Endovenous laser ablation of the saphenous vein for treatment of venous insufficiency and varicose veins: early results from a large single-center experience

Perkowski, P.; Ravi, R.; Gowda, R.C.N.; Olsen, D.; Ramaiah, V.; Rodriguez-Lopez, J.A.; Diethrich, E.B.

Journal of Endovascular Therapy An Official Journal of the International Society of Endovascular Specialists 11(2): 132-138


ISSN/ISBN: 1526-6028
PMID: 15056020
DOI: 10.1583/03-1126.1
Accession: 048955678

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To report early results of a single-center experience with endovenous laser ablation of the saphenous vein (ELAS). From February 2002 to January 2003, 165 eligible patients (116 women; mean age 59.1 years, range 27-90) were treated with ELAS for venous insufficiency in 203 lower limbs. All patients were symptomatic, and the majority (62%) had class 4 or higher clinical disease (CEAP classification). Eighteen (8.9%) patients had ulcers. A 940-nm diode laser was used in an office setting under local tumescent anesthesia to deliver 100 to 140 laser applications along the course of the vein. Two weeks of compression bandages and a 1-week course of ibuprofen were prescribed postoperatively. All patients underwent a duplex scan of the target vein at 2 weeks. The great (154, 76%), short 37 (18%), and accessory 12 (6%) saphenous veins were ablated, achieving a 97% clinical success rate. Postoperative complications were few (mild induration and ecchymosis) and well tolerated (no DVT or nerve injury). Of the 6 (3.0%) recanalized target veins, 4 were only partially open and successfully treated with sclerosis. Of the 18 patients with active ulceration, 15 (83%) demonstrated healing after ELAS. In a satisfaction survey of patients more than 1 year after ELAS treatment, 84% of the 31 responders claimed their symptoms had diminished to none or minimal; 97% were mostly or very satisfied with their treatment results. ELAS for symptomatic saphenous vein incompetence and varicose veins has excellent short-term subjective and objective outcomes. This technique appears to be very successful in reducing symptoms, resolving varicose veins, and healing ulcers.