AIM: To assess the current role of thermal ablation in the treatment of saphenous reflux in comparison to more conventional methods.
METHOD: Some pertinent publications are presented as well as the author's experience with thermal ablation using ClosureFast.
RESULTS: Over the last decade several techniques for thermal ablation of saphenous reflux have been developed. There is some evidence--although scarce--that thermal ablation was from the start not inferior to standard surgery (high ligation and stripping). In addition, more recent thermal ablation techniques appear to have milder side effects than the pioneers.
CONCLUSION: Thermal ablation of saphenous reflux has quickly assumed an important role in the treatment of varicose veins and the parameters of thermal ablation may further be optimised. Therefore, we believe that high ligation and stripping of refluxing saphenous veins will widely be displaced by thermal ablation.