The procedure that was performed is called Radiofrequency Ablation Procedure (RFA) of the saphenous vein. A fiber was used to obliterate the lumen (opening) of the saphenous vein, a large vein near the skin of the thigh. It is important to remember that this particular procedure was performed, as you may be asked in the future about whether or not you have had any procedures done on your leg.
1. It is imperative that you wear the compression stockings continuously for the next 24 hours. That means that when you shower or bathe, you should cover the leg in a plastic bag so that the stocking and the bandages do not get wet.
2. After the first 24 hours and for the next 5-7 days, you may wear the stocking only during the day. You will be wearing the stocking until your post-operative appointment. When you first remove the stocking and bandages, you will notice a few pieces of white tape over the area where you had the procedure performed. You may wash your leg with soap and water and allow these to fall off in the shower. If they do not come off after a couple of days, you may remove them.
3. It is not unusual to have some mild, aching discomfort in the area where the vein resides in the thigh. This is due to the fact that the body is reacting to the damage done to the vein and typically lasts from one to two weeks. Taking Motrin or Advil in a typical dose continuously for the first few days is imperative to reduce inflammation and decrease your discomfort. If the pain is unrelenting or so severe that Motrin or Advil are not providing relief, please call the office. It is also not unusual to have some bruising or discoloration in the thigh. This typically resolves after several weeks.
4. You should make an appointment to be seen in a follow-up in approximately one week. At that time, an ultrasound similar to the one you had before the procedure will be performed to determine the success of the procedure.
5. You should avoid any particularly strenuous activity that involves bearing down for the next five days. Light yoga and upper body weight training, as long as it does not involve significant straining, is acceptable.
6. If you encounter significant swelling in the leg, pain in the calf, or unusual redness, drainage, or fever during the two weeks following the procedure, please call the office.
Remember: much of the success of the procedure depends on your willingness to wear the (uncomfortable, I know) compression stocking during this period. If you are non-compliant with this, you should expect that the saphenous vein will continue to function, supplying pressure to the varicose veins. Also, do not expect immediate changes in the varicose veins. The varicosities need time to collapse and shrink on their own, a process that does not occur immediately.