Varicose veins are a major problem worldwide and improvement in quality of life (QoL) is the ultimate goal after treatment of this benign disease. However QoL is highly dependent on personal and social factors. This study compares high ligation and stripping (HS) and radiofrequency ablation (RFA) in terms of QoL and recurrence in Korea.
A retrospective analysis of prospectively collected data between August 2006 and October 2008 was performed for patients undergoing HS and RFA at a single institution. QoL was assessed with a questionnaire preoperatively, at 3 months postoperatively and annually thereafter. Recurrence was assessed by Duplex ultrasound annually after surgery.
A total of 272 patients completed the questionnaire at 3 months. Among these patients, 155 patients returned for their annual follow-up. There were no significant differences between HS and RFA in global QoL scores, although RFA showed less pain. However, paresthesia rates were also higher after RFA. Recurrence rates were similar between the two modalities, although technical failures were more common after RFA.
Overall QoL and recurrence rates were similar between the two modalities. The benefits of RFA do not seem to be enough to overcome the higher costs of HS in Korea.