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Is total abolishment of great saphenous reflux in the invasive treatment of superficial chronic venous insufficiency always necessary?

Chronic venous insufficiency ranges from mild telangiectasias to skin ulceration with poor prognosis regarding healing and quality of life. Varicose veins are the most frequent clinical presentation, affecting 75% of such patients and 71% are due to primary reflux of great saphenous vein, which is the most compromised vein in chronic venous insufficiency. However, about 75% of these veins are not dilated. The standard treatment has been stripping of the saphenous vein, because it has 85% of good results at long term. However, saphenous vein is the main arterial substitute and should be spared whenever possible. The development of non-invasive diagnostic methods showed that hemodynamic worsening correlates with clinical severity and that the majority of patients did not have a dilated saphenous vein. Thus, several selective operations proposed to spare the saphenous vein have reported good results. Minimally invasive techniques (eco-guided foam, radiofrequency and laser) have also emerged aiming to obliterate the vein and abolishing reflux and have also reported good results, but they do not spare the vessel. Measurement of saphenous diameter has been shown to correlate with clinical and hemodynamic worsening, thus allowing planning the invasive treatment of chronic venous insufficiency. Dilated diameters (>7.2 mm) correlate with severe disease and poor prognosis, being an indication for total abolishment of saphenous vein reflux. All other presentations must be individualized, sparing saphenous vein whenever possible and and a standardized approach is not indicated for all patients.

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