Background: The aim was to clarify the role of incompetent perforators (IPs) in venous leg ulcers. This short-term report focused on safety, patient satisfaction and the fate of IPs after subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery (SEPS), or saphenous surgery alone.
Methods: Patients aged 30-78 years with an open or recently healed venous ulcer, and with an incompetent saphenous vein and IPs, were allocated randomly to saphenous surgery alone, or in combination with SEPS. A control duplex scan was performed 6-9 months after surgery, and clinical follow-up was scheduled after 1 week, 3 and 12 months. A standard questionnaire was completed at each clinical visit.
Results: Seventy-five patients were enrolled; 37 had SEPS and 38 had saphenous surgery alone. SEPS prolonged the operation by a median of 15 min (P = 0.003). Duplex imaging revealed significantly more remaining IPs in the no-SEPS group (P < 0.001). Compared with the preoperative scan, significantly more legs were free from IPs in the SEPS group compared with the no-SEPS group (21 of 36 versus 7 of 37 respectively; P < 0.001). There were no other major outcome differences between the groups.
Conclusion: There was no short-term clinical benefit from adding SEPS to saphenous surgery in patients with varicose ulcers and IPs, although SEPS reduced the number of perforators remaining after 1 year.
Copyright © 2010 British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.