More than 80 million people in the United States have problems with their veins, the vessels that return blood to the heart once it has circulated through the body. Many people suffering from venous disorders come to vascular surgeons looking for treatment to either relieve pain or improve the visible appearance of diseased veins.
Veins have one-way valves that help keep blood flowing in the proper direction. If these valves stop functioning the way they are supposed to, blood can flow backwards and pool in the vein, causing it to stretch.
Varicose veins are swollen, dark blue or purple blood vessels that you can see and feel beneath the skin. They often look like twisted cords, and usually appear on the calves, inside of the legs, and ankles.
Varicose veins form when the valves within a vein weaken and allow some blood to flow backward. The vein weakens under the additional strain and balloons outward, raising the skin surface.
Many people with venous disease seek cosmetic treatment to reduce the appearance of varicose or spider veins on the legs. Treatment often relieves minor discomfort associated with the condition such as swelling, fatigue, itching and cramps. Sometimes, however, more significant problems can develop if veins are left untreated. Clogging of the blood in the veins can result in the formation of a clot that blocks blood flow or breaks free and travels to the heart or lungs, causing severe damage and even death.
A venous skin ulcer is a small wound that appears on the skin when the leg veins do not carry blood back to the heart, a condition known as venous insufficiency. Venous skin ulcers develop on the lower leg as a complication of long-term untreated venous insufficiency, and can cause pain, odor, pus, tenderness and redness.
Venous skin ulcers develop on the skin after the blood vessels in the leg and the surrounding tissue break down, leaving a visible ulcer on the skin. These ulcers are often found above the ankle and below the calf. The skin in the affected area may appear dark red or purple and may feel thickened, dry and itchy. Ulcers can also cause pain, swelling and aching.
Venous insufficiency is a chronic condition in which blood flows backwards through the leg veins as the result of a failed valve. Instead of returning to the heart, this blood builds up in the leg. If left untreated, venous insufficiency can cause painful symptoms and serious complications.
Symptoms of venous insufficiency typically include swollen ankles and tightness in the calves at its onset. As the blood builds up, patients may notice that their legs feel tired, heavy or restless. Since venous insufficiency can lead to varicose veins and other uncomfortable conditions, it is important that individuals with the aforementioned symptoms seek medical attention to receive the treatment they need.
Treatment for venous insufficiency varies, depending on the severity of the condition. Mild cases can often be managed by wearing compression stockings, which squeeze the veins and prevent excess blood from flowing backwards; some patients may need to wear compression stockings for the rest of their lives to manage their condition. Other, more severe cases of venous insufficiency may require advanced procedures, such as sclerotherapy, ablation and vein stripping.
Treatment and testing for Venous Insufficiency can be done in our Vascular Lab Appointment Request