Background: Saphenofemoral junction (SFJ) ligation has been a major component of surgical intervention for varicose veins; however, recurrence occurs in as many as 40%. Neovascularization with reconnection of the venous channels at the transected SFJ has been identified as the major cause of this recurrence. This randomized controlled study sought to evaluate mechanical suppression of neovascularization at the SFJ, with the use of a synthetic patch, to prevent recurrence after ligation surgery.
Methods and results: A total of 389 limbs (from 292 patients) were randomized into either control (SFJ ligation surgery) or patch (SFJ ligation with polytetrafluoroethylene patch of the transected SFJ) groups. All patients underwent clinical assessment, duplex imaging, and air plethysmography studies preoperatively and at 1, 6, 12, and 36 months postoperatively. The patch consistently halved the recurrence rate to 3 years postoperatively in all clinical subgroups. In those patched SFJs that still developed recurrence, evidence of neovascularization circumventing the polytetrafluoroethylene patch was observed by both ultrasound and histology.
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that use of a polytetrafluoroethylene patch is an effective mechanical suppressant of neovasculogenesis at the SFJ and can be safely used as a strategy to improve long-term outcome of varicose vein surgery.