Background: Endovenous ablation techniques and ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS) have largely replaced open surgery for treatment of great saphenous varicose veins. This was a randomized trial to compare the effect of surgery, endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) (with phlebectomies) and UGFS on quality of life and the occlusion rate of the great saphenous vein (GSV) 12 months after surgery.
Methods: Patients with symptomatic, uncomplicated varicose veins (CEAP class C2-C4) were examined at baseline, 1 month and 1 year. Before discharge and at 1 week, patients reported a pain score on a visual analogue scale. Preoperative and 1-year assessments included duplex ultrasound imaging and the Aberdeen Varicose Vein Severity Score (AVVSS).
Results: The study included 214 patients: 65 had surgery, 73 had EVLA and 76 had UGFS. At 1 year, the GSV was occluded or absent in 59 (97 per cent) of 61 patients after surgery, 71 (97 per cent) of 73 after EVLA and 37 (51 per cent) of 72 after UGFS (P < 0·001). The AVVSS improved significantly in comparison with preoperative values in all groups, with no significant differences between them. Perioperative pain was significantly reduced and sick leave shorter after UGFS (mean 1 day) than after EVLA (8 days) and surgery (12 days).
Conclusion: In comparison with open surgery and EVLA, UGFS resulted in equivalent improvement in quality of life but significantly higher residual GSV reflux at 12-month follow-up.
© 2016 The Authors. BJS published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of BJS Society Ltd.