The answer: Usually not.
Varicose veins are caused by a failure of multiple one way valves inside our leg veins. The failing valves allow for a reversal of the flow of blood normally going to the heart. This change of blood flow results in a higher pressure in the veins. Over time, this higher pressure is transmitted out to the many small vein branches under the skin which then expand into large bulging veins causing throbbing and pain.
When we treat a patient with varicose veins, the plan is to close off the source of the higher pressure with a delicate laser catheter placed in the vein. In other words, the laser is used to seal the failing vein closed. At the same sitting or a week or two later, we then physically remove the bulging varicose veins using a minimally invasive technique.
Once both steps of the procedure are completed, the chance for recurrence of varicose veins is small but not zero. We estimate that in one’s lifetime there is a 5-10% chance that a patient may develop additional bulging varicose veins. If this should happen, an ultrasound exam of the entire venous system in the affected leg is required. Often we can pinpoint the exact cause of the recurrence.
We do know that exercise, crossing one’s legs and working on your feet DO NOT increase the risk of developing recurrent varicose veins. After comprehensive vein treatment, weight gain, obesity, and pregnancy can be factors that result in recurrence of varicose veins. Either way, most patients are treated once and remain satisfied with their results for many years.