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J Endovasc Ther. 2009 Aug;16(4):500-5. doi: 10.1583/09-2750.1.

Endovenous thermal ablation of superficial venous insufficiency of the lower extremity: single-center experience with 3000 limbs treated in a 7-year period.

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Arizona Heart Institute Vein Center, Phoenix, Arizona, USA.



To demonstrate that endovenous thermal ablation is not only effective and safe but also a durable treatment in patients with symptomatic varicose veins.


From February 2002 to February 2009, 2354 patients (1836 women; mean age 53 years, range 15-95) with symptomatic varicose veins in 3000 limbs underwent endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) or radiofrequency ablation (RFA). The majority of treated vessels were the great saphenous veins (GSV; 2619, 87.3%); 269 (8.9%) small saphenous veins (SSV) and 112 (3.8%) accessory saphenous veins (ASV) were also treated, all in outpatient procedures under local intra-compartmental anesthesia. An ultrasound evaluation was performed within 2 weeks of the procedure to evaluate vein occlusion, vein wall thickness, and clot extension into the deep vein. In a long-term evaluation involving the first 165 patients treated from February 2002 to January of 2003, 105 (64%) patients [126 (67%) of the 188 eligible limbs] were followed annually with clinical evaluation, duplex ultrasound, and symptom/satisfaction assessment over a mean 6.7 years.


Treatment of 3000 limbs involved the use of EVLA in 2841 (2460 GSVs, 269 SSVs, and 112 ASVs) and RFA in 159 GSVs. Post-procedure duplex ultrasound found 57 (2.0%) veins recanalized or incompletely occluded [51 (2%) treated with EVLA and 6 (3.7%) with RFA] in patients treated for GSV or ASV incompetence. In the 269 SSVs treated (all with EVLA), 18 (6.7%) limbs demonstrated incomplete occlusion. Overall, both EVLA and RFA procedures were well tolerated, with minimal complications. In the longitudinal assessment of the 105 patients (126 limbs) participating in annual follow-up for a mean 6.7 years, the overall rate of satisfaction, symptom relief, and absence of varicosities was 86%.


Endovenous ablation of saphenous vein has proven to be an effective, safe, and very durable procedure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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