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Radiofrequency Ablation is a new technique to treat varicose and thread veins, consisting of keyhole surgery performed under local anaesthetic.

Varicose veins are very common. They are generally swollen and sometimes lumpy veins that are blue and or purple. They can be seen just under the surface of your skin.

Thread veins are similar to varicose veins however these are smaller, often red or blue and are closer to the surface of the skin than varicose veins. You usually see these on your thighs or ankles.

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Why you might need it

The appearance of varicose and thread veins can have an impact on your confidence and the way you dress. As well as causing discomfort, pain and even leg ulcers which can become a more serious complication.

They are caused by blood collecting in superficial veins which lie just under your skin. These veins have one-way valves which help blood move back towards the heart, but in some instances, the valves become damaged or weakened and can no longer close properly.

When this happens, blood can flow backwards and collect in the vein. This then becomes visible on the surface of the skin as a varicose vein. Varicose veins do not tend to get better without treatment and usually get worse with time.

Your Consultation

You will have an initial consultation with a consultant. During this you can discuss your symptoms, medical history and ask any questions that you may have.

Your consultant will discuss the procedure with you so you know exactly what to expect. Your consultant may also discuss if any further diagnostic tests may be needed, such as a blood test or scan, with you.

We understand that this can be a daunting time so our friendly and caring team will be sure to put you at rest and make your experience with us, as comfortable as possible.

The Procedure

The procedure usually takes 30 – 40 minutes and is carried out under local anaesthetic, meaning you will be awake. However the area being treated will be numbed and you will feel no pain.

The consultant will insert a catheter (a very thin tube) into the vein, guided by ultrasound to ensure the correct positioning. The catheter will then heat up the vein and seal it closed.


Following the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room to recuperate until you are ready to go home. You will not be able to drive yourself home after the treatment.

Whilst exercise should be avoided for the first week after the procedure, you will be able to return to work and walk normally immediately afterwards. Your consultant will advise you on whether you need to wear compression stockings after the procedure.

If you are required to wear them then this is usually for a maximum of 2 weeks.

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Our specialist heart doctors (Consultant Cardiologists) are able to offer a fast, efficient service and opinion at our private hospital in Preston, Lancashire. We are able to offer you a comprehensive heart function investigation; starting with an examination of your heart rhythm (ECG) followed by a consultation with one of our Consultant Cardiologists. Following that, any further tests can be carried out as deemed necessary, or else you will have the reassurance that you need that your heart is working as it should.


Our dedicated team will still be there for you during each step of your recovery, even once you have left the hospital if you have any queries or concerns. Our consultants will usually book a follow-up appointment with you before you are discharged from hospital, to see how you are doing.

Whilst it is rare occurrence, surgery does carry a risk of complications. These depend on the type of operation you have as well as a variety of other factors such as your overall general health. During your consultation/s your consultant will discuss the possible risks and complications of having this procedure, and how they may apply to you, and answer any concerns or questions you have.

There for you