The profile of leg symptoms, clinical disability and reflux in legs with previously operated varicose disease

Scand J Surg. 2005;94(1):51-5. doi: 10.1177/145749690509400113.


Purpose: It is difficult to assess the severity and location of venous insufficiency in legs with recurrent varicose disease. This present purpose was to evaluate the distribution of reflux and the diagnostic role of current classifications in a consecutive series of legs with previously operated varicose disease.

Methods: A total of 90 legs in a cohort of 66 patients were included. The examination comprised CEAP clinical class, clinical disability score (CDS) and leg symptoms. Colour-flow duplex imaging (CFDI) was used to observe reflux in deep and superficial veins. Details of prior surgery were assessed.

Results: The site of superficial reflux was at the groin in 58% (recurrent or residive vein trunk or unoperated great saphenous vein), and the rate in the popliteal fossa was 11% (unoperated short saphenous vein). In 58% of the legs presenting superficial reflux at groin level, previous surgery at the saphenofemoral junction was noted. A sensation of pain was observed in 74% of the legs, sensation of oedema in 64%, itching in 26 %, and night cramps in 8%, respectively. Only itching was significantly infrequent in uncomplicated (CEAP C 2-3) legs, and in legs with local reflux was restricted to vein tributaries. Higher CDS (classes 2-3) were significantly more frequent among complicated legs (CEAP clinical class C2-3: 22% versus CEAP clinical class C4-6: 77%; p < 0.005). A similar situation was noted when legs with only local reflux were compared to those with more severe reflux (local reflux: 7% versus severe reflux: 48%; p < 0.005).

Conclusions: Superficial reflux is frequently detected at groin level despite prior surgery. Unstructured evaluation of leg symptoms is not beneficial. Clinical disability scores associate well with the severity of the venous disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disabled Persons
  • Edema / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply
  • Leg / diagnostic imaging
  • Leg / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Postoperative Care
  • Postoperative Complications / diagnostic imaging
  • Pruritus / etiology
  • Recurrence
  • Regional Blood Flow
  • Ultrasonography
  • Varicose Veins / complications*
  • Varicose Veins / surgery
  • Venous Insufficiency / complications
  • Venous Insufficiency / surgery