Background: Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and radiofrequency-powered segmental ablation (RPSA) of the incompetent great saphenous vein (GSV) are both known for their excellent technical and clinical outcomes for the treatment of varicose veins. RPSA has reduced postprocedural pain and morbidity with shorter recovery time for the patient compared with EVLA using bare-tip fibers. However, new-generation EVLA devices with less traumatic radial-tip fibers (RTFs) operating at longer wavelengths up to 1470 nm also reduce postprocedural pain. The objective of this study was to compare long-term effectiveness of GSV thermal ablation and postprocedural recovery using RPSA or 1470-nm EVLA with RTF (EVLA-RTF).
Methods: In a comparative prospective monthly altering-treatment cohort study of 311 patients (346 treated legs), each leg with incompetence of the GSV was treated with either RPSA (158 patients, 175 legs) or EVLA-RTF (153 patients, 171 legs). The primary outcome was anatomic occlusion of the GSV, assessed at 12, 24, 36, 48, and 60 months using Kaplan-Meier statistics and compared using the log-rank test. Secondary outcomes included freedom of varicose vein recurrence, clinical success measured by Venous Clinical Severity Score (VCSS), disease-specific quality of life determined using the Aberdeen Varicose Vein Questionnaire (AVVQ), postoperative pain scores, and time to return to work.
Results: The total primary obliteration rate after 36 and 60 months was 96.2% with RPSA and 96.7% with EVLA-RTF (P = .81). Freedom of symptomatic anterior accessory vein recurrence after 5 years was 85% after RPSA and 87% after EVLA-RTF (P = .50). VCSS and AVVQ score presented similar and durable improvements in both groups between 6 weeks and 60 months. There was no difference in postoperative pain scores after both treatments during the first 14 days (mean visual analog scale score, 0.54-2.19). The median time for return to work was 1 day after both treatments. No severe adverse events were observed.
Conclusions: RPSA and EVLA-RTF have similarly high GSV obliteration rates in the long term, and the treatments are equally effective clinically. Both treatments are associated with similar minimal postprocedural pain scores and short recovery times.
Copyright © 2017 Society for Vascular Surgery. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.