Varicose vein surgery and endovenous laser therapy.Surg Technol Int. 2007; 16:167-74.ST
Varicose veins are a widespread problem, and are encountered by various medical specialists. Symptoms can appear from mild, such as tiredness of the legs, to severe chronic ulcers. Varicose veins are generally caused by the reflux of an incompetent saphenofemoral junction and long saphenous vein. In the presence of reflux, the treatment should be directed at the ablation of the hydrostatic forces of the reflux. Conventional surgical treatment consists of a high ligation of the saphenofemoral junction and stripping of the saphenous vein. In the era of minimally invasive surgery, various endovenous techniques have been developed, including endovenous laser therapy. This technique is relatively cheap and can be performed under only local anesthesia. During endovenous laser therapy, energy is delivered to the vein wall, causing it to shrink and eventually occlude. Currently, the mechanisms of action involved in laser treatment are not fully understood. Clinical studies have shown occlusion rates to be very competitive to conventional high ligation and stripping and superior cosmetics. Complications may include mild to moderate pain, ecchymosis, induration, hematoma, and phlebitis. All of these are generally self-limiting. In the challenge of finding the correct balance between a low incidence of varicose vein recurrence and complications and optimal cosmetic results, endovenous laser therapy is a promising modality. However, controlled studies that assess the effectiveness of endovenous laser therapy in comparison to saphenofemoral ligation with saphenous vein stripping are crucial before considering endovenous laser therapy as the new standard treatment.