Q: I had vein stripping done in the past, and my veins have come back. Can anything be done for me?
A: We frequently have patients come to our office who have had stripping done in the past. Despite the rather severe morbidity, vein stripping fails to relieve the patients’ venous reflux 50-65% of the time. Varicose vein recurrence is quite common after stripping. Vein stripping has earned a bad reputation, and justifiably so. Fortunately, these operations are largely of historical interest only; and have been replaced by recently developed minimally-invasive procedures including the radiofrequency “closure” procedure and endovenous laser ablation. Vein stripping is now utilized only rarely when endovenous radiofrequency and laser techniques are impossible.
When varicose veins return after a stripping procedure, they are quite a mess. Effective treatment is more complex, but routinely accomplished. Careful evaluation of the “new” varicose veins with duplex ultrasound is critical. Treatment is performed with the same techniques – endovenous thermal ablation, sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, etc. Good results are expected.