After going through a vein assessment, selecting treatment, and completing the treatment itself, you’d like to be sure that your varicose veins are gone for good. But can they come back? Unfortunately, it is possible with more invasive treatments increasing the likelihood that your veins come back.
Here are three things you need to do in order to reduce the chances of your varicose veins coming back:
1. Have a proper venous health assessment with a duplex ultrasound
Effective venous health assessments should include the following 3 components: a detailed 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 overall. 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.
2. 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 extemely 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.
3. 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.
Although the progression of vein disease cannot be stopped different different treatments are likely to result in different outcomes for you. Surgical stripping is associated with a much higher rate of "new" vein growth than endovenous laser ablation or radiofrequency laser ablation.
If you have any questions, please call our office at 1300 535 017. We will be happy to set up an appointment for you to speak to one of our doctors.