Ablation Surgery: Long-Term Care

Recovery from ablation surgery, in most cases, is straightforward, and people who underwent the procedure shouldn’t require a lot of long-term care. If the ablation went well, no matter the type, you will need less long-term care. Ablation can resolve many issues, from tumors to abnormal heart rhythms. There may be cases, however, where ongoing care, follow-up surgeries, or another ablation surgery is needed.

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Benefits of Surgery

The goal of any ablation surgery is to remove an obstruction or damaged tissue. Below is an overview of the benefits for various types of ablations:

  • Bladder Ablation: Ablations done to the bladder are typically for addressing bladder cancer. Performed through a catheter inserted into the urethra, ablations give healthcare providers a minimally invasive method to remove all or a portion of the tumors or tissues that are causing problems in the bladder.
  • Brain Ablation: Brain ablations can be performed to address a variety of issues like brain tumors or seizures. Ablations are much less invasive and risky compared with open brain tumor surgery, which involves removing large portions of the skull. Certain recurring conditions like gliomas may require multiple ablation surgeries. An ablation can help reduce pain and cut down recovery time.
  • Cardiac Ablation: In cardiac ablations, your healthcare provider does not remove tissue, but rather attempts to reprogram a faulty electrical system. The heart functions on a type of electrical impulse that fuels the heart rhythm. These signals can malfunction, causing abnormal heart rhythms called arrhythmias, which can cause a number of problems and even be fatal. The electrical pulse directed at the affected tissue during a cardiac ablation is meant to reprogram the malfunctioning tissue, with the goal of resolving the arrhythmia.
  • Endometrial Ablation: In the case of endometrial ablation, the endometrium—or the lining of the uterus—is cauterized. This will stop or reduce excessive menstrual bleeding. It is likely to make pregnancy after the ablation impossible because the lining in the uterus where the egg implants after fertilization is removed during the procedure. Pregnancies that occur after an endometrial ablation are not normal, so people who undergo endometrial ablation are encouraged to use a reliable form of birth control.
  • Venous Ablation: Venous ablations are often performed to treat conditions like varicose veins. These conditions may recur, particularly if you have health conditions that leave you prone to venous disease. While you may need to have a venous ablation more than once, it is a minimally invasive solution to a cosmetic problem.

Possible Future Surgeries

In most cases, follow-up surgeries for ablations are rare. They occur most often in cardiac ablations. For some people, an ablation isn’t enough to permanently resolve an arrhythmia. They may have to undergo another ablation, continue taking medications to regulate their heart rhythm, or even have a device—like a defibrillator or pacemaker—implanted to help control their condition.

There is also a risk that surrounding tissues may be injured or damaged in any type of ablation surgery. The ablation tools used or energy that is transmitted during ablation surgery can potentially cause bleeding, inflammation, and even small tears in the areas around where the ablation is done. If this happens, you may need follow-up surgery to repair this damage.

Your healthcare provider will discuss any potential risks or complications associated with your procedure with you before the day of the surgery. You will be monitored for any complications from your surgery at scheduled follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider in the weeks after your ablation.

Lifestyle Adjustments

As with any condition, a healthy lifestyle, good diet, and regular exercise can help prevent or resolve a number of health problems. Lifestyle changes your healthcare provider may recommend depend a lot on the type of ablation you had. Most of these changes center on making healthy choices. There are, however, specific measures you can take to prevent chronic diseases that may lead to a need for another ablation surgery, especially venous and cardiac ablations.

Venous Ablation

A venous ablation is often used to treat varicose veins or other circulatory problems. These conditions can be prevented by controlling blood pressure and cholesterol, and maintaining a heart healthy lifestyle. Support hose and circulation support may also be helpful in preventing venous disease.

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you take the following steps:

  • Regular exercise
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Eat fiber-rich foods
  • Start a low-salt diet
  • Avoid wearing high heels or tight hose
  • Elevate your legs
  • Change your sitting and standing position regularly

Cardiac Ablation

Cardiac ablation is often done to resolve atrial fibrillation or other chronic heart conditions that cause abnormal rhythms. Good heart health can help prevent these problems. Your healthcare provider may advise you to:

  • Regular exercise
  • Reduce consumption of sodium, fats, and cholesterol
  • Maintain a healthy blood pressure
  • Regular exercise
  • Quit smoking
  • Avoid drinking alcohol
  • Start a heart-healthy diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Reduce stress
  • Limit consumption of caffeine
  • Promote good mental and emotional health to control strong emotions, like anger, that may raise your blood pressure or cause stress

Brain and Bladder Ablations

Brain and bladder ablations are done to treat cancers, and while some cancers are genetic and not preventable, others can prevented through healthy lifestyle choices. They include:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Not smoking
  • Avoiding sun exposure or using protection against the sun
  • Avoiding high-risk behaviors like unsafe sex or drug use
  • Exercising regularly
  • Avoiding environmental contaminants and chemicals that are known to increase cancer risks
  • Considering vaccinations that can help prevent cancer, like the human papillomavirus vaccine
  • Evaluating your genetic risk for certain cancers and discuss these risks with your healthcare provider
  • Making sure to get regular health screenings

There are other specific measures you can take to prevent recurrence depending on why you had an ablation done. Talk to your healthcare provider about specific prevention measures for your condition.

A Word From Verywell

Long-term care after an ablation surgery is usually straightforward and does not require any follow-up procedures. Adopting a healthy lifestyle can go a long way toward lowering your chances of needing another ablation or follow-up surgeries after an ablation procedure. Talk to your healthcare provider about specific lifestyle changes you may want to make after the type of ablation surgery you had and the factors may lead you to need additional treatment.

7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. American Cancer Society. Bladder Cancer Surgery.

  2. Johns Hopkins. MRI-Guided Laser Ablation: What you Need to Know.

  3. Johns Hopkins. Endometrial Ablation.

  4. Cleveland Clinic. Venous Disease Endovenous Thermal Ablation. (April 29, 2019.)

  5. Mayo Clinic. Cardiac Ablation. (Sept. 28, 2018.)

  6. American Heart Association. Lifestyle Strategies for Atrial Fibrillation. (n.d.)

  7. Mayo Clinic. Cancer Prevention: 7 Steps to Reduce Your Risk. (Nov. 28, 2018.)

By Rachael Zimlich, BSN, RN
Rachael is a freelance healthcare writer and critical care nurse based near Cleveland, Ohio.