Sapheno-femoral junction reflux in patients with a normal saphenous trunk

Nicolas Labropoulos*, L. Leon, C. A. Engelhorn, S. I. Amaral, H. Rodriguez, S. S. Kang, A. M. Mansour, F. N. Littooy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Objective. To determine the patterns and clinical importance of saphenofemoral junction (SFJ) reflux in patients with chronic venous disease (CVD) and a normal great saphenous vein (GSV) trunk. Methods. Fifteen hundred consecutive patients were examined using duplex ultrasound (DU) in three centres. Patients with reflux involving the SFJ and/or its tributaries only were included and its prevalence and patterns were studied. Patients with GSV trunk reflux or in any other veins were excluded. The SFJ diameter was categorised as normal, dilated or varicose. The results of surgery were evaluated by DU in 42 patients 1 year after the procedure. Results. SFJ area incompetence with a competent GSV trunk occurred in 8.8% of limbs. It was significantly more common in CEAP class 2, 13.6% compared to class 3, 8.2% (p=0.03), class 1, 2.7%, class 4, 4.4% and classes 5 and 6 together, 1.5% (p<0.001 for all). The SFJ had a normal diameter in 21%, dilated in 62% and varicose in 17%. Reflux was seen in 39% of limbs with a normal SFJ diameter, in 85% of those with a dilated SFJ and in all varicose SFJs. Of the 42 operated limbs, 27 had ligation and division of the SFJ and tributary phlebectomies. Fifteen had tributary phlebectomies only, leaving the SFJ intact. At one-year follow-up, SFJ area reflux was found in six limbs (14.3%), involving the SFJ alone in 1, a main tributary in 1 and 4 small tributaries. No reflux was found in the GSV trunk. All but two of the 42 patients were satisfied with the results. Conclusions. SFJ reflux with tributary involvement and sparing of the GSV trunk occurs in 8.8% of CVD patients. Such reflux is found in the entire spectrum of CVD, but it is more common in class 2. Local surgery with or without SFJ ligation has very good results at 1 year. DU scanning prior to treatment is important in all patients so that the intact GSV can be spared.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)595-599
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2004


  • Chronic venous disease
  • Competent great saphenous vein trunk
  • Duplex ultrasound
  • Saphenofemoral junction reflux

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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