There have been significant advances in the treatment of varicose veins in the last two decades, with endovenous ablation techniques replacing surgery.

Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) and endovenous laser therapy (EVLT) were both developed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Researchers were looking for a minimally invasive technique with a lower risk of complications, fewer side effects, and a shorter recovery time, compared with more conventional surgical procedures.

Since then, both RFA and EVLT have grown in popularity, though each treatment option varies in benefits for patients and costs for your practice.

Ensure to read and understand all indications, contraindications, instructions, and warnings contained within medical device labeling prior to using medical devices.

Similarities and Differences of RFA and EVLT

RFA and EVLT are both considered safe and reliable therapies to treat venous insufficiency of the large superficial veins.

RFA

  • Procedure:
    • Radiofrequency energy, distributed via a tiny catheter inserted into the vein, shrinks the vein around the catheter; surrounding tissues eventually reabsorb the vein
    • Performed in the office, rather than operating room
    • High rate of success
    • Low risk for perforation
  • Patient outcome:
    • No incision
    • Relatively painless
    • Minimal recovery time
    • Fewer side effects: less bruising, less postoperative pain, relief felt within a shorter time
  • Cost:
    • Higher Medicare reimbursement, compared with EVLT. On average, reimbursement is $312 more for RF.

EVLT

  • Procedure:

Laser filament triggers clot formation in the blood vessel, causing occlusion and blood flow block

    • Performed in the office, rather than operating room
    • High rate of success
  • Patient outcome:
    • No incision
    • Relatively painless
    • Minimal recovery time
    • Could cause more lingering pain if laser energy damages surrounding tissue
    • More minor bruising and swelling
  • Cost
    • Lower Medicare reimbursement, compared with RFA

The differences between the two procedures are minimal and the type of procedure you choose will ultimately depend on the needs of each individual patient. However, RFA is known to produce few side effects, low risk, and more comfort for your patients—all at a high reimbursement rate and lower cost to you and your clinic.

Reducing Costs in Your Practice

Let’s walk through a scenario that demonstrates some of the potential cost-saving opportunities for a vein clinic.

Dr. James has just opened a vein clinic in Orange County, Calif., and is starting out performing EVLTs for his patients. He purchased laser fibers from a reputable medical equipment provider at a deal, paying $155 per laser and another $70 per case for procedure kits, lidocaine, saline, and introducer sheaths. Medicare reimbursed Dr. James $1,319.19 for this particular procedure code, leaving him with $1,094.19 per case, after supply costs.

Things were going well until a new supply representative offered him a better deal. Dr. James began doing RFA closures instead. He purchased catheters from this company for $350 each, while his procedure kit and other supplies remained the same at $70 per case. Medicare reimbursed $1,678.35 for the RFA procedure code. In all, Dr. James increased his earnings to $1,258.35 per case, after supply costs.

However, there was one more switch that would help Dr. James save even more. Performing RFA using Vein360 reprocessed RF ablation catheters cut the cost of catheter by $155. With supply costs and Medicare reimbursement remaining the same, he is now earning $1,413 per case, after supply costs.

Dr. James saved $214.16 per case by switching from EVLT to RFA. He saved another $155 per case switching to the Vein360 catheters. Dr. James will perform an average of 400 cases per year, and, after ten years, he’s earned an additional $147,664 per year or $1,476,640—enough to retire early!

How much could you save? Request a quote today and see significant savings for your practice by using reprocessed RFA catheters from Vein360.