Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to questions many of our patients have

  • What should I expect on my first visit?
  • What is a Doppler Ultrasound?

    Doppler Ultrasound is a type of diagnostic test that uses sound waves to measure the amount of blood flow through your veins and arteries, in this case the ones that supply blood to your legs. This can help diagnose and eventually treat a variety of conditions including blood clots and poor circulation.

    A Doppler Ultrasound is a risk-free, pain-free procedure that requires little preparation. The test provides your doctor with important information about the flow of blood through your major arteries and veins. It can also reveal blocked or reduced blood flow through narrowed areas in the arteries, which could eventually lead to stroke.

  • How should I prepare for a Doppler Ultrasound?

    In general there is no preparation required for this test. Patients remove their pants and shoes and cover up with a provided drape or gown. If you are a smoker we will ask you to refrain from smoking for 2-3 hours prior to your testing appointment since smoking causes blood vessels to narrow, potentially affecting the accuracy of your test results. 

    Patients may also be fitted for compression stockings based on their ultrasound test results.

  • What is a Radiofrequency ablation (RFA)?

    A radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive medical procedure used to treat superficial varicose veins. It uses the radiofrequency energy to seal the vein shut which in turn, reroutes the blood to use healthy veins. A small catheter is inserted into the damaged vessel and is removed once the vein is permanently closed. This is an outpatient procedure which we can do right here in our local office.

  • How long does the procedure take?

    The entire procedure takes about one hour. We encourage our patients to arrive 15 minutes prior in order to take the prescribed sedative and to get comfortable with the environment. Once we bring the patient to the procedure room, we clean and prepare the leg for the treatment. Once the leg is sterile, we access the vein in the desired location and numb the entire length of the catheter. After the vein is closed, we wrap the patients leg with a protective adhesive and the patient is helped out of the room and given post care instructions.

  • Does it hurt?

    Patients can expect to feel some discomfort, particularly during the numbing process. We do have to use needles to inject the medicine, so patients can expect some stinging and burning sensations. Most patients leave the room saying that it was not as bad as they had anticipated.

  • Can I go back to work immediately?

    There are very few restrictions after the procedure is done. Patients are encouraged to walk and continue normal activities as much as they are able to handle. We do encourage patients that have the luxury of taking a few days off work to do so, however it is not required. We also do not recommend lifting over 20 lbs. for the first week (or until your follow up ultrasound is complete) and wearing the prescribed compression stockings as you heal.

  • Is the RFA safe?

    The procedure comes with minimal risk. Risk of infection, possible deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and nerve damage are the main concerns. DVT happens in less than 1% of patients and every possible step to avoid infection and nerve damage is practiced.

  • Does the RFA procedure work?

    Studies have shown the procedure has a 98% success rate over the first 3 years.

  • Will insurance pay for the RFA procedure?

    We work with nearly all insurance companies and we get a prior authorization from them to perform our procedure. After having a positive ultrasound for venous reflux and completing the conservative therapy, most insurance companies will help cover the cost.

  • Don’t I need these veins?

    No. There are plenty of other veins in the leg that will accommodate for the closed vessels. We only close the superficial system, so the deep venous system takes over and can handle additional work. The initial ultrasound will evaluate the deep venous system to ensure that it is able to perform properly.