Approximately 25 million people in the United States suffer from superficial venous insufficiency, which lead to unsightly leg skin changes. Traditionally, patients diagnosed with venous reflux would undergo painful vein stripping surgery. Now, using the latest technologies, patients can be treated with a minimally invasive alternative which improves outcomes and decreases pain. 98% of patients who have undergone this minimally invasive closure procedure are willing to recommend it to a friend or family member.
The Closure procedure is performed on an outpatient basis. Using ultrasound, your physician will position the Closure Catheter into the diseased vein, through a small opening in the skin. The tiny catheter delivers radiofrequency (RF) energy to the vein wall. As the RF energy is delivered and the catheter is withdrawn, the vein wall is heated causing the collagen in the wall to shrink and the vein to close. Once the diseased vein is closed, blood is re-routed to other healthy veins. Patients who undergo the procedure typically resume normal activities within one day.
Healthy leg veins contain valves that open and close to assist the return of blood back to the heart. Venous reflux disease develops when the valves that keep blood flowing out of the legs and back to the heart become damaged or diseased. As a result, vein valves will not close properly, leading to symptoms of varicose veins, pain, swollen limbs, leg heaviness, fatigue, skin changes and skin ulcers. In some cases, this can lead to limb amputation.
What are venous ulcers?
Venous ulcers or venous stasis ulcers are wounds that form on the lower legs, usually the calves and ankles. They are usually accompanied by leg swelling and are difficult to heal. Even when they do heal they tend to often return.
What causes venous ulcers?
There are two components to the venous drainage of the legs. A deep sytem and a superficial system. Blood typically flows from the superficial to the deep system through small connecting veins called perforators. The perforators have valves that prevent the blood from flowing back to the surface. In the unfortunate patients who develop venous stasis ulcers, these perforator valves are non functioning or incompetent, and allow blood to flow back to the surface. This makes the legs swell up, the patient experiences discomfort and sometimes pain, and ultimately, because of the increased pressure on the skin, there is breakdown and ulcer formation.
How do you treat venous ulcers?
The mainstay of treatment for venous stasis ulcers is compression stockings. the stockings force blood from the superficial to the deep system, reduce the swelling and allow the ulcers to heal. Unfortunately, even with stockings, the majority of patients have recurrence of their ulcers. Our physicians offer an array of minimally invasive and surgical options that can be helpful in the treatment of venous ulcers. Some of the options available are vein surgery, radiofrequency ablation, and sclerotherapy.
For more information about our practice, or to schedule your personalized medical consultation, please call Surgical Associates of Venice & Englewood at 941-488-7742.