While varicose vein treatment is generally long-lasting, varicose veins may sometimes recur after removal. Here’s why that happens and how you can prevent it.
For most people, varicose veins disappear permanently after treatment. Brief, minimally invasive surgical procedures can safely eliminate the discomfort and unsightly appearance of these swollen veins that appear along the legs and feet.
Yet varicose veins may sometimes recur even after therapy. That shouldn’t deter you from seeking varicose vein treatment, however. Understanding why varicose veins reappear can help you determine the right treatment for your condition — and prevent varicose veins from reemerging.
Why Varicose Veins Recur
A network of arteries and veins moves blood from the heart to the rest of the body. The arteries transport oxygenated blood to our tissues, and then veins return blood back to the heart. This mechanism works because tiny valves within the veins push blood upward to the chest.
However, age, obesity, or a sedentary lifestyle may cause the valves to weaken, resulting in venous reflux. Venous reflux means the blood pools in the veins, eventually stretching the vein walls. The result is protruding varicose veins that cause pain, swelling, and a heavy feeling in the legs.
In most cases, varicose veins respond favorably to treatment. But if you experience a recurrence, it could be due to one of four reasons:
- More Than One Treatment is Needed. Venous reflux may be present in more than one vein. Although treatment has closed off an affected vein so blood flows to healthier ones, varicose veins may pop up in untreated veins. In those instances, an ultrasound can pinpoint all affected veins in your legs so as many as possible can be treated at once.
- It’s In Your Genes. Some people have a higher risk of developing varicose veins due to genetics. Despite treatment, varicose veins may recur because the condition is chronic. If you have a genetic predisposition to varicose veins, your vein specialist will discuss methods to prevent varicose veins from recurring or increasing in number. Losing weight, exercising, and wearing compression stockings can ease symptoms and minimize the formation of new varicose veins.
- New Risk Factors Emerge. Varicose veins may recur because factors not present during your initial therapy evolve years after treatment. If you’ve gained weight or become pregnant, you increase your chances of developing varicose veins. Again, your vein specialist will detail how you can decrease the odds of varicose veins returning.
- Treated Varicose Veins Open Up Again. Varicose vein treatment aims to cut off the blood flow in the affected vein. However, the treated vein may start to pump blood again, which causes it to present varicose vein symptoms. The body also builds new blood vessels after an injury or surgery, which may set the stage for new varicose veins to develop.
Varicose Vein Treatments
At the Kimmel Institute, we provide several treatment options to permanently rid you of varicose veins. These therapies require little to no anesthesia and can be performed in our office in under an hour.
Treatments include ambulatory microphlebectomy, during which the vein is removed through small incisions in the leg; sclerotherapy, a procedure that uses a safe solution to seal the vein shut; and laser ablation, which heats the damaged vein with a laser to close it. Veins deeper within the leg can be treated with ultrasound guided chemical ablation. In this procedure, a chemical agent is injected in the vein that causes the walls to stick together after a pressure bandage is applied to the vein.
If you’re thinking about varicose vein treatment for the first time or are dealing with a recurrence, the specialists at the Kimmel Institute will help you choose the right therapy. We’ll make sure you’re comfortable with your decision so you can enjoy life without varicose veins. Contact us today for an appointment.