Background: Neoreflux at the sapheno-femoral junction (SFJ) is an important cause of recurrent great saphenous varicose veins. This study compares four surgical methods of ligating the SFJ with the aim to reduce the rate of neoreflux.
Method: In a prospective study, 379 patients (500 SFJ ligations) were randomised to one of four surgical procedures at the SFJ (125 groins each). In group A (control group) the SFJ was ligated in standard fashion with Vicryl (absorbable ligature); in group B, after Vicryl ligation continuous Prolene (non-absorbable) was sutured over the stump endothelium to prevent any contact with surrounding tissue; in group C. SFJ ligation was done with Ethibond (non-absorbable); in group D Ethibond ligation was followed by Prolene oversewing. The final study group included 114 patients (152 groins) who were all known to be free from recurrent groin reflux 3 months postoperatively and had colour duplex venous imaging 2 years after operation.
Results: Duplex imaging identified neoreflux at the SFJ in 10 out of 114 groins after 2 years (7%). There were differences in the rates between the four groups: Group A 3/31 (10%), Group B 0/32, Group C 5/44 (11%) and Group D 2/45 (4%). Neoreflux was significantly reduced in the two groups with endothelial closure (B and D): 2/70 (3%) versus 8/75 (11%, p<0.025).
Conclusion: Recurrent reflux in the groin was reduced by over sewing the ligated SFJ in patients having varicose vein surgery. This adds weight to the theory of neovascularisation as a cause of recurrent veins and offers a means to reduce clinical recurrence rates.