Why Can Varicose Veins Recur?

Varicose veins can recur, find out why they do.

If you have been “comparison shopping” to find the best treatment for your vein problems, you’ve possibly heard that “permanent varicose vein removal” isn’t always permanent. Sometimes, they do seem to reappear after treatment. In this article, we’ll explain a couple of the reasons this happens, and how the skilled doctors at The Vein Institute work to prevent it from happening.
Varicose veins over the leg and foot


1) Not all your varicose veins were treated

The first reason that they “come back” after treatment, is that the wrong veins (or not all of the diseased veins) were treated. 

The most important factor leading to successful varicose vein removal, is the initial diagnosis. Sadly, many clinics rush through their diagnoses, or still use outmoded CW Doppler technology. This is unfortunate, because the underlying cause doesn’t always in the veins you can see. When you look deeper, you often find that the primary varicose vein has become diseased because it is being fed by many smaller, hidden veins that have also become diseased. 

We rely on venous duplex ultrasound, the gold standard of medical imaging technology. This advanced diagnostic technology adds color-coding to the standard Doppler ultrasound images. This enables the sonographer can actually visualise the blood flowing through the veins in real time. Our years of experience have shown us that this technology provides a more accurate picture of diseased veins. We are able to see veins hidden deep beneath the surface of the skin. This enables us to treat all of the diseased veins, and thus lessen the chances that they might “come back.”

Anatomical and real illustration of a legs having a varicose vein and that indicates as a header image for the blog by The Vein Institute about "why can varicose veins recur".


2) The formation of NEW varicose veins.

Another reason they may appear to “recur” after successful vein removal treatment, is because they’re actually new. This is the result of “de novo” vein disease progression. That is, veins that were healthy at the time of initial treatment, have subsequently become varicose. Here’s how this can happen – imagine we examine 100 people and find no traces of varicose veins. This is great, but medical science tells us that if we were to re-examine the same 100 people years later, 3%–5% of them will have developed varicose veins. We didn’t “miss” these diseased veins the first time; they’re new.


Man wearing a blue lab gown while looking at a person's legs and that indicates as a header image for the blog by The Vein Institute about


3) You have veins which don’t work in your pelvis.

Most varicose veins occur owing to problems in your upper thigh or behind your knee. However, in 10% of cases, your leg varicose veins maybe caused by pelvic veins. Instead of starting in the leg, they start in the pelvis and feed to the leg veins. If these pelvic veins are not addressed then any leg treatment many not be effective.

Sadly, no matter how effective the techniques we use to eliminate existing varicose veins are, this “de novo” rate of vein disease progression still holds true. So some patients may develop new varicose veins, even after treatment has successfully (and permanently) removed them. 

Fortunately, there are things that the doctors at The Vein Institute can do to reduce the chances of this happening. Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, smoking cessation, more exercise, and other preventative behaviours can be recommended. Choosing the right doctor reduces your chances of either recurring varicose veins or the development of new ones, so give us a call at 1300 535 017 and allow us to help you get started on a life free from varicose veins.

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