Endovenous laser treatment of saphenous vein reflux: long-term results

J Vasc Interv Radiol. 2003 Aug;14(8):991-6. doi: 10.1097/01.rvi.0000082864.05622.e4.


Purpose: To report long-term follow-up results of endovenous laser treatment for great saphenous vein (GSV) reflux caused by saphenofemoral junction (SFJ) incompetence.

Materials and methods: Four hundred ninety-nine GSVs in 423 subjects with varicose veins were treated over a 3-year period with 810-nm diode laser energy delivered percutaneously into the GSV via a 600- micro m fiber. Tumescent anesthesia (100-200 mL of 0.2% lidocaine) was delivered perivenously under ultrasound (US) guidance. Patients were evaluated clinically and with duplex US at 1 week, 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, 1 year, and yearly thereafter to assess treatment efficacy and adverse reactions. Compression sclerotherapy was performed in nearly all patients at follow-up for treatment of associated tributary varicose veins and secondary telangiectasia.

Results: Successful occlusion of the GSV, defined as absence of flow on color Doppler imaging, was noted in 490 of 499 GSVs (98.2%) after initial treatment. One hundred thirteen of 121 limbs (93.4%) followed for 2 years have remained closed, with the treated portions of the GSVs not visible on duplex imaging. Of note, all recurrences have occurred before 9 months, with the majority noted before 3 months. Bruising was noted in 24% of patients and tightness along the course of the treated vein was present in 90% of limbs. There have been no skin burns, paresthesias, or cases of deep vein thrombosis.

Conclusions: Long-term results available in 499 limbs treated with endovenous laser demonstrate a recurrence rate of less than 7% at 2-year follow-up. These results are comparable or superior to those reported for the other options available for treatment of GSV reflux, including surgery, US-guided sclerotherapy, and radiofrequency ablation. Endovenous laser appears to offer these benefits with lower rates of complication and avoidance of general anesthesia.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Recurrence
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery*
  • Time Factors
  • Ultrasonography
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Varicose Veins / surgery*
  • Venous Insufficiency / surgery*