Randomised comparison of costs and cost-effectiveness of cryostripping and endovenous laser ablation for varicose veins: 2-year results

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2009 Mar;37(3):357-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2008.11.013. Epub 2008 Dec 25.


Background: Although endovenous laser ablation for varicose veins is replacing surgical stripping, proper economic evaluation with adequate follow-up in a randomised clinical trial is important for considered policy decisions regarding the implementation of new techniques.

Methods: Data from a randomised controlled trial comparing cryostripping and endovenous laser ablation in 120 patients were combined to study Short Form (SF) 6D outcome, costs and cost-effectiveness 2 years after treatment. Incremental cost per quality-adjusted life year (QALY) gained 2 years after treatment was calculated using different strategies, and uncertainty was assessed with bootstrapping.

Results: Over the total study period, mean SF-6D scores improved slightly from 0.78 at baseline to 0.80 at 2 years for patients who underwent cryostripping and from 0.77 to 0.79 for patients who underwent endovenous laser. QALY (SF-6D) was 1.59 in patients who underwent cryostripping and 1.60 in patients who underwent endovenous laser 2 years after treatment. The costs of cryostripping and endovenous laser per patient were euro 2651 and euro 2783, respectively. Bootstrapping indicated that cryostripping was associated with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of euro 32 per QALY gained. With regard to different strategies, outpatient cryostripping was less costly and more effective 2 years after treatment.

Conclusion: In this study, in terms of costs per QALY gained, outpatient cryostripping appeared to be the dominant strategy, but endovenous laser yielded comparable outcomes for a relatively little additional cost.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Cryosurgery / economics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / economics*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Varicose Veins / economics*
  • Varicose Veins / surgery*
  • Young Adult