Possible side effects of radiofrequency ablation of varicose veins in the leg include skin burns, nerve damage and blood clotting in the vein, according to WebMD. Nerve damage may cause feelings of burning, pain or prickling after the surgery. Small or large blood clots may also form in the vein.
Patients sometimes feel tired for a few weeks following the surgery, and bruising may develop at the site of the radiofrequency ablation, notes Cleveland Clinic. Pain at the site and numbness in the shin can also occur. These side effects normally go away after a two or three weeks. Many patients report less pain and faster recovery times with this procedure compared to ligation and vein stripping.
Inflammation of the vein, thermal damage and tenderness may occur with radiofrequency ablation surgery, says Radiological Society of North America. Compression stockings can alleviate bruising and tenderness. Heat damage to nearby nerves normally goes away after a short period of time. Inflammation of the vein may cause redness and pain at the site of the ablation, and these symptoms can be treated with nonsteroidial anti-inflammatory drugs.
Radiofrequency ablation uses heat energy to damage the inside wall of a varicose vein in the leg, according to WebMD. This damage causes scar tissue to form, and this scarring permanently closes the varicose vein. Doctors insert a thin catheter into the affected vein to perform the procedure.