Randomised trial of pre-operative colour duplex marking in primary varicose vein surgery: outcome is not improved

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2002 Apr;23(4):336-43. doi: 10.1053/ejvs.2002.1607.


Objective: the ability of colour duplex to accurately locate incompetent venous sites has been widely published; its value in pre-operative marking in simple primary varicose vein surgery is evaluated in this study.

Design of study: prospective randomised controlled trial.

Setting: regional vascular service, hospital patients.

Subjects: consecutive patients (149) undergoing primary varicose vein surgery where the only difference was one group of patients received duplex marking prior to surgery. Six weeks and 12 months post-operatively all patients had a colour duplex scan to determine the accuracy of surgery and the presence of residual/recurrent varicose veins and completed the Aberdeen, SF-36, and EuroQol quality of life questionnaires.

Interventions: varicose vein surgery.

Main outcome measures: Duplex evidence of venous incompetence, quality of life measures using the SF-36 and Aberdeen Varicose Veins Questionnaire.

Results: pre-operative marking of primary varicose veins by skilled duplex ultrasonography does not improve the accuracy or recurrence rate following surgery. Quality of life improved significantly following surgery in both groups, however there was no difference in this improvement between the groups.

Conclusion: the trial has not demonstrated any additional benefit of pre-operative colour duplex marking over that of clinical and hand held Doppler marking in terms of satisfactory varicose vein surgery performance at 6 weeks or 12 months in patients with primary varicose veins of the long saphenous system. It role in the short saphenous system is less clear.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life
  • Recurrence
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color*
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging*
  • Varicose Veins / surgery