Patients with healed venous ulcers often experience recurrence of ulceration, despite the use of long-term compression therapy. This study examines the effect of closing incompetent perforating veins (IPVs) on ulcer recurrence rates in patients with progressive lipodermatosclerosis and impending ulceration.Methods
Patients with nonhealing venous ulcers of >2 months’ duration underwent duplex ultrasound to assess their lower extremity venous system for incompetence of superficial, perforating, and deep veins. Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) of perforating veins was performed on patients with CEAP 6 disease with increasing hyperpigmentation, lipodermatosclerosis, and/or progressive malleolar pain. A minimum of 2 months of compressive therapy was attempted before endovenous ablation of IPVs. Demographic data, risk factors, CEAP classification, procedural details, and postoperative status were all recorded.Results
Forty ulcers with 46 associated IPVs were treated with EVLA in 36 patients with CEAP 6 recalcitrant venous ulcers. Treated incompetent perforator veins were located in the medial ankle (85.7%), calf (10.7%), and lateral ankle (3.5%). Endovenous laser ablation was successful in 76% (35/46) with the first laser treatment of incompetent perforator veins and 15.2% (7/46) additional ablation procedures were performed. Of the 46 treated IPVs, 42 (91.3%) were occluded on the duplex examination at 12 months. The average energy administrated per perforating vein treated was 162 joule. Two patients reported localized paresthesia, which subsided spontaneously, but no deep venous thrombosis or skin burn was observed.Conclusion
Especially in the case of liposclerotic or ulcerated skin in the affected region, PAP of IPVs is highly effective, safe, and appears to be feasible. Patients with active venous ulcers appear to benefit from EVLA of incompetent perforators in order to reduce the risk of ulcer recurrence.