Introduction: For the last 10 years, endovenous thermal ablation methods have gradually predominated over the classic Babcock procedure in varicose vein treatment. Steam vein sclerosis is the newest thermal ablation technique.
Aim: To assess the efficacy and safety of steam vein sclerosis as compared to the Babcock procedure in lower extremity varicose vein treatment.
Material and methods: One hundred and two adult subjects with varicose veins of clinical grade C2 to C6 according to the CEAP classification, treated with varicose vein surgery between 2010 and 2012, were enrolled in the study. These were subdivided into two groups: the study group of 52 patients treated with endovenous steam vein sclerosis and the control group of 50 patients treated with the Babcock procedure. A single lower extremity with isolated great or small saphenous vein insufficiency was operated on in each subject. The groups were compared for demography, disease severity, involved veins, potential perioperative and postoperative complications, as well as treatment efficacy based on the VCSS score reduction.
Results: There were no statistically significant differences between the groups in terms of demography, disease severity, involved veins, or perioperative and postoperative complications. The treatment efficacy of both methods, assessed based on the recurrence rate and the quantitative VCSS score reduction, was similar. Clinically significant recanalisation was observed in 1 (1.9%) patient in the study group.
Conclusions: The efficacy and safety analysis shows that steam vein sclerosis is a safe, simple method which can be recommended as effective varicose vein treatment.
Keywords: chronic venous insufficiency; endovenous; percutaneous ablation; steam; varicose veins.