The chances of your varicose veins coming back after treatment depends on the type of treatment you had. For example, endovenous ablation is proven to be excellent at treating varicose veins, with very successful long term results. The likelihood of veins coming back from the vein that has been treated is very low, between 2 – 5 per cent. However, unfortunately, there is no guarantee that you won’t develop a varicose vein from another source, or other veins, in your leg.
The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to reduce the chances of your varicose veins returning.
Have a Venous Health Assessment with a Duplex Ultrasound
Firstly, how do varicose veins occur? When vein valves, or vein walls, become damaged they can lead to Chronic Venous Insufficiency. As well as swelling and skin discolouration, one of the symptoms of CVI is varicose veins. When blood is not able to flow back up to the heart, it begins to reflux or pool, forming twisted, enlarged vessels you know as varicose veins.
When you visit your doctor they should conduct of a venous health assessment, consisting of the following 3 components: a detailed review of your medical and family history, a visual examination of your legs, and a duplex ultrasound scan of your legs. This assessment process should be comprehensive and should take about an hour. The medical and family histories are important to understand your personal risk profile for varicose veins. This can help detect diseased veins and select appropriate strategies to prevent recurrences in the future. The ultrasound examination should take at least 20 minutes per leg. Conducting a thorough exam will help to ensure all abnormal veins are detected and treated.
Be Sure Your Vein Doctor is Skilled in the Most Effective Vein Closure Techniques
Not all treatment techniques are equal. The newer, less invasive techniques are generally more effective than older surgical procedures, like vein stripping. In up to 50% of cases, traditional surgery can cause “neogenesis”, or the growth of new varicose veins in the same region. When this happens, the veins grow back without any valves inside them. This means that not only can varicose veins come back after treatment, but they can actually be in worse condition than the original veins. Although this will not be the case for all patients, some patients can develop more severe symptoms than before the surgery.
The most modern, minimally invasive techniques such as endovenous (“inside the vein”) radiofrequency and laser ablation, have been shown to be more effective. They have permanent closure rates of approximately 95% over 5 years. These techniques rarely fail and the risk of “neogenesis” is extremely low being less than 5%. Other techniques such as foam sclerotherapy are not as reliable, with reopening rates up to 50% over two years.
To read the study, click here.
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle to Reduce Your Risk for Varicose Veins
Once you have had your veins treated by your vein doctor, you can play a part in helping prevent your varicose veins from coming back. Certain lifestyle factors contribute to the likelihood of developing varicose veins. These include being overweight, maintaining a sedentary lifestyle, standing or sitting for many hours at a time, and smoking. Based on your medical and family history, your vein doctor can work with you to develop strategies that work for you. They can create a program to help you lose weight, maintain regular exercise, avoid sitting or standing excessively, and quit smoking. All of these will go a long way towards keeping your vascular system healthy and preventing the recurrence of varicose veins.
Looking for more information on the type of exercise which can help prevent varicose veins? Check out our post: Exercise and varicose veins
If you’re after alternative methods of treating the symptoms of varicose veins, here are some articles which might interest you:
Seek expert advice
The doctors at The Vein Institute specialise in varicose vein treatment. We offer patients a comprehensive treatment program to treat varicose veins, with non-surgical laser treatment techniques. The benefits of laser treatment to patients are;
- Walk-in walk-out treatment
- 98% success rate
- Extremely effective
- Can be performed at a clinic (no hospitalisation)
- No general anaesthetic
- Medicare rebates apply
- No downtime or time away from work