Endoscopic versus open subfascial division of incompetent perforating veins in the treatment of venous leg ulceration: long-term follow-up

J E Sybrandy, W B van Gent, E G Pierik, C H Wittens
Journal of Vascular Surgery 2001, 33 (5): 1028-32

PURPOSE: Subfascial division of incompetent perforating veins seems to be a successful treatment for patients with venous leg ulceration (CEAP 6). For postoperative wound complications, endoscopic techniques are more common than open subfascial division of incompetent perforating veins (Linton procedure). We investigated the long-term results of ulcer healing and recurrence rates and compared them with preoperative and postoperative duplex findings.

METHODS: Patients with venous ulceration on the medial side of the lower leg were randomly allocated to endoscopic exploration or open exploration by means of the modified Linton approach. Ulcer healing and recurrence rates were documented.

RESULTS: Thirty-nine patients were randomly allocated to exploration, 19 patients to open subfascial division of incompetent perforating veins (Linton group), and 20 patients to subfascial endoscopic division of incompetent perforating veins (SEPS group). During the follow-up period, four patients in the SEPS group died, all of causes other than the venous leg ulcer. Because of a squamous cell carcinoma that had developed in the venous ulcer, one patient in the SEPS group underwent a below-knee amputation. In a mean follow-up period of 50.6 months, the venous ulceration of all 18 patients in the Linton group who were available for follow-up initially healed. The recurrence rate in this group was 22% (4 patients). In the SEPS group, the mean follow-up period for 19 patients was 46.1 months, with the ulceration healing in 17 patients and a recurrence rate of 12% (2 patients). The presence of deep venous incompetence (DVI) did not influence the recurrence rates (P =.044, Fisher exact test), but it significantly influenced the development of new incompetent perforating veins (3 of 10 without DVI; 7 of 10 with DVI; P =.011, binomial test).

CONCLUSION: The long-term follow-up results of the endoscopic division of perforating veins are comparable with those of the open division of perforating veins (modified Linton procedure).

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