We report 96 patients (107 legs) with recurrence after varicose vein surgery. We define a recurrent varicose vein as a new transfascial insufficiency after incomplete interruption of the saphenofemoral as well as popliteal junction with reflux in the epifascial venous system. 92 patients underwent external primary surgery. Morphologically an insufficient high ligation of the V. saphena magna (Moszkowicz's operation) led in 30 cases to a recurrent varicose vein. In 47 cases an incomplete isolated, in 29 cases an incomplete saphenofemoral ligation during a Babcock procedure and in one case an incomplete saphenopopliteal ligation for V. saphena parva insufficiency were the reasons for the recurrence. As recurrent surgery we performed 106 ligations of the saphenofemoral junction. In 38 of these cases an isolated saphenofemoral ligation and in 68 cases an additional stage-adjusted ligation of the V. saphena magna were carried out. In one case of recurrent saphenopopliteal insufficiency a repeated ligation of the V. saphena parva was performed. The recurrence is an avoidable complication of a not perfect primary surgery. The main cause is an inadequate access with incomplete saphenofemoral or -popliteal ligation.