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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2005 Jan;29(1):78-82.

The influence of superficial venous surgery and compression on incompetent calf perforators in chronic venous leg ulceration.

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Department of Vascular Surgery, Cheltenham General Hospital, GL53 7AN Gloucestershire, UK.



Previous studies have suggested that perforating vein incompetence is reduced by surgery to superficial veins. This study analysed the effect in a randomised clinical trial.


Retrospective analysis of duplex data.


Patients in this study were part of the ESCHAR randomised controlled trial. All patients had chronic venous leg ulceration with superficial venous reflux. Patients were treated with compression bandaging alone or compression plus superficial venous surgery. Legs were assessed using colour venous duplex prior to treatment and at 3 and 12 months.


Of 500 patients recruited to the ESCHAR trial, 261 were included in this study. One hundred and forty six of 261 legs were treated with compression alone and 115/261 underwent compression and superficial venous surgery. In the compression group, more legs had incompetent perforators at 12 months (77/131) compared to baseline (61/146, p =0.010, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test for paired data in 131 legs). Following surgery, significantly fewer legs had incompetent calf perforators (59/115 vs 44/104 at 12 months, p =0.001, Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test for paired data in 104 legs). In addition, significantly fewer legs in the compression and surgery group developed new perforator incompetence in comparison to the group treated with compression alone (12/104 vs 36/131, p =0.003, Chi-Squared test).


Surgical correction of superficial reflux may abolish incompetence in some calf perforators and offer protection against developing new perforator incompetence.

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