Can varicose veins come back after treatment?
After going through a venous health assessment, the selection of a treatment, and the treatment itself, you’d like to be sure that your varicose veins are gone for good.
But might they come back? Unfortunately, it is possible, and the two main reasons they come back are using an aggressive treatment technique such as surgery or progression of the disease itself.
Here’s three things you need to do in order to reduce the chance of your varicose veins coming back to the absolute minimum.
Have a proper venous health assessment with duplex ultrasound
Effective venous health assessments today include at least 3 components: a detailed medical and family history, a careful visual examination of your legs, and a thorough duplex ultrasound scan of your legs. This assessment process should not be rushed, and should take about an hour. The medical and family histories are important to understanding your personal risk profile for varicose veins, which can help with detecting diseased veins and selecting strategies to prevent recurrences in the future. The ultrasound examination should take at least 20 minutes per leg, to be sure all abnormal veins are detected. Missing an abnormal vein during the visual or ultrasound examination can lead to not treating all of the diseased veins.
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 and pleasant than the older surgical procedures such as vein stripping. In fact, in up to 50% of cases, surgery causes “neogenesis”, or the generation of new varicose veins in the region of surgery. Not only do the veins grow back, but they grow back without any valves inside them at all, which means they are in worse shape than the veins that were there originally. This may not occur to all patients but certainly some patients can develop more severe symptoms than before their surgery.
The most modern, minimally invasive techniques such as endovenous (“inside the vein”) radiofrequency and laser ablation, have been shown to be slightly more effective, with permanent closure rates around 95% over 5 years. These techniques rarely fail or cause “neogenesis”. Other techniques such as foam sclerotherapy are not as reliable with reopening rates up to 50% over two years.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle to reduce your risk for varicose veins
Once your vein doctor has treated your veins, 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, such as being overweight or obese, 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 to help you lose weight, maintain a regular exercise programme, avoid sitting or standing for too long, and quit smoking. All of these efforts can go a long way toward keeping your vascular system healthy and preventing the recurrence of varicose veins.
If you have any questions, please call our office at 02 8021 2569. We will be happy to set up an appointment for a venous health evaluation.