What Causes Varicose Veins to Recur After Treatment?

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Before and after

Many people assume that once treated Varicose veins are gone forever. But, they are often a chronic condition returning after a successful treatment. Knowing why varicose veins recur can help you prevent it.

Advancements in the treatment of varicose veins have led to several highly successful, minimally invasive therapies that eliminate the pain and unsightly appearance of varicose veins. However, for some people, varicose veins can be a chronic condition that unfortunately might re-emerge even after a procedure.

One study reported that out of 92 patients, 60 percent saw a recurrence of varicose veins five years after treatment. But that shouldn’t deter you from seeking relief from the pain, swelling, heaviness, and cramping of varicose veins. Understanding why varicose veins sprout up again after treatment will help prevent a recurrence.

Why Varicose Veins Return

Varicose veins develop when tiny valves inside the veins lose their strength and cannot pump blood back to the heart after it has circulated along the legs or feet. This venous reflux causes the blood to flow backward, eventually resulting in the varicose veins that commonly appear on the feet and legs.

Effective procedures to address varicose veins include sclerotherapy, laser ablation, radiofrequency ablation, and microphlebectomy. During sclerotherapy treatment, medicine is injected into the vein walls, forcing the vein to close. Laser and radiofrequency ablation accomplish the same goal, except the heat from a laser or radiofrequency waves collapses the vein from within. In a microphlebectomy, the varicose vein is removed through a small incision.

Each procedure has been used for many years and has a high success rate. Yet even after initially successful treatment, varicose veins may still return. Although it can be frustrating and disappointing, there are several reasons why a recurrence happens:

Not All Varicose Veins Were Treated

Before treatment, your vein specialist will do a thorough ultrasound to locate the problematic veins. However, your body contains many veins of varying sizes; therefore, an ultrasound may not detect all malfunctioning veins. Those untreated veins will continue to emerge and cause discomfort. In that case, you may require more than one procedure to treat all your varicose veins.

Veins Grow Back

Veins are tissues, and as such, they regenerate after treatment in a process known as neovascularization. It’s the same principle that allows the skin to heal after an injury. Those new veins can develop into varicose veins. Likewise, a treated vein can recanalize (open up again) leading to a recurrence of varicose veins.

It’s in Your Genes

Varicose veins tend to run in families. There’s not much you can do to change your genetics, but you can make lifestyle changes to lessen your risk of developing varicose veins or stem a recurrence. Managing your weight and staying active may prevent the onset or return of varicose veins. If you have a family history of varicose veins, visit a vein specialist regularly to monitor your vein health and treat any varicose veins that arise.

You Didn’t Change Your Lifestyle

If you want to avoid a recurrence of varicose vein, you must follow a healthy lifestyle and make other lifestyle changes. Obesity raises the risk of varicose veins. Losing weight with diet and exercise goes a long way in preventing varicose veins. A sedentary lifestyle is another factor. Working at a desk or standing all day increases your chances of developing varicose veins. To counteract this, move as much as possible or exercise regularly to engage your calf muscles to boost circulation in the legs. Wearing compression stockings and elevating your legs are effective, at-home methods to reduce varicose vein symptoms — or a recurrence after treatment.

Although treatment doesn’t necessarily guarantee your varicose veins will never return, you should undergo the procedure if the jagged, bulging veins interfere with your quality of life. But more than reducing symptoms, varicose veins left untreated may lead to more serious health issues, such as blood clots and skin ulcers. Your vein specialist will discuss your treatment options and tips to maintain healthy veins to lessen your odds of recurrence.

Don’t Delay — Get Treatment Now

Center for Vein Restoration proudly serves the people in New Hampshire at two locations in the state. Dr. Normand Miller, MD, FACS, RPVI, RVT, a board-certified vascular surgeon is the lead physician for both offices. Dr. Miller’s specialty is treating vein disease. He can help you decide on the right therapy to improve and maintain your vein health. Contact us today for a consultation.

  • 400 Amherst Street
  • Suite 402
  • Nashua, NH 03063
  • 224 Main Street
  • Suite 1-D
  • Salem, NH 03079

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