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How likely is it that my varicose veins will return after treatment?

I have varicose veins and I've decided to get treatment for them. However, I don't want to spend the money if they will return after I get treated. How likely is it that my varicose veins will return after treatment? Which treatments will lower the chances of this happening?

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Doctors Answers (7)

If your treatment is done correctly, there is only a 5 percent chance of the vein returning. You may develop other veins in your legs that need to be treated down the road, but the ones we treat typically do not return.

Varicose vein treatments are highly effective and rarely may need re-treatment if they do not close fully. Once a vein is properly treated and closed it will be reabsorbed by the body and will be gone. With a micro-phlebectomy, the vein is physically removed and gone immediately. New varicose veins may develop in some patients over time if they have further pregnancies or a strong genetic risk of varicose veins as a family trait. The treatment of varicose veins removes the problem veins, improves the circulation and reduces the chance of developing more or worse varicose veins in the future with excellent long term improvement for most people. Veins will grow easily throughout your lifetime, so new normal veins will last a long time if not attached to an poorly functioning varicose vein. Once a vein is stretched out it will not go back to a normal shape or function and can be treated. The most effective way to treat varicose veins is to start with a detailed ultrasound evaluation of the leg veins and then make a plan for treatment.

The success rates for different therapeutic modalities depends on the specific procedure and experience of the doctor performing it. If you require ablation of the saphenous vein, experienced doctors achieve 98% success rate after thermal ablation using either laser or radiofrequency, and 80% success after ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy (chemical ablation). These procedures require an experienced ultrasonogrpaher, an experienced doctor, and an experienced staff all working together. The success rate goes down and the complication rate goes up at less experienced offices. However, you should understand that vein disease is inherited for life and cannot be cured. Treatment today can only eliminate the cause of today's varicose veins and cannot prevent new varicosities from developing down the road. So, while it is expected you will develop more varicose veins later, at least you won't be dealing with the veins you have today plus the new ones. And treatment reduces the discomfort and risk of thrombosis associated with varicose veins. The best advice is to put yourself in the hands of a qualified vein specialist you can trust.

Varicose veins are associated with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This is a chronic problem. You should get your veins fixed, but you also need an ongoing long term plan to maintain good vein health. Your phlebologist (phlebology.org) should help you with this ongoing, long-term plan for vein health.

It depends on what treatment you are getting. Surgical removal of veins is permanent, although other varicose veins may appear in the future.

If varicose veins are treated completely, it is not very likely that the treated vein will return. Please understand that the genetic and personal tendency to develop new veins or redevelop vein problems over your life. The more complete the treatments are, the longer, or perhaps permanent, your respite from vein problems will be. Complete treatment means that all underlying reflux in saphenous and perforating veins have been identified and treated. That varicose veins and their tributary veins have been treated to the point of resolution, which can be several treatments.

It is not unlikely that you will get recurrent varicose veins within five or six years down the line. There is no cure for venous disease, and other veins can begin to fail in the future. If the source of your current varicose veins is treated with laser or radiofrequency, and the varicose veins treated after, it is unlikely for you to get varicose veins again in the same region. It is important to have an ultrasound six months, and again one year, following treatment to be certain that the treated vein is gone.

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