Three-year results of a randomized controlled trial comparing mechanochemical and thermal ablation in the treatment of insufficient great saphenous veins

J Vasc Surg Venous Lymphat Disord. 2021 May;9(3):652-659. doi: 10.1016/j.jvsv.2020.08.007. Epub 2020 Aug 12.


Objective: Mechanochemical ablation (MOCA) is a nonthermal nontumescent method of treating saphenous vein insufficiency. The feasibility and short-term results of MOCA are good, but its long-term results are unknown. A randomized study was performed to compare MOCA with endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in the setting of unilateral great saphenous vein (GSV) insufficiency.

Methods: Venous outpatient clinic patients with varicose veins (CEAP class C2-C4) caused by GSV insufficiency were invited to participate in the study; in total, 132 patients met the inclusion criteria and were willing to participate. Patients were randomized to treatment (2:1:1 for MOCA, EVLA, and RFA, respectively). The state of the GSV with duplex Doppler ultrasound examination and the disease-specific quality of life were assessed at 1 month, 1 year, and 3 years after the treatment.

Results: Some patients declined to continue in the study after randomization; in total, 117 patients underwent treatment. At 3 years, the occlusion rate was significantly lower with MOCA than with either EVLA or RFA (82% vs 100%; P = .005). Quality of life was similar between the groups. In the MOCA group, GSVs that were larger than 7 mm in diameter preoperatively were more likely to recanalize during the follow-up period. The partial recanalizations of proximal GSV observed at 1 year progressed during the follow-up.

Conclusions: MOCA is a feasible treatment option in an outpatient setting, but its technical success rates are inferior compared with endovenous thermal ablation. Its use in large-caliber veins should be considered carefully.

Trial registration: NCT03722134.

Keywords: Laser ablation; Radiofrequency ablation; Randomized controlled trial; Varicose veins; Venous insufficiency.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • Ambulatory Surgical Procedures
  • Catheter Ablation* / adverse effects
  • Endovascular Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Finland
  • Humans
  • Laser Therapy* / adverse effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Saphenous Vein / diagnostic imaging
  • Saphenous Vein / physiopathology
  • Saphenous Vein / surgery*
  • Sclerosing Solutions / administration & dosage
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate / administration & dosage
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Duplex
  • Venous Insufficiency / diagnostic imaging
  • Venous Insufficiency / physiopathology
  • Venous Insufficiency / surgery*
  • Young Adult


  • Sclerosing Solutions
  • Sodium Tetradecyl Sulfate

Associated data