Background: The aim of this randomized single-centre trial was to compare the 2-year results of endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and cryostripping for varicose veins.
Methods: A total of 120 patients with uncomplicated great saphenous varicose veins were randomized equally to one of the two treatments. Principal outcomes measures were: freedom from recurrent varicose veins on duplex imaging, and improvement in Venous Clinical Severity Score (VCSS) and Aberdeen Varicose Vein Severity Score (AVVSS) 6, 12 and 24 months after treatment.
Results: Life-table analysis showed overall freedom from recurrent incompetence at 2 years in 77 (95 per cent confidence interval (c.i.) 72 to 78) per cent of patients after EVLA and in 66 (95 per cent c.i. 60 to 67) per cent after cryostripping (P = 0.253). VCSS and AVVSS values improved significantly after treatment, but the differences between the treatments were not significant. EVLA provided significantly more favourable results than cryostripping with respect to duration of operation, postprocedural pain, induration and resumption of normal activity.
Conclusion: EVLA and cryostripping were similarly effective in patients with varicose veins, but patients favoured EVLA because of less pain and postoperative morbidity, and quicker return to normal activity.
Registration number: ISRCTN33832691 (http://www.controlled-trials.com).