Comparing endovenous laser ablation, foam sclerotherapy, and conventional surgery for great saphenous varicose veins

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Many case series have been published on treatments of varicose veins, but comparative randomized controlled trials remain sparse.


To compare the anatomic success rate, frequency of major complications, and quality-of-life improvement of endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy (UGFS), and conventional surgery (CS), after 1-year follow-up.


A total of 240 consecutive patients with primary symptomatic great saphenous vein reflux were randomized to EVLA, UGFS, or CS, consisting of high ligation and short stripping. Primary outcome was anatomic success defined as obliteration or absence of the treated vein on ultrasound examination after 1 year. Secondary outcomes were complications, improvement of the “C” class of the CEAP classification, and improvement of disease-specific (Chronic Venous Insufficiency Quality-of-Life Questionnaire) and general (EuroQol 5) quality-of-life scores.


More than 80% of the study population was classified as C2 or C3 venous disease. After 1 year, the anatomic success rate was highest after EVLA (88.5%), followed by CS (88.2%) and UGFS (72.2%) (P < .001). The complication rate was low and comparable between treatment groups. All groups showed significant (P < .001) improvement of EuroQol 5 and Chronic Venous Insufficiency Quality-of-Life Questionnaire scores after therapy; 84.3% of all treated patients showed an improvement of the “C” of the CEAP classification.


After 1-year follow-up, EVLA is as effective as CS and superior to UGFS according to occlusion on ultrasound duplex. Quality of life improves after treatment in all groups significantly.

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