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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2013 Sep;46(3):378-82. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2013.06.004. Epub 2013 Jul 6.

Steam ablation versus radiofrequency and laser ablation: an in vivo histological comparative trial.

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Department of cardiovascular Sciences, KU Leuven, Belgium.



There is an increasing use of minimal invasive techniques to treat saphenous vein reflux. Among these radiofrequency ablation (RFA), endovenous laser ablation (EVLA), and foam sclerotherapy are frequently used. A new method of thermal ablation is the steam vein sclerosing (SVS) system. This study evaluates the histological changes after ablation of the saphenous veins in goats with RFA, EVLA, and SVS.


Twelve saphenous veins in six goats were treated with one of the three treatment modalities: four veins with RFA, four with EVLA, four with SVS. Seven days after treatment occlusion and diameter changes were evaluated by ultrasound imaging and histological changes were examined microscopically.


Vein length, mean diameter, and the amount of tumescence was comparable between the three groups. Histological examination showed extensive vein wall destruction, the least in the outer layer of the vein wall. The total vein wall damage was 9.2/15 (SD 3.5) for EVLA, 13.3/15 (SD 3.3) for RFA, and 11.2/15 (SD 2.8) for SVS group. There was no significant difference among the three groups. Perivenous tissue damage was low. No extrafascial damage was seen.


Histological findings after steam ablation are similar to the RFA and EVLA with a low perivenous tissue destruction score and a high vein wall destruction score.


Endovenous ablation; Histological study; Steam; Varicose veins

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