Background: Following above-knee (AK) great saphenous vein (GSV) endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) 40% to 50% patients have residual varicosities. This randomized controlled trial (RCT) assesses whether more extensive GSV ablation enhances their resolution and influences symptom improvement.
Method: Sixty-eight limbs (65 patients) with varicosities and above and below-knee GSV reflux were randomized to Group A: AK-EVLA (n = 23); Group B: EVLA mid-calf to groin (n = 23); and Group C: AK-EVLA, concomitant below-knee GSV foam sclerotherapy (n = 22). Primary outcomes were residual varicosities requiring sclerotherapy (6 weeks), improvement in Aberdeen varicose vein severity scores (AVVSS, 12 weeks), patient satisfaction, and complication rates.
Results: EVLA ablated the treated GSV in all limbs. Sclerotherapy requirements were Group A: 14/23 (61%); Group B: 4/23 (17%); and Group C: 8/22 (36%); chi2 = 9.3 (2 df) P = .01 with P(A-B) = 0.006; P(B-C) = 0.19; P(A-C) = 0.14. AVVSS scores improved in all groups as follows: A: 14.8 (9.3-22.6) to 6.4 (3.2-9.1), (P < .001); B: 15.8 (10.2-24.5) to 2.5 (1.1-3.7), (P < .001); and C: 15.1 (9.0-23.1) to 4.1 (2.3-6.8), (P < .001) and P(A-B) = 0.011, P(A -C) = 0.042. Patient satisfaction was highest in Group B. BK-EVLA was not associated with saphenous nerve injury.
Conclusions: Extended EVLA is safe, increases spontaneous resolution of varicosities, and has a greater impact on symptom reduction. Similar benefits occurred after concomitant BK-GSV foam sclerotherapy.