Clinical outcomes and quality of life 5 years after a randomized trial of concomitant or sequential phlebectomy following endovenous laser ablation for varicose veins

Br J Surg. 2014 Aug;101(9):1093-7. doi: 10.1002/bjs.9565. Epub 2014 Jun 11.


Background: Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) is a popular treatment for superficial venous insufficiency. Debate continues regarding the optimal management of symptomatic varicose tributaries following ablation of the main saphenous trunk. This randomized trial compared the 5-year outcomes of endovenous laser therapy with ambulatory phlebectomy (EVLTAP) with concomitant ambulatory phlebectomy, and EVLA alone with sequential treatment if required following a delay of at least 6 weeks.

Methods: Patients undergoing EVLA for great saphenous vein insufficiency were randomized to receive EVLTAP or EVLA alone with sequential phlebectomy, if required. Outcomes included disease-specific quality of life (QoL) (Aberdeen Varicose Vein Questionnaire; AVVQ), requirement for secondary procedures, clinical severity (Venous Clinical Severity Score; VCSS), residual and recurrent varicose tributaries, and generic QoL. Patients were followed up for 5 years.

Results: Fifty patients were randomized equally into two parallel groups. The EVLTAP group had lower VCSS scores at 12 weeks (median 0 (i.q.r. 0-1) versus 2 (0-2); P <0·001), and lower AVVQ scores at 6 weeks (median 7·9 (i.q.r. 4·1-10·7) versus 13·5 (10·9-18·1); P < 0·001) and 12 weeks (2·0 (0·4-7·7) versus 9·6 (2·2-13·8); P = 0·015). VCSS and AVVQ scores were equivalent by 1 year, but only after 16 of 24 patients in the EVLA group, compared with one of 25 in the EVLTAP group (P < 0·001), had received a secondary intervention. From 1 to 5 years both groups had equivalent outcomes.

Conclusion: EVLA with either concomitant or sequential management of tributaries is acceptable treatment for symptomatic varicose veins, with both treatments achieving excellent results at 5 years. Concomitant treatment of varicosities is associated with optimal improvement in both clinical disease severity and QoL.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • Quality of Life
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Varicose Veins / surgery*
  • Venous Insufficiency / surgery*