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 about every 30 minutes if you are sitting for long periods of time. While sitting, please keep the treated limb elevated by propping it up on a cushion. We advise that you avoid any strenuous exercise until the treated site is fully healed.  You will be able to shower normally, but please avoid taking hot baths or using equipment such as jacuzzis. 

Am I eligible for radiofrequency ablation? 

Radiofrequency ablation is a highly effective treatment usually reserved for 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. These varicose veins often bulge through the skin or appear as large, clearly visible red or blue veins beneath the skin. 

We offer sclerotherapy for smaller varicose veins and treat thread veins and spider veins with Veinwave therapy. 

Where can I get radiofrequency ablation in the UK? 

The UK Vein Clinic is located at 150 Harley Street in Marylebone, London. We are easily accessible by foot, car and public transport. 

If you are coming to us via public transport, we are a 2-minute walk from Regent’s Park tube station on the Bakerloo line, and a 5-minute walk from Great Portland Street Station on the Circle, Hammersmith and Metropolitan lines. 

More information on how to get in touch with us can be found here

How much does radiofrequency ablation cost? 

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

The cost of our radiofrequency ablation package begins at £2,195. This includes your initial consultation, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Does radiofrequency ablation work? 

Yes. With a success rate of between 97-100%, radiofrequency ablation is the most effective procedure to treat varicose veins. 

Does radiofrequency ablation have any side effects? 

While being trusted and safe, as with any medical procedure there are minimal risks for radiofrequency ablation complications. These include:
- A fever of over 38 degrees.
- Chest pain or trouble breathing.Any sign of infection (redness, swelling, discharge, heat or bleeding).
- Severe pain in the treated area.
- Experiencing worse pain following radiofrequency ablation.If you experience any of these symptoms, please contact your GP straight away. 

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 100% 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. How long you should avoid air travel depends on the intensity of your treatment, so please consult your doctor to be sure of your limitations.

Will there be any scarring? 

Once the treated area has fully healed, there should be little to no sign that any procedure has taken place. However, in extremely rare cases, there can be slight staining of the skin that may not go away over time. 

Can I eat before my procedure? 

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

Is radiofrequency ablation a surgery?

At UK Vein Clinic, we define radiofrequency ablation as a treatment or a procedure. It is minimally invasive and will not significantly impact your daily routine.

Is radiofrequency ablation painful?
 

No. The procedure is virtually painless and we apply a local anaesthetic to numb the treated area.

What is the recovery time for radiofrequency ablation?


Recovery time for radiofrequency ablation depends on the patient and the intensity of the procedure. However, we expect a near-total recovery 2 weeks after your treatment.

Get expert help with vein health

Book a call now with one of our specialist advisors

Talk to an expert

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

London Harley Street

You'll find our clinic at 150 Harley Street, in the heart of London’s prestigious medical district. The nearest Underground stations are Great Portland Street (Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, and Circle lines), Warren Street (Northern Line), Regent’s Park (Bakerloo line) and Baker Street (Jubilee Line)

Arrange your visit

Manchester Pall Mall

Our Manchester clinic is located in the heart of the city's Central Retail District. The clinic is conveniently accessible from the Manchester district and neighbouring areas, with great public transportation links bringing you within a few minutes' walk. If you're arriving by car, there's plenty of parking available

Arrange your visit