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J Vasc Surg. 2008 Jan;47(1):151-156. doi: 10.1016/j.jvs.2007.08.056.

Treatment of the incompetent great saphenous vein by endovenous radiofrequency powered segmental thermal ablation: first clinical experience.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany. Thomas.Proebstle@web.de



Radiofrequency ablation of saphenous veins has proven efficacy with an excellent side effect profile but has the disadvantage of a lengthy pullback procedure. This article reports a new endovenous catheter for radiofrequency-powered segmental thermal ablation (RSTA) of incompetent great saphenous veins (GSVs).


A prospective, nonrandomized, multicenter study was conducted to evaluate the safety, feasibility, and early clinical outcomes of RSTA of the GSV.


A total of 194 patients with 252 GSVs with an average diameter of 5.7 +/- 2.2 mm (range, 2.0 to 18.0 mm) received RSTA under tumescent local anesthesia. In 58 patients (29.9%), bilateral treatment (average length treated, 36.7 +/- 10.8 cm) was done. The average total endovenous procedure time was 16.4 +/- 8.2 minutes, and the average total energy delivery time was 2.2 +/- 0.6 minutes. The corresponding endovenous fluence equivalent delivered to the proximal 7-cm vein segment was 82 +/- 25 J/cm(2) (range, 38 to 192). Follow-up at 3 days, 3 months, and 6 months was obtained from 250, 164, and 62 limbs, respectively. Occlusion rates were 99.6% for all three follow-up dates according to life-table analysis. The average Venous Clinical Severity Score was 3.4 +/- 1.2 at 3 days, 0.9 +/- 1.6 at 3 months, and 1.5 +/- 1.8 at 6 months compared with 3.9 +/- 2.0 at baseline.


Radiofrequency segmental thermal ablation is feasible, safe, and well tolerated.

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