Varicose veins are a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide. The Cleveland Clinic
estimates that 1 in 20 adults experience chronic venous insufficiency (vein disease). According to the Society of Vascular Surgery, up to 40 percent of the U.S. population may suffer from this chronic (persistent) condition.
These swollen, twisted veins, often blue or purple in color, can cause aching, itching, pain, and swelling. Treatment for varicose veins can range from lifestyle changes
(including weight loss, exercise, and raising the legs when sitting or lying down) to wearing compression stockings and even in-office medical treatment. Vein procedures include sclerotherapy, radiofrequency ablation, laser ablation, and ambulatory phlebectomy. These medical procedures dissolve or remove the problem veins.
While treatment can provide relief and reduce the appearance of varicose veins, the question remains: can varicose veins come back after treatment?
The short answer is yes; new varicose veins can come back after treatment. In fact, up to 60 percent
of people who undergo treatment for varicose veins experience a recurrence within five years. These veins are different than the ones treated the first time, however.
"The varicose veins that we treat are gone forever. However, no doctor has yet invented a way that further ones do not develop. I'm like a roofer. You need to go up on the roof every year and find new shingles that came lose the year before." –Brian Baxt, MD, Center for Vein Restoration, Dothan, Alabama
Because varicose veins are caused by various underlying factors, including age, genetics, pregnancy, obesity, and prolonged periods of standing or sitting, the disease process persists despite therapy. While treatments can address the causes of existing varicose veins, they do not prevent new ones from developing.
"Varicose veins are a product of wear and tear on valves in the body that, as we get older, don't function very well. And while our first treatment successfully eliminates varicose veins up to 95 percent of the time, we ask patients to come back every year to find the small veins that have gone bad during the year beforehand." –Dr. Brian Baxt
How often do varicose veins reoccur after treatment?
One study published by the NIH National Library of Medicine
found that the recurrence rate after surgery at two years was 25–30 percent and higher at five years, with the lowest rates of recurrences after thermal ablations.
Another study published by the NIH National Library of Medicine
noted that "varicose vein surgery is characterized by a high recurrence rate of 20-60 percent after five years and even higher after longer periods of follow-up observation and recurrence may be due to several causes: inaccurate initial diagnosis, progression of disease, inadequate initial surgery, altered venous dynamics and neovascularization (a process that can occur in your body when new blood vessels grow)."
How to prevent varicose veins from reoccurring
So, what can be done to prevent varicose veins from coming back after treatment? The key is to address the underlying causes of the condition. Prevention includes making lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, avoiding prolonged periods of sitting or standing, and wearing compression stockings. Additionally, treating any underlying medical conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, or heart disease can also help to prevent varicose veins from recurring. Nutritional supplements available at CVR such as Vein Formula 1000 can help support vein health as well
What to do if your varicose veins return after treatment
In some cases, additional treatment may be necessary if varicose veins have returned. Treatment may involve a repeat of the initial treatment or a different approach, depending on the severity of the condition. In general, a yearly visit can help us do smaller maintenance procedures instead of waiting until a larger amount of work is needed
It's important to note that not all varicose veins require treatment. In many cases, lifestyle changes like those mentioned above can help to alleviate discomfort and prevent further progression of the condition. However, medical treatment may be necessary if varicose veins are causing significant pain, swelling, or other symptoms.
The nation's leader in vein care
If you're concerned about varicose veins that have returned—or have questions about treatment options—talk to a Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) physician near you. Our board-certified vein physicians work with you to address your concerns and develop a personalized treatment plan with your unique needs in mind.
The largest practice of its kind, CVR is built on trust and provides the safest, most favorable treatment outcomes. Most treatment is covered by insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid.
To schedule your appointment, call 800-FIX-LEGS (800-349-5347). You may also book ONLINE HERE.