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Phlebology. 2009;24 Suppl 1:50-61. doi: 10.1258/phleb.2009.09s006.

Endovenous laser treatment for uncomplicated varicose veins.

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  • 1Leeds Vascular Institute, The General Infirmary at Leeds, Leeds, UK.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) of incompetent truncal veins has been proposed as a minimally invasive alternative to conventional surgery for varicose veins. Various strategies have been proposed for successful treatment and this study reviews the evidence for these.

METHOD:

A Medline and 'controlled trials online database' search was performed to identify original articles and randomized controlled trials (RCTs) reporting outcomes for EVLA. Information on patient selection, equipment, technique and outcomes were recorded.

RESULTS:

Ninety-eight original studies, including five RCTs, were identified. RCT data indicate short-term outcomes (abolition of reflux, improvement in quality of life [QOL], patient satisfaction) were equivalent to those for surgery. Long-term follow-up is not available. A further RCT showed superior outcomes for ablation commencing at the lowest point of superficial venous reflux rather than at an arbitrary point (fewer residual varicosities, greater improvement in QOL). Non-randomized series suggest that laser energy of >60 J/cm results in reliable truncal vein occlusion and that longer wavelength lasers may be associated with less post-treatment discomfort.

CONCLUSION:

In the short-term EVLA is a safe and effective treatment for patients with varicose veins. Long-term follow-up is still required.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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