Objective: This study explores the added effect of extended saphenofemoral junction (SFJ) ligation when the greater saphenous vein (GSV) has been eliminated from participating in thigh reflux by means of endovenous obliteration. GSV obliteration, unlike surgical stripping, can be done with or without SFJ ligation to isolate and study SFJ ligation's specific contribution to treatment results.
Methods: Sixty limbs treated with SFJ ligation and 120 limbs treated without high ligation were selected from an ongoing, multicenter, endovenous obliteration trial on the basis of their having primary varicose veins, GSV reflux, and early treatment dates.
Results: Five (8%) high-ligation limbs and seven (6%) limbs without high ligation with patent veins at 6 weeks or less were excluded as unsuccessful obliterations. Treatment significantly reduced symptoms and CEAP clinical class in both groups (P =.0001). Recurrent reflux developed in one (2%) of 49 high-ligation limbs and eight (8%) of 97 limbs without high ligation by 6 months (P =.273). New instances of reflux did not appear thereafter in 57 limbs followed to 12 months. Recurrent varicose veins occurred in three high-ligation limbs and four limbs without high ligation by 6 months and in one additional high-ligation limb and two additional limbs without high ligation by 12 months. Actuarial recurrence curves were not statistically different with or without SFJ ligation (P >.156), predicting greater than 90% freedom from recurrent reflux and varicosities at 1 year for both groups.
Conclusion: These early results suggest that extended SFJ ligation may add little to effective GSV obliteration, but our findings are not sufficiently robust to warrant abandonment of SFJ ligation as currently practiced in the management of primary varicose veins associated with GSV vein reflux.