Objectives The exact role of perforating vein surgery is still unclear. The aim of this study is to analyze the influence of perforating vein surgery in patients with venous ulceration. Methods This study was part of a randomized controlled trial in which conservative and surgical treatment of venous ulceration was compared. It is a secondary analysis of prospectively gathered data. Ninety-seven active leg ulcers were surgically treated with a subfascial endoscopic perforating vein surgery (SEPS) procedure. Concomitant superficial venous incompetence was treated with flush saphenopopliteal ligation and/or saphenofemoral ligation and limited stripping of the great saphenous vein. All patients were also treated with ambulatory compression therapy. Ulcer healing and recurrences are described in detail. To measure the completeness of the SEPS procedure duplex ultrasonography was performed on each patient before and 6 weeks and 12 months after surgery. Also newly formed perforators after surgery were scored and their influence was analyzed. Results Analyses were performed on 94 ulcerated legs with a mean follow-up of 29 months. In all treated legs, only 45% all perforators were treated. In 55% one (29%) or more (26%) perforators were missed. Healing was not significantly influenced by the number of remaining incompetent perforating veins, but recurrence was significantly higher in patients who had incomplete SEPS procedure (p=0.007 log-rank). New incompetent perforating veins did not affect ulcer healing or recurrence. The plotted location of new perforators did not show a pattern. Deep vein incompetence and treatment of superficial venous incompetence had no significant influence on healing or recurrence rates in a complete or incomplete SEPS procedure. Conclusion In this series a well-performed SEPS procedure lowers the venous ulcer recurrence rate significantly, indicating the clinical importance of incompetent perforating veins in patients with an active venous ulcer.
- Chronic venous disease
- incompetent perforators
- leg ulcers
- subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery