Randomized clinical trial comparing multiple stab incision phlebectomy and transilluminated powered phlebectomy for varicose veins

Br J Surg. 2006 Feb;93(2):169-74. doi: 10.1002/bjs.5261.


Background: The aim was to compare early postoperative subjective outcome measures in a randomized trial of multiple stab incision phlebectomy (MSIP) and transilluminated powered phlebectomy (TIPP) for the treatment of varicose veins.

Methods: Patients having surgery for varicose veins were randomized to receive either MSIP or TIPP for local avulsion of varicose veins. Operating time, number of incisions and postoperative outcome were analysed in both groups. Quality of life (QoL) was analysed before and 1 and 6 weeks after surgery using domain-specific (Burford pain scale), disease-specific (Aberdeen Varicose Vein Questionnaire) and generic (Short Form 36 and EuroQol 5D) instruments.

Results: Sixty-six patients consented to participate in the trial but four withdrew before surgery, so 33 patients underwent MSIP and 29 patients had TIPP. All patients had symptomatic or complicated varicose veins. There was no significant difference between groups in the total duration of surgery or the time taken for the avulsions. The number of incisions was significantly lower with TIPP. However, skin bruising at 1 and 6 weeks, and Burford pain score at 6 weeks were significantly higher in the TIPP group (P < 0.01 for bruising and P = 0.019 for pain). TIPP also had a greater adverse impact on generic QoL, resulting in a more prolonged recovery.

Conclusion: TIPP had the advantage of fewer surgical incisions, but was associated with more extensive bruising, prolonged pain and reduced early postoperative QoL.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Varicose Veins / surgery*
  • Vascular Surgical Procedures / methods*