Incompetent perforating veins are associated with recurrent varicose veins

Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2001 May;21(5):458-60. doi: 10.1053/ejvs.2001.1347.


Aims: we suspected incompetent perforating veins of having a role in the development of recurrent varicose veins in some patients. The aim was to look for an association between perforators and recurrent varicose veins.

Methods: a consecutive group of patients presenting with varicose veins were examined using colour duplex ultrasonography by an experienced vascular technologist. Pathological perforating veins were defined as those exhibiting bi-directional flow and a diameter of 4 mm or greater at the fascia.

Results: between September 1998 and July 1999, 204 patients were examined. Primary varicose veins were found in 198 legs (135 patients) and recurrent varicose veins in 91 legs (69 patients). In patients with primary varicose veins, 88 (44%) had incompetent perforators compared to 57 (63%) of those with recurrent varicose veins (Chi-squared, p <0.005). Also, for recurrent varicose veins, the percentage of patients with any given number of incompetent perforators was higher than for primary varicose veins. Overall, there was a higher number of incompetent perforators in those with recurrent veins compared to primary veins and this difference was significant at 95% confidence interval.

Conclusion: patients with recurrent varicose veins have both a higher prevalence and a greater number of incompetent perforating veins than patients with primary varicose veins.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Leg / blood supply*
  • Recurrence
  • Ultrasonography, Doppler, Color
  • Varicose Veins / diagnostic imaging
  • Varicose Veins / etiology*
  • Veins / physiopathology
  • Veins / ultrastructure