Although sound evidence is lacking, many surgeons claim that stripping of the long saphenous vein (LSV) is best performed by invagination. The aim of this prospective, randomized study was to test the hypothesis that invaginating stripping of the LSV is associated with less pain, smaller haematomas and less frequent injury to the saphenous nerve. Thirty patients with bilateral varicose veins and incompetent LSV, but normal short saphenous veins and deep venous systems, were treated by high ligation and stripping of the LSV and multiple stab avulsions. At one side the stripping was performed by invagination (group I), while a classic stripping was done on the other side (group C), so that one leg served as the control of the other. The results were analysed on an intention to treat basis. The median surface of the thigh haematoma between post-operative day seven and ten was 115 cm2 in group I and 135 cm2 in group C (NS). The median pain score was 0.25 and 1.75 respectively (NS). The incidence of saphenous nerve injury was 13% in group I and 17% in group C (NS). At one month 23% of patients stated that the leg with the invaginating stripping had been the more painful, while 33% of patients claimed that the side of the classic stripping had been more painful. The results show that the benefit of invaginating stripping is not as obvious as is generally suggested.