Great saphenous vein stripping with preservation of sapheno-femoral confluence: Hemodynamic and clinical results

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Radiofrequency and laser vein treatment, which entail preservation of the saphenous confluence, have called into question the dogma of ligation of all tributaries at the sapheno-femoral confluence (SFC), so called “crossectomy”. Nevertheless, crossectomy is still done when saphenous vein stripping is chosen for varicose vein treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate results after stripping procedures in which the SFC was preserved.


This was a retrospective cohort study for which limbs treated for varicose veins by surgical stripping of the great saphenous vein and preservation of the SFC were studied. All limbs had a preoperative duplex examination and showed SFC and truncal incompetence of the great saphenous vein. Periodic postoperative standing duplex ultrasound and clinical examinations were carried out, and results were recorded and analyzed retrospectively.


A total of 195 lower limbs were operated on in 151 patients (128 women and 25 men) aged from 22 to 88 years (mean age 56.8). The preoperative diameter of the SFC ranged from 4.7 to 17 mm (mean 9.5 mm). The preoperative CEAP class distribution was C1 1.5%, C2 82.1%, C3 6.7%, and C4-C6 9.7%. Preoperative symptoms were present in 61.8% of cases. Postoperative thrombosis of the SFC was observed in one case with an extension to the deep femoral vein and pulmonary embolization at 1 month. Recovery was complete. At a mean of 24.4 months postoperatively (median 27.3 months, range 8 to 34.8), persistent SFC reflux was observed in only two cases (1.8%) and a SFC neovascularization in one case (0.9%). Recurrence of varicose veins appeared in seven cases (6.3%) but in conjunction with SFC reflux in only one case. Post treatment 83.9% of limbs were converted to CEAP clinical class 0 to 1 and significant symptom improvement was observed in 91.3% of cases with an aesthetic benefit in 95.5%.


Preservation of the SFC during saphenous stripping gave good results with regard to hemodynamics and neovascularization on the SFC, varicose vein recurrence, improvement of symptoms, and aesthetic appearance for legs with a median follow-up of 27.3 months.

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