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What are the chances that my varicose veins will return after surgery?

I am considering having surgery for my varicose veins on my legs, but I have heard that the varicose veins can come back even after surgery. What are the chances that my varicose veins will return after surgery? What would cause this to happen?


Doctors Answers (5)

I am not sure what surgery you are planning, but varicose vein treatments are very effective in closing and removing varicose veins with relief from aching veins and excellent cosmetic improvement. Starting with a detailed ultrasound evaluation to determine the cause and extent of the venous problem will help to ensure the veins are all adequately treated. New varicose veins appearing over time will still be possible following additional pregnancies, prolonged standing in your job such as with teachers and nurses, and with wearing high heeled shoes, but for the large majority of patients, properly treated varicose veins will not be expected to return.

It is very unlikely they will reoccur, however, each patient has unique characteristics that are best addressed by your physician. They are in the best position to answer the question in detail.

Chronic venous insufficiency is the official diagnosis for varicose vein disease. It is chronic; however with appropriate treatment and a long term treatment plan for the rest of your life, you can significantly slow the formation of new varicose veins.

People inherit a tendency to have varicose veins for life. This means new varicose veins appear over time. Properly treated varicose veins will usually be permanently gone, but new ones develop requiring maintenance. That said, I do not remember the last time I had a patient who chose surgery. More modern, out-patient, non-invasive methods have been established now for10-20 years (thermal ablation and ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy), so I suggest you look into these before jumping into vein surgery.

If you have underlying saphenous vein reflux (failed valves) this should be treated by endovenous laser. You can remove the bulging varicose veins at the same setting, all under local anesthetic. Walk in, walk out. If you have this problem, you have a condition called Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) which is inherited. It is possible that you may develop new veins in the future. It is impossible to predict if this will happened. We often recommend a comfortable knee length compression sock for maintenance after our procedures which may help slow down the process down. These are now stylish and available in colors. We do not recommend sclerotherapy injections for larger varicose veins as it entails many trips to the doctor for treatment and to release areas of "trapped" blood. A vascular trained surgeon will remove these at the same time as the ablation.

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