Endovenous laser ablation of the small saphenous vein sparing the saphenopopliteal junction

Bertrand Janne D'Othée, T. Gregory Walker, Sanjeeva P. Kalva, Suvranu Ganguli, Brian Davison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


To assess outcomes after endovenous laser ablation (EVLA) of the small saphenous vein (SSV). Retrospective review was performed of all consecutive EVLA procedures performed over a 39-month period at three neighboring vein practices for symptomatic, duplex ultrasound-proven incompetence of the SSV. EVLA was performed under ultrasound guidance with an 810- or 980-nm diode laser in continuous mode using the pullback method while sparing the deep, most cephalad segment of the SSV near the saphenopopliteal junction. Follow-up after EVLA included patient symptoms, physical examination, and duplex ultrasound. Pretreatment variables were similar across all three practices. EVLA was performed to treat 67 incompetent SSVs in 63 patients (86% women; mean age and 95% confidence interval, 50 ± 3 years; range, 20-82 years). Average energy delivered was 92 J/cm. Immediate technical success and occlusion of the treated vein at 1-2 weeks was 100%. Imaging follow-up length was 243 ± 65 days (range, 3-893 days). Clinical follow-up (243 ± 66 days) showed symptomatic improvement in 66 (99%) of 67 patients; one patient had recanalization with recurrent reflux by ultrasound (2%). Complications included one case of paresthesias lasting beyond 1 month of follow-up (2%) and three cases of superficial phlebitis (4%), but no deep vein thrombosis, skin burns, or other complications. Although ablation involved only the superficial portion of the SSV and spared its deep segment in the popliteal fossa, SSV occlusion typically extended up to the saphenopopliteal junction or to a gastrocnemial collateral, without popliteal vein involvement. EVLA of the SSV is safe and effective when the saphenopopliteal junction and popliteal fossa are avoided. This approach may help reduce the risk of paresthesias or other complications while maintaining low recanalization rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-771
Number of pages6
JournalCardiovascular and Interventional Radiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2010


  • Endovenous ablation
  • Endovenous thermal ablation
  • Laser
  • Saphenous veins
  • Small saphenous vein
  • Varicose vein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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