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Br J Surg. 2007 Jun;94(6):722-5.

Fate and clinical significance of saphenofemoral junction tributaries following endovenous laser ablation of great saphenous vein.

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Leeds Vascular Institute, General Infirmary at Leeds, Great George Street, Leeds LS1 3EX, UK.



Unlike surgery, endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) abolishes great saphenous vein (GSV) reflux but does not specifically interrupt the GSV tributaries at the groin. The fate and clinical significance of these tributaries were assessed in a prospective study.


Eight-one legs (70 patients) underwent colour flow duplex ultrasonography 12 months after GSV ablation for primary varicose veins. Saphenofemoral junction (SFJ) reflux, tributary patency, and recurrent or residual varicosities were recorded, and Aberdeen Varicose Vein Severity Scores (AVVSS) were compared with pretreatment values.


The GSV had recanalized without evidence of reflux in two patients. None of the 81 legs showed SFJ reflux although one or more patent tributaries were visible in 48 (59 per cent); all were competent. In 32 legs (40 per cent) there was flush GSV occlusion with the SFJ and no tributaries were detectable. One leg showed evidence of neovascularization in the groin. AVVSS values were similar in groups with or without visible tributaries, both before and after EVLA: median (interquartile range) 13.9 (7.6-19.2) before EVLA and 2.9 (0.6-4.8) at follow-up in patients with visible tributaries, and 14.9 (9.2-20.2) and 3.1 (0.8-5.1) respectively in those without. Recurrent varicosities were present in one leg only, due to an incompetent mid-thigh perforating vein.


Persistent non-refluxing GSV tributaries at the SFJ did not appear to have an adverse impact on clinical outcome 1 year after successful EVLA of the GSV.

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