Objectives: to compare Transilluminated Powered Phlebectomy (TIPP) (TriVex System) with Muller's hook phlebectomy.
Materials and methods: between January and April 2001, 40 patients (group 1) undergoing TIPP were non-randomly compared to 40 patients undergoing Muller's hook phlebectomy (group 2) in the course of conventional vein stripping and perforator ligation. All patients had at least C2 CEAP disease.
Results: hospital stay averaged 2 days (range 1-3 days; median 2 days) and was similar for the two groups. TIPP took significantly longer (56+/-12 vs 45+/-10 min, p<0.001) but was associated with significantly fewer incisions (6 [2-8] vs 8 [4-21], p<0.001). The mean pain score (out of 10) at 2 and 7 days and 6 weeks was 5, 2 and zero after TIPP and 4, 2 and zero after hook phlebectomy. The incidence of postoperative haematoma formation was significantly higher after TIPP (45 vs 25%, p=0.06), especially in the calf region (25 vs 2.5%,p =0.003).
Conclusion: TIPP was slower (although speed increased with practice) associated with more haematoma (although this reduced with practice) and fewer incisions. In other respects (pain, cosmetic satisfaction, other complications, residual varices) it was not significantly different from hook phlebectomy. Greater clinical experience with the technique and randomized studies are required to determine whether TIPP is a valuable addition to our armamentarium.