BACKGROUND: Superficial venous surgery (SVS) results in a significant improvement in generic health-related quality of life (HRQL). However, it is unclear how this improvement compares with that observed after other commonly performed general and vascular operations. The aim of this study was to compare the changes in generic HRQL observed before and after SVS for CEAP clinical grade 2 to 4 venous disease with those observed before and after elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy (ELC) for biliary colic. METHODS: The Short Form 12 questionnaire was mailed to patients before and 3, 6, and 12 months after SVS (n = 143) and ELC (n = 60). The responses were used to calculate physical (PCS) and mental (MCS) component summary scores at each time point. A higher score indicates a better HRQL. RESULTS: Before surgery and 3 and 12 months after surgery, patients in the ELC group had a significantly lower PCS than those in the SVS group (40.2 vs 49.5, 48.9 vs 53.1, and 45.4 vs 53.8; P <.001, P = .033, and P <.001, respectively; Mann-Whitney U test). However, the change in PCS observed over the first 12 postoperative months was not significantly different between the SVS and ELC groups. Patients in the ELC group had a significantly lower MCS than those in the SVS group before surgery (45.9 vs 50.8; P = .002; Mann-Whitney U test), but not after surgery. There was no difference between the two groups in terms of postoperative change in MCS. CONCLUSIONS: SVS is associated with a statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvement in generic HRQL that is similar to that observed after ELC. These novel data lend further support to the clinical benefit of SVS and will help health care purchasers make decisions regarding the prioritization of vascular and general surgical services.