Author(s): Mundy L, Merlin TL, Fitridge RA, Hiller JE
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The safety and effectiveness of endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) for varicose veins are not yet fully evaluated. METHODS: Medical bibliographic databases, the internet and reference lists were searched from January 1966 to September 2004. Only case series were available for inclusion in the review. RESULTS: : Thirteen studies met the inclusion criteria. Self-limiting features, such as pain, ecchymosis, induration and phlebitis, were commonly encountered after treatment. Deep vein thrombosis and incorrect placement of the laser in vessels were uncommon adverse events. No study has yet assessed the effectiveness of laser therapy in comparison to saphenofemoral junction ligation with saphenous vein stripping. Occlusion of the saphenous vein and abolition of venous reflux occurred in 87.9-100 per cent of limbs, with low rates of re-treatment and recanalization. CONCLUSION: From the low-level evidence available it seems that EVLT benefits most patients in the short term, but rates of recanalization, re-treatment, occlusion and reflux may alter with longer follow-up. The lack of such data, in addition to the small numbers of patients in the available studies, demonstrates the need for a randomized clinical trial of EVLT versus conventional surgery.
This article was published in Br J Surg
and referenced in Anatomy & Physiology: Current Research