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Minerva Cardioangiologica 2007 August;55(4):443-58


language: English

Radiofrequency minimally invasive endovascular treatment of lower limbs varicose veins: clinical experience and literature review

Zan S., Contessa L., Varetto G., Barra C., Conforti M., Casella F., Rispoli P.

Unit of Vascular Surgery S. Giovanni Battista Hospital University of Turin, Turin, Italy


Aim. Varicose veins of the legs are a common condition affecting 10-15% of men and 20-25% of women in the western world. This high prevalence is responsable of high medical and social costs. Most primary varices are associated with greater saphenous vein (GSV) incompetence. A new method, radiofrequency (RF) endovenous obliteration (VNUS-Closure“ procedure), recently has been described as a less invasive and cost-saving alternative to stripping for the treatment of refluxing GSV.
Methods. Twenty-four patients with varicose veins underwent endovenous obliteration of the above knee GSV by VNUS Closure“ procedure. The vein diameters were from 5 to 10 mm. The RF catheter was inserted via percutaneos puncture or through a small skin incision. All operations were performed in local, tumescent anesthesia, under ultrasound guidance. All patients were discharged 2 h after operation. Clinical and ultrasound follow-up was performed at 1 week, and at 1, 6, 12, 24 months.
Results. The complete or partial occlusion of the treated segment of the GSV has been achieved in 23 cases. In only one patient persisting patency of the GSV was immediately detected after the procedure. That was successfully treated by ultrasound guided foam sclerotherapy. All patients could resume all normal activities within 3-5 days. Every patient had reduction of varicosities, leg pain, fatigue and oedema. Adverse sequelae were minimal: 2 patients had transient thigh paresthesias. We didn’t report deep venous thrombosis or pulmonary embolism (mean follow-up 26.7 months, range 15-33 months).
Conclusion. A literature review and the authors’experience reveal that, in absence of significant complications, such as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism, there are significant advantages in the RF endovascular obliteration of the GSV. In effect, the Closure“ procedure, in selected patients, offers reduced postoperative pain, shorter sick leaves, faster return to normal activities compared with vein stripping, and it appears to be cost-saving for society. The mid-term (36 months) recurrence rates after RF obliteration seem to be similar to the results of the conventional surgical management.

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